Traditional schoolyard games are getting a new lease of life, thanks to a new education program teaching indigenous games to early and primary years’ educators in Northern NSW.
Local primary children can now learn how to throw a Kolap, roll a Koolchee and keep a Kai in the air, as well as many other games from years gone by.
The Northern NSW Local Health District Health Promotion unit has been training local primary school teachers and early-years educators in Yulunga Traditional Indigenous Games at workshops across the region this year.
Health Promotion Manager, Jillian Adams, said Yulunga Traditional Indigenous Games are designed to get kids active, while also connecting with indigenous culture.
“Yulunga means ‘playing’ in the language of the Kamilaroi people of North-western NSW,” Ms Adams said.
The Indigenous games have been collected from around Australia and the Torres Strait Islands, with permission from traditional owners, and the program resources have been developed by the Australian Sports Commission.
“Local Bundjalung Elders took part in the launch of our training sessions, and shared insights into how games have been played in this region.”
Along with ball games, the activities include boomerang throwing, jumping, running, climbing, hitting, throwing, and water games.
“The traditional Indigenous games have been adapted to be played with modern equipment – for example, using tennis balls and foam noodles instead of woomeras and spears.
“Close to 400 teachers have attended the Yulunga Traditional Indigenous Games workshops in the Northern Rivers and they have proved so popular that extra sessions have been added this term to meet the demand,” Ms Adams said.
The program is being delivered in collaboration with the NSW Office of Sport.