Smoking ceremony welcomes early learners

A celebration of learning, respect, and belonging.

The Early Learning Centre was awash with orange on Tuesday morning when a special smoking ceremony, especially for our smallest children, was conducted by proud Aboriginal man and IGS parent Tim Bishop in the playground to celebrate Harmony Day. 

Tim, whose ancestors hail from the Murrawarri Nation in Northern NSW, welcomed parents, carers, teachers, special guests and of course the children, to Gadigal land. 

Tiny hands clapped along as Tim performed the ceremony, singing as he began smouldering the eucalyptus and entering the audience allowing the adults and children to wash the smoke over themselves, a ritual that is said to provide a safe passage and cleansing.

During the ceremony, Tim reminded the children to remember to take care of themselves, take care of each other and take care of Country. 

A deeply moving affair, the children were transfixed by Tim, and participated in the ceremony with great enthusiasm, wafting the smoke towards them and letting it wash over them. 

“The more culture that’s shared with everyone, there’s greater learning, greater respect, which means a happier place for everyone,” said Tim, who sees the deep reverence and understanding the children are developing for First Nations culture as a form of generational healing. 

“What a beautiful start to Harmony Day,” commented Head of Early Learning Sarah Hebert, who also used the ceremony as an opportunity to officially launch the totem artworks made for each class in collaboration with Wiradjuri artist Bianca Caldwell. 

Thank you to everyone who made the morning a joyful celebration of inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.

Please enjoy a gallery of images from the event below.