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Hedgehogs and Autumn leaves:
Australian seasons

Posted on November 25th, 2019 in Quirky curious
Snowman made from sand on beach

The words we use in English are largely based on a European construct. One of our Little Scientists team members likes to collect Christmas cards with images that reflect this attempt to reconcile Australian reality with the European concept.

You all know the pictures of Santa and a kangaroo in the snow or koalas and echidnas with Santa hats and snow outside the window. Being surrounded by snowy imagery and possibly even involved in art activities involving snowmen or reindeer pulling a sleigh can be a bit confusing for young children, who may start to expect snow at Christmas time, despite it being 35°C.

Many places in Australia don’t have seasons that fit neatly into European concepts of Winter. Collecting Autumn leaves is a little difficult if you don’t have many imported feral trees in your area. Spring flowers may have been flowering all ‘Winter’.

Getting started

Some Indigenous Australian cultures have names for as many as eight seasons or more. Why not ask your local Indigenous Elders to share if appropriate?

Wattle blossoms

You could also observe and document weather patterns with the children.

Produce a weather chart and decide when the season is changing. If you keep one each year you can compare your chart to last year’s.

Ask parents or grandparents to describe what the weather was like 20, 50 years ago.

Note when the wattle first starts flowering. Does it flower on Wattle Day (1 September)?

Let’s be mindful when introducing activities from a European background, where children are asked to collect Autumn leaves to stick them on paper to make a hedgehog, I mean echidna.

About the author:
HAYLEY BATES, National Certification Coordinator

Hayley Bates

Hayley has an insatiable thirst for learning – about everything! Her sheer joy of discovery and passion for professional development makes her the perfect person to run the Little Scientist’s House Certification program.

Never happier than seeing what happens to balloons in the freezer or exploring the projects submitted by services for certification, her enthusiasm is complemented by her background in science and maths making her the ideal coordinator for our Little Scientists Houses.

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