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All student poems

The School

The school's stated aim is to foster individual growth through education for self fulfilment in an ever changing society. To this end the school provides an education which fosters cooperation between staff, parents and pupils and encourages pupils to: Develop their individual talents and interests; become responsible for their learning; and develop skills to cope with change.

The staff through dedication and reflection aim to: Create a safe and supportive learning environment; and implement a curriculum which fosters tolerance and self esteem. As a school targeted by the Priority School Program (PSP), Berkeley West Public School has special programs operating to support student needs in literacy and numeracy, as well those that promote community awareness and involvement.

The school also demonstrates a strong emphasis on programs which support: Student welfare; computer technology; PD/Health/PE; and a cooperative approach to assessment.

The Project

Proud Yuin poet Kirli Saunders led NAIDOC-themed poetry workshops at Berkeley West Public School, encouraging students from Years 2-6 to connect to country and to write poems using Elouera language words. The workshop resource was informed by consultation with local Elders and langauge holders, Aunty Gwen Brown & Uncle Rueben Brown. Poems from the workshop are to be published in a mural on the school grounds. Discover them here »

Listen to some of students perform their poems for our interview with the ABC Illawarra.   

The Poet

Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman with ties to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi people. Kirli is the Manager of Poetic Learning and Aboriginal Cultural Liaison at Red Room Poetry. She was awarded ‘Worker of the Year 2017’ at the NAIDOC awards in the Illawarra/ Shoalhaven region and has been nominated for a National NAIDOC award in 2018. Kirli founded the Poetry in First Languages project. Her first children’s picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines, illustrated by Matt Ottley was selected for Bologna Book Fair and is published internationally. Her second picture book Our Dreaming will be released by Scholastic in July 2019, Happy Ever After will follow in February 2020. Kirli’s First Poetry Collection, Kindred is to be released by Magabala in 2019, it was Highly Commended in the 2018 Black&Write! prize. Kirli’s poem ‘A Dance of Hands’ was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize. Kirli’s poetry has been published by Cordite and Overland and has embedded in infrastructure at Darling Harbour and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne. In 2018, Kirli will be Writer in Residence at Bundanon Trust, Q Station and The Literature Centre, Fremantle for ‘The Sound of Picture Books’.