Dear Koori Curriculum: Embedding Aboriginal Perspectives in children's interests - the zoo

Dear Koori Curriculum: Embedding Aboriginal Perspectives in children's interests - the zoo

Dear Koori Curriculum,

Our children are currently interested in the zoo and I wondering if you have any ideas that would help us embed an Aboriginal perspective?

Thanks in advance,


Hey Andrew,

It’s great to hear that you are using children’s interests as an opportunity to embed Aboriginal perspectives in your program. I’ve provided a few ideas below to get you started, obviously you may need to adapt depending on the ages of children and your learning goals.

- Many zoos have breeding programs for endangered animals. You could investigate what Australian animals are endangered and fundraise to support their initiative. Taronga Zoo for example has a Corroboree Frog program which you can learn more about here:

If you were to investigate this particular program you could extend the enquiry further by using two Aboriginal children’s books “The Last Dance” by Sally Morgan and “Little Corroboree Frog” by Tracey Holton Ramirez and Angela Ramirez. Perhaps you could also investigate the meaning of this frogs name?

- For infants and toddlers I would recommend the book “At the Zoo I see” by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells. This is a lovely board book that showcases both native and exotic animals that one may hope to see at the zoo.

- One may also investigate what some of the animals eat at the zoo. For example, a little while ago I learnt that native raspberries are planted in the Gorilla enclosure as part of an engagement program. As the native raspberry is quite thorny the Gorillas have to work hard at picking them so as not to get pricked.

- In the past I’ve explored maps of the zoo as part of an art investigation. As most of the maps use symbols to identify where particular enclosures are and are often presented from a topographical perspective there was an opportunity to draw synergies to the Papunya Tula Artists. Various art provocations were collected and investigated that children later were then able to draw inspiration from in their own creations.

I hope these ideas are helpful and I would love to hear how your interest unfolds. Additionally, you may want to consider becoming a Koori Curriculum Club member as there is a library of lesson plans available across a wide variety of topics detailing ideas of how culture can be celebrated in context. You can see more details of our membership and all of its inclusions here:

I hope that helps. Please let us know how you get on.

Kind Regards,

Jess and Team

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