Yarning Circle

First Nations students find positives during COVID-19 through StarKids and World Vision.

Despite 2020 being a turbulent year for young people as they learned to live with COVID-19 and lockdowns, Young Mob still proved to be a positive experience for the students at three schools in the hunter valley.

Ruth is a teacher at Scone High School who supervised the Young Mob sessions at the school. “Young Mob offers students a chance to learn about their cultural heritage in terms of language, artefacts, family structure, songs, dance and history in a relaxed and supportive environment. Students have also been involved in discussions about the significance of traditions, including Yarning Circles and smoking ceremonies,” she explained.

During 2020, Young Mob participants across all year levels designed, constructed and painted a new Yarning Circle with a little help from staff.

Mount View and Kurri Kurri High Schools, also in the Hunter Valley area, made their own community contribution by painting rocks which they placed in the Yarning Circle garden. Letters were also written and shared with students.

“I painted this rock to represent the hard and ficcult time we had during COVID-19. The story behind my rock is, the snake found it difficult so it moves to a new environment,” wrote Charntae in her letter.

Noah wrote, “Hope you like the rocks. But always every one has its own story to tell so make sure you know it because it means a lot… Always be grateful for everything you get and don’t take anything that is especially about your culture for granted., some things you may never be able to do again.”

2020 threw up several unexpected challenges and for many of us it highlighted the importance of community and belonging. For the Young Mob participants of Scone, Mount View and Kurri Kurri High Schools, having a special place for important cultural learning, that was also available for all teachers to use with their students, was even more significant during an extraordinarily challenging year.