Minya Porlar Creche sets an example for the rest of Australia
The Murray Bridge Aboriginal child care service’s 21st birthday has given staff and families an opportunity to celebrate their success.
“Hands up, hands down, we’re on Ngarrindjeri ground.”
An educator leads a group of young children in a regular ritual at Minya Porlar Creche, a long day care centre in Murray Bridge.
There are several services for preschool-aged children in town, but this is the only one which exclusively serves Aboriginal and vulnerable families.
That means both children, who can attend between four months of age and starting school, and parents, who are offered opportunities to train as child care workers.
Children learn the Ngarrindjeri language, experiment with nature play and soak up cultural experiences from the region’s traditional owners.
The creche also works with local service providers to help families overcome life challenges, and provides a bus service so that those who don’t have access to transport can drop off and pick up their children each day.
The organisation turned 20 a year ago, but has been celebrating this week – National Families Week – after having to cancel an anniversary party last year due to COVID-19.
There for almost the whole time – she started in 2002 – has been children’s services director Meri Daniel.
“I've seen families come back around with the next generation over that time, and also many staff complete training and continue to work at the creche or contribute to the broader community in health or education thanks to the training provided as part of their employment,” she said.
Alma Wilson is among the staff members who have gained an early childhood qualification while working at the creche.
“I just love coming in, interacting with the children, when they give me cuddles and their beautiful smiles,” she said.
“We connect with the community and celebrate culture every day.”
Kathy Rigney brought her son to the creche almost 20 years ago; now she is its senior Aboriginal advisor.
“I have so much respect for the service, as an Aboriginal creche, and the staff that work there,” she said.
“Sharing language, knowledge, stories and history with our children is important.
“It is great to see the kids speaking some of the language and singing in Ngarrindjeri.”
Minya Porlar is funded by the federal government and run by non-profit agency AC Care, with support from Tinyeri Children’s Centre, the Murray Mallee Community Health Service and the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care.
More information: Call 8531 4400 or visit www.accare.org.au.
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