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Community Recognition - Inaugural Indigenous Playgroup at Tahmoor

21 March, 2024.

Leann Dykes, Aboriginal Community Cultural Engagement Worker at Community Links Wellbeing, is among the 4.8% of Wollondilly residents that identify as Aboriginal, including Tharawal and Gundungurra. Leann, a Garingbal woman who grew up in Wollondilly, works extensively in the local primary and high schools running a culture Aboriginal program. Through this work Leann identified that there was a lack of programs for young people, especially in the years before they start school, and set out to form a playgroup for aboriginal children in the area. With persistence and hard work Leann gained funding from South32 and launched the Wollondilly Cultural Playgroup on Thursday 7th March. Run weekly through the school term, the playgroup offers cultural activities, using resources and artefacts to allow the children and their carers to connect with their cultural heritage. The play-based learning program is designed to enhance the cognitive, emotional and social development of the attendees, and strengthen their aboriginal identity from a young age. Incorporating traditional language into activities, the playfulness and joy of the songs and games underscore the important work that the program is doing in preserving and enhancing knowledge of the local indigenous culture.