Being outside is the best place to talk

Kylie and Leanne’s Top Talking Tips

Get out in the environment with your kids – whether it’s the beach, a walking track or your backyard. It’s important to talk about what is around you. – Leanne

Remember to be present. Don’t try to have meaningful conversations if you are not going to be present – Leanne

My kids used to take turns talking in the car on the way home from sport. The rule was if they paused more than three beats, it was the next person’s turn. They would all try to talk without drawing breath! This helps teach about sharing and taking turns. – Kylie

Listen to your kids talk about what they are interested in. Ask questions. I’ve learned about computer games I’m not interested in at all, like Minecraft and Pokémon. But it’s important to them -Kylie

For Kylie Dickson and Leanne Pelikan, the best place to share stories is on Country.

“Somewhere where there’s wind and sun,” explains Kylie.

“Outside you can see the seasons, what’s flowering, what’s ready to eat.”

Kylie and Leanne are both Aboriginal Educators in the kutalayna Learners Team based at the Jordan River Learning Federation – Senior School.

They are also proud grandmothers.

“Hence we love little people,” Kylie explains.

When they were growing up, kids were “seen and not heard” – but things are very different now.

Both women love playing and interacting with young kids.

“The best bit is listening to them and talking to them,” says Kylie.

Talking and telling stories is an important part of keeping culture alive for Aboriginal families. It’s also about passing on knowledge from one generation to another.

“I wouldn’t say we are storytellers; it’s our history and it’s what we do to ensure our stories and history continues,” says Kylie.

“When we are on Country, we talk about the plants and animals and why it’s special to be there and who was there beforehand.”

Both women have strong memories of their own mothers and grandmothers sharing stories with them.

“Nana would take us somewhere on country, like South Hobart, and we would look at what’s in the creek, what we could hear and see, the temperature of the water when it came off the mountain,” explains Kylie.

“My other Nan would teach me about the places we are connected to and how she grew up on the islands. She’d talk about how they lived and the games they played.”

Growing up in New South Wales, Leanne remembers going out with her mother on Country to fish.

“We were told to sit down and not move because of snakes!” she laughs. “I think this was so that she knew where we were and so we didn’t fall into the river.”

“If Mum spotted a bird, or a plant, she knew what they were. All that learning was part of everyday conversation and you never forget those stories.”

Kylie and Leanne want all Tasmanians to know that Aboriginal people have lots of stories to share and knowledge to pass on.

“We want people to value our stories and knowledge, they are ancient – it could be about the shapes of rocks or a special place. It could also be about the seasons and what bush food is available. It’s all about belonging,” says Leanne.

Kylie’s ancestors are from the trawlwoolway (Tasmania) and Bunurong (Victoria) tribes. Leanne’s ancestors are from the Mutti Mutti and Wamba Wamba tribes in NSW and Victoria – but she has been a long-time resident of Tasmania.