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Finding our heart

Posted on March 17th, 2021 in STEM literacy links

Author: Thomas Mayor | Illustrator: Blak Douglas | Age: 5+ years

Finding our heart: Two Aboriginal people forming a heart with their hands at Uluru

Torres Strait Islander author Thomas Mayor dedicates his story about the Uluru Statement for young Australians to “the children who will teach us how to find our collective heart.” Hearing that the author places his trust in the children that they will be the ones finding Australia’s heart, will give them confidence and pride in playing an important role in social change and support their development of self-efficacy.

They may have heard that Aboriginal culture is the oldest living culture on Earth. What else do they know? Did they know that Aboriginals were also the first to bake bread? What do the children know about how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people cared for country, plants and animals?

You can investigate with the children the impact of industrialisation on nature and the Aboriginal way of life in Australia by exploring the pictures. The book says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “invented ways to live with the land”. When you look at the pictures, what changes do you see after Captain Cook arrived? There are many interesting aspects to explore that could be linked with sustainable practices the children are familiar with. Can we learn from the Aboriginal way of looking after country, plants and animals? What could the children do to live with the land?

The book contains a lot of information about the history of Australia from an Aboriginal perspective. Have the children heard Australian history presented like this before? What are the new things they’ve learned? How do they think Australia’s future will look? The author entrusts the children with this future. What can they do to ensure that First Nations voices are heard? How can they help find the heart of the nation?

With our book recommendations, we want to spark an interest in children to discover STEM in their everyday lives. Most books go beyond the obvious STEM connections and can be a great starting point for exploring children’s questions and ideas further.

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