The Melton West Primary School Language Program began in April 2016, with Mathew Gardiner teaching Woi wurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people on whose land the school is situated. Prep students are currently engaged in a 10 week program where they are learning kinship & relationships, colour & counting, body parts and greeting phrases. Wurundjeri Educator Mathew Gardiner says the "first day the kids and I hit it off like a house on fire, also with the teachers I received a very warm welcome by all. I am very happy and proud". Both teachers and students are excited to have this new program up and running in the school.
To read more about the program at ABC News click here
Read about Mathew's success in the Star Weekly click here
Listen to Mathew on 774 ABC Melbourne
Photo: Wurundjeri man and Woi wurrung educator Mathew Gardiner with Melton West Primary School student Mary Jane
Photo curtesty of ABC Local, Clare Rawlinson
VACL would like to welcome Mathew Gardiner to the VACL office as part of our team for the next two weeks. Mathew started his internship on the 29th March 2016 as part of his journey towards teaching Woiwurrung at Melton Primary School, commencing on the 13th April 2016.
Mathew Gardiner is a 25 year old Wurundjeri Man. He is the 6th generation of the Terrick line, his ancestor is Annie Borate. William Barak is Annie's brother.
Mathew said "firstly ngoon godgin (Thank You) to Paul Paton and staff for the warm welcome. As a young lad in my youth I have always had a querying mind for Woiwurrung Language but I was a bit apprehensive due to uncertainty. Now I feel as though I have been spiritually drawn or lead now that I am a man, to learn, revive, teach and mostly complete my murrup (soul) with Language. Since learning about the Woiwurrung Language I have felt more connected and grounded to my ancestors, lands, waterways and language more so then ever."
Mathew also said "I have a vision. To pass on my knowledge to the younger generation especially to the disadvantaged Wurundjeri youth who have veered off course from their roots and culture." Mathew hopes that by having language programs this will really help the younger generation to regain respect, self-respect and most importantly a purpose to willingly make something of themselves. He hopes they begin to feel confident and strong in their identity.