Welcome to country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy

Welcome to the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people. We are part of this land and the land is part of us. This is where we come from.

Wominjeka Wurundjeri balluk yearmenn koondee bik.

Welcome to Country.

Welcome to country by Aunty Joy Murohy and Lisa Kennedy is a book that should be read by everyone and perhaps in every classroom. Each Aboriginal community of Australia has a different way of welcoming it’s visitors and this is still continued today.

We hear Welcome to Country in different areas and events of Australia and I am sure there are many adults and children who have no idea what it is all about. This book walks the reader through the welcoming, giving pictures to explain the meaning of the sentences and the Wurrundjeri translation.

The colorful and poignant illustrations immediately capture your attention. The landscapes and people speak to you through subtle images that encompass the words of Welcome to Country.

So how can you use Welcome to Country at home or in the classroom?

Welcome to CountryGEOGRAPHY

  • Find out about your local indigenous community and their welcome to country
  • Locate where the Wurrundjeri community is located. What significant landsacpes, towns and people live here?


  • Why do we need to say welcome to country at sporting events, conferences or school meetings? What is the importance of continuing this tradition?
  • Why did the Indigenous Australians have a Welcome to Country?
  • Watch Aunty Joy in this clip doing a different Welcome to Country : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeBWuItrpW8
  • Explore smoking ceremonies and their significance.


  • Look at the patterns of the front and back covers – what might these represent?
  • Traditionally, Indigenous people tell stories orally – has writing this down changed the language? Explore the difference between written stories and stories told out loud.
  • How to the images match the words on each page?
  • How are the people on the pages shown to have a relationship to eachother and the land?
  • Learn how to speak your local Indigenous language: http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/media/2454702/learn-some-dharug-greetings

For your information

I just listened to an amazing podcast from ABC conversations. Bruce Pascoe was interviewed about his upcoming book called ‘Dark Emu’ This book delves into Indigenous life and their connection to land and community. His book tells us that the people did cultivate the land, the worked in harmonious communities and they had aquaduct systems that would supply their community with life. White history has covered up this amazing piece of history and we need to embrace this knowledge so we can become more in touch with the land, use the land wisely and look after it for our children.

And – come over and join my facebook group where we discuss how we can help our students and children understand and take action on these big issues!


Or like my page – educateempower on facebook. 


Banana pancakes! 

Taking care of the planet is important to me so trying to make small changes with my family is really important. 

One step is to make our own healthy food bought from bulk food sources rather than just the supermarket. 

Not only do you save money buying in bulk, you reduce unnecessary plastic waste and trips to the supermarket! 

We made these great pancakes today and here is my recipe: 

1 cup besan flour 

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup coconut cream 

1 banana 

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

Vanilla or honey or cinnamon to taste 
Mash banana then add the rest

Fry in coconut or macadamia oil

Eat hot! 

Cooking at home

Reading these books to my children has made me think about breaking up with the pre packaged food of the supermarket.

There are so many convenience foods these days and although they do save you time and energy they are laden with plastic and chemicals.

In an effort to minimise our families eco footprint and to make the world a better place for our children we are trying to make more food at home.

Making food at home does create mess and does take time but my children are learning about food, how it is made and what goes into it.

Eating food that we have made is lots of fun and best of all low impact on the environment.


I’ll keep updating this page with great family eco-friendly recipes! img_1827Home Made Sauerkraut

Coconut-carrot cake.

Home made Sauerkraut

This is a great recipe from the book Heal you Gut by Lee Holmes.

Many people are talking about the benefits of probiotic food at the moment so it is everywhere in the health food shops but you can make it at home!

This is so easy to make  – cabbage is cheap and all you need is a glass jar, some herbs and a dark cupboard!

I find the taste of this one quite subtle so perhaps you will too (especially if you are new to eating it). I eat it  when I have eggs and vegetables for breakfast!

Sauerkraut – Use 2 x 1 litre jar.

1/2 green cabbage

2 litres of filtered water

1 tablespoon of Australian sea salt (much more eco friendly)

1 garlic clove – crushed

1 tablespoon of caraway seeds.

