Community Stories – Moorditj Kulingar

Justine FawcettConnecting Community 4 Kids Blog

CCK’s Role 

Connecting Community for Kids (CCK) works collaboratively with government, service providers and community to improve the wellbeing, health and development of children in Cockburn and Kwinana so that they arrive at school ready to participate and learn.

CCK is a collective impact initiative that tests ‘hunches’ founded by community feedback, engaging with key stakeholders in the community to help us test these hunches to see if they build community capacity and engage the community to co-design change.

One of our key stakeholders is Moordijt Kulungar (MK).  We interviewed Fran Windon from MK to see how they have co-designed change as a result of community voice.

Reflecting on Moordijt Kulungar 12 months ago, how would you describe them?

There was a low rate of attendance and participation at events, from both parents and community. Relationships between the parents were disconnected, and they didn’t have a ‘sense of belonging’ or connection with each other. They tended to gather in their own family units, not socialising with others. Parents and Carers didn’t express concerns around their child’s development and not one child attending MK identified as having a disability.

How would you describe Moordijt Kulungar now? 

There is a noticeable increase in regular attendance. Even though families live in the same community they weren’t connected, but now they are supporting each other, they are talking to each other and coming together.

MK introduced the Village Morning Teas 12 months ago which were a huge success and families began to share their stories with each other over craft activities and morning tea.  During this sharing we discovered that many of the families had parents or children with a diagnosis of Autism and ADHD.

Parents seem proud with a ‘sense of belonging’ shining through. They have more confidence and are standing up and using their own initiative to take direction with their life decisions. They are participating and being involved in events at Moordijt Kulungar, and within the community, and the playgroup is now linked with more organisations and the community.

The ladies are inviting new families and making them feel welcome, as well as planning for future community events.

Significant change as a result of community voice

Community voiced social isolation as a main concern, which MK has addressed by implementing their Village Morning Tea on a Tuesday morning. Regular activities run at this event have encouraged yarning to become free-flowing and relationships to form. Parents and carers voiced that they would like to have matching playgroup shirts, like the children, for a sense of belonging.

We had many consultations with families on the shirt design, and how they were going to help fund the project.  They decided to hold an ‘Aboriginal inspired food’ event to raise money for the shirts. The event was a huge success with attendees feasting on kangaroo stew, kangaroo curry, kangaroo meatballs, damper, orange wattleseed cake and lemon myrtle cake.

Moorditj Kulungar commenced running numerous events through the year to encourage children to explore their culture through stories, activities and food. One recent example was National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day where we celebrated Aboriginal children in Kwinana and the importance of them growing up strong in culture and identity.

In November MK held an intergenerational bush walk for elders, Gilmore College students, MK families and Ngalla Yorga Waangkan, bringing four generations together to connect with each other through the sharing of stories as they walked through the peaceful bushland at Sloans Reserve. The walk also included a nature scavenger hunt and picnic lunch.

Through celebrating the events above MK have formed strong relationships with community members and other services through regular collaboration, particularly Gilmore College and Ngalla Yorga Waangkan. This is fundamental for sharing knowledge and culture whist educating their kulungars.

15.1% of 5 year olds in Kwinana are considered vulnerable for their physical health and wellbeing.  Ear health in early childhood is extremely important as it is linked to speech and other developmental milestones.

Fran is an accredited ear screener for Ears2Learn, an ear screening program for children aged 0 to 5 years of age to assist in early detection of common ear problems in children  in Kwinana and Cockburn before they commence school.

MK took part in the Breath Blow Cough activity in 2022, making this short video on YouTube to highlight the importance of ear health in Children. MK Educators who use this daily say they feel it results in improved hearing, fewer runny noses and ears, fewer coughs and colds and improves attention in kids. BBC also results in less referral to ear health agencies.

Fran and three of the Mums from MK attended a training session in 2022 on the Silver Linings Program. Silver Linings is a community-led Aboriginal designed crisis response program for children, working with a community resource booklet which supports children’s cultural journey. They now have knowledge and a toolbox of strategies to support the kulungars, mums and community.

What a journey Moorditj Kulungar! You have come so far and we can’t wait to continue collaborating with you on the journey ahead. 

“There is a noticeable increase in regular attendance. Even though families live in the same community they weren’t connected, but now they are supporting each other, they are talking to each other and coming together.”

Fran Windon