New chapter for Elders as Storytellers

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Children Community Education & Schools Literature & Libraries Queensland Government

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Respected elders are joining together to help give our youngest learners a great start to their education, with the second phase of the Elders as Storytellers campaign launched today.

Education Minister Grace Grace visited the Mackay Children and Family Centre to unveil the videos and advertisement that will help encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to enrol their children in kindergarten.

“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the importance of nurturing children’s learning in their early years,” Ms Grace said.

“The second phase of our Elders as Storytellers campaign is unique, as we have Elders from the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander communities all working together to highlight the benefits of a kindergarten participation.

“It’s great to have respected elders on board to help promote this important message.

“With celebrations for Under Eights Week underway across the state this week, now is a great opportunity to remind all Queenslanders about the value of kindy for our youngest learners.”

Ms Grace said the Elders as Storytellers campaign reflected the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to engage in early childhood education.

“We have made significant progress towards the 2018 target of 95 per cent of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children participating in kindergarten, having reached a figure of 91.7 per cent in 2017,” she said.

“Since the first phase of this campaign began in 2017, we have reached two million Queenslanders and helped increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolling in kindergarten.”

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the Palaszczuk Government was continuing to work with Queensland communities to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Everyone, including parents and carers, has a role to play in ensuring children benefit from participating in kindergarten,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“I extend my thanks to all the Elders who have worked together on phase two of this campaign, which focuses on boosting participation here in the Mackay region.”

Ms Grace thanked respected Elder and traditional descendant of the Yuibera people Uncle Philip Kemp, Torres Strait Islander Elder Aunty Lesley Sabbo, respected Elder and Yuwibara descendant Aunty Veronica Ah-wang, and Australian South Sea Islander Elder Aunty Maud Corowa from the Mackay region for working together on this important project.

“Special thanks also to respected Wiradyuri Gamilaraay woman Aunty Sharron Lindh from Ipswich, for her involvement since the beginning of the campaign and for performing the theme song she wrote for the campaign,” she said.

Uncle Philip Kemp is passionate about sharing Aboriginal culture in schools and community.

“My parents and grandparents wanted their children to have a good education, but the opportunity wasn’t there for them. When my father went to school, his education wasn’t valued. So I say to the young parents of today, make sure the opportunity is taken up and get those kids into early education,” he said.

The Elders as Storytellers campaign is part of the Department of Education’s broader ‘The Early Years Count’ strategy encouraging all Queensland children to benefit from early education.

The launch also coincides with ‘Under Eights Week’, led by Early Childhood Australia and sponsored by the Department of Education to deliver a range of activities across Queensland featuring early years’ ambassador Jay Laga’aia and Aunty Sharron Lindh.

For more information on Elders as Storytellers and to view the campaign videos, visit

Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace

Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training :
PO Box 15033, City East Qld 4002, Brisbane
07 3237 0111
Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training
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