Our realistic native Australian stuffed animals are used by Koori Curriculum to raise cultural awareness for children in schools about dreamtime stories, native Aboriginal animals and how the animals have a huge impact on everyday life.
Dreamtime is defined as “the ancient time of the creation of all things by sacred ancestors, whose spirits continue into the present, as conceived in Australian Aboriginal mythology” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/dreamtime).
The stories explain how the earth and the animals came to be and contain important and powerful life lessons, which are still relevant today. A great example is the story of Min-Na-Wee (and why the crocodile rolls), which contains an important message for youngsters about the effects of their behaviour on others. It teaches that peace and harmony are essential in any community and what can happen when someone is determined to cause trouble.
The children in this classroom are learning the story of Illawarra and the Five Islands which tells how “Whale rose up out of the water and he came down on the canoe and smashed it into five pieces. Then he looked around and he spotted Koala swimming towards the shore. So he caught up with Koala and punched him in the face, flattened his face and stretched his ears out. Koala got away and swam into shore, ran up a big gum tree and sat shaking in the fork of the tree.”
By playing imaginary games and stimulating role-play with the friendly, lifelike plush toys, the children learn about, understand, and engage in the Indigenous Culture.
These interactions also teach the children how to identify the native animals and for many, it is often the first time that they are introduced to beautiful and unusual animals of Australia.
The creation of an emotional connection and relationship is a major influence on the health and wellbeing of humans and the animals and still plays a huge part of the Aboriginal Culture.
The plush toys are always available for unconditional hugs, helping to build strong relationships between the children and the animals. As non-judgemental companions, they allow the children to feel and express their emotions, helping to encourage trust and connection.