‘WARU – Journey of the Small Turtle’ an ELC adventure

In Week 1 of Term 4 our Early Learners ventured out on an excursion to Bangarra Dance Theatre to experience the production of Waru – Journey of the Small Turtle.

Head of Early Learning Sarah Herbert and Deputy Head of Early Learning Victoria Kirkwood report:

It was an exciting experience and for some children perhaps the bus ride to and from the venue was a highlight! Many conversations between children took place on the bus. Children spoke about where they go for swimming lessons, where their parents work, different kinds of buildings and street art as well as machinery on the building site. We saw fire engines, police vehicles and traffic controllers. Going through the dark tunnel elicited squeals of excitement. Going down the big hill back to IGS was just like a rollercoaster!

On arrival at the theatre, we gathered in the foyer area where there were beautiful props and craft activities linked to the story of Waru. Children spent a few minutes exploring these before entering the theatre.

Waru is a contemporary Torres Strait story and provided an opportunity for children to learn about the wonders of the natural world and what it can teach us through the eyes of one little turtle as she undertook her journey of discovery and survival.

During the performance, children were invited to join in repeating words such as “Akamalu” (meaning grandmother), as well as actions – helping Akamalu push mother turtle into the next to lay her eggs – counting 1, 2, 3!

Through the storytelling, children learned about turtles burying eggs in the sand to keep them safe from predators. Did you know it takes 2 full moons for the egg to hatch? Akamalu helps to keep the eggs safe in the sand so that the baby turtle can grow big and strong.

The predator in the story was the lizard. Did you know lizards have a big nose and can smell everything, and Akamalu told the children lizards love turtle eggs! The children helped Akamalu scare the lizard away with some fun Kung Fu moves! 

One of the baby turtles, Migi, begins her journey out into the sea. The children joined in with actions and singing a beautiful traditional Torres Strait Islander song to help Migi swim to sea. Migi faces many challenges in her lifetime and encounters the dangerous ghost nets and ocean pollution. The children learned to collect and recycle rubbish and keep the oceans clean.

Migi finally returns home to the same beach as an adult to lay her own eggs and so the life cycle begins again. 

The power of storytelling

In our Early Leaning centre we are looking forward to continuing the children’s learning of First Nations knowledge, language and culture through their experience of Waru. Children will continue to learn about:

  • First Nations customs – handing down knowledge from ancestors, and how they keep their culture strong
  • Connection to Country – awareness of the many Cultures and People who make up this part of the world, Australia
  • Learning more about the Torres Strait and the uniqueness of its geographical location, languages, environmental and cultural practices
  • Challenges in terms of climate change and sea pollution