Playpod is a free after-school program for Barrack Heights children aged 8-12-years old. Running weekly during school term and over workshops in the school holidays, Playpod uses all aspects of play to promote physical, social, intellectual, creative, and emotional development, problem solving skills and resilience.
During the April school holidays, Health Promotion Officer Dr Leander Menezes organised an incredible workshop with Gumaraa Aboriginal Cultural Experience. Following a hike from Barrack Heights Public School to Blackbutt Forest Reserve, children had the opportunity to be a part of Aboriginal dance to the sounds of the didgeridoo. Highlights of the day included a Bush Tour to learn about bush tucker and bush medicines as well as practicing new skills to throw a boomerang.
“Staying connected with a person’s culture is a part of their individual identity, (and) helps (them) have a sense of belonging and security. The benefits of being in touch with your culture helps build self-esteem as well as overall health and wellbeing. Knowing where you are from and who is your mob is very important” said Uncle Richard Campbell from Gumaraa Aboriginal Cultural Experience.
Providing children with safe and supportive opportunities to participate in active play that is enjoyable is a key strategy to encourage children to increase their physical activity as well as communication strategies. Healthy Cities Illawarra is proud to be a leader in this space and will continue to foster positive experiences around physical activity, community connection and culture.
Playpod is proudly funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services under the Families and Communities Program, facilitated by Barnardos Australia.
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