  1. place cabbage in jars and press down until 3/4 full.
  2. Stir other ingredients together so the salt dissolves then fill the jars with the mixture.
  3. Place a tight lid on the jars and place in a dark cupboard for 4 days or until bubbles start to form (This depends on the time of the year you make it!)




Coconut carrot cake

Time for a cuppa a slice of carrot cake!



4 eggs (from the backyard chooks)

1 cup shredded coconut

2/3 cup coconut oil

1 Tbs honey

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup grated carrot (about one big one)

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup finely chopped dates.

Bake for 20 mins!           At 180 degrees

Liv on Life: Green is good by Elizabeth Gorcey.

Liv on Life is a wonderful series of books told through the eyes of a young girl names Olivia who loves getting out and about and enjoying life (which child doesn’t?!)

Green is good really highlights how much all children want to learn more about where their food comes from and with some encouragement can aspire to living a more eco friendly life!

Liv finds a book about vegetables and after she has read through it (with her pet dog Bowie), she asks her mum to take her to a real farm!

Here is  the perfect opportunity for a parent to engage with their child’s interest and she does. They see vegetables being grown, farms animals, local insects and farm pets.

Liv talks to the farmer and learns all about organic farming and the importance of small scale farms and using less pesticides on any of our food.

My children loved reading this story and did ask if they could also go to a farm one day – which we are currently looking into. They also talked about the lettuce we grow in our own garden and how that is chemical free.

Books like Green is Good really help children to realise that they can make a difference in the world they live in, and what they are doing is benefiting so many people, animals and plants around them.

Elizabeth Gorcey is a great storyteller for young children as the story talks to the children and places them in the situation Liv is in. Liv is an energetic and inspiring character and her energy really flows from the pages and into the room.

So how can you link this book to your home or the classroom? These questions are graded for easier tasks to more difficult. 


  • Why is green good? Can other colours be good to if we are to be more environmentally aware?
  • How can you fit more vegetables into your daily diet?
  • If you followed a butterfly for a day where would you go? What would you see?
  • What does organic mean? Where are some local organic farms to you?


  • Where are your local farms?
  • Find a map of your home town and search for the 5 closest farms to your house or work.
  • Where do our different fruits and vegetables come from?
  • Are pesticides needed for every fruit and vegetable that is grown? Can certain environments allow for less pesticide usage?
  • Visit a farm – for a day or a farmstay!
  • Sign up with a company who deliver organic produce or source from local farms. Harvest hub is a great initiative!


  •  Go to your local fruit market and explore the local produce rather then proceed grown overseas.
  • Taste, touch, look at and smell different fruits and vegetables. Look at the page where Liv tasted the Jicama – what words did she use to describe the vegetable? Use words like that to describe your new tastes.
  • What issues are there with bringing fruits and vegetables from large distances rather than within a local area? Explore the food miles of different items from your supermarket shop.
  • Grow your own veggie patch. Work out what suits your area the best and what you can do with even the smallest patch of dirt.


  • Is there a story you would like to tell? Encourage your child to tell a story about being outside.
  • Create a story about visiting a farm – real or imaginary using ideas from websites and non fiction resources.

Liv on Life: Green is Good is a fantastic story to encourage passion and engagement with the world us. Knowing where our food comes from is such an important part of our education as a global citizen and so many of us have no idea where food on our table is coming from. By reading books like Green is good, we can encourage knowledge and care in our children.


Sydney of the Antarctic by Coral Tulloch

Is it fair to say that everyone can  fulfil their dreams? 

What are ten things you could definitely not do in Antarctica? 

Where would your stuff toy go if it had the chance? 

Sydney of the Antarctic by Coral Tulloch is a beautifully written story about a young mouse’s adventure to Antartica aboard a giant Russian icebreaker. As you read along you will learn about the animals, places and Researchers of Antartica.

Sydney, a stuffed mouse and beloved friend has always dreamed of travelling and a life full of adventure. His dreams finally come true and he has the time of his life until he is accidentally forgotten.

Based on a true story, your child will delight in knowing that their favourite stuffed toy has dreams and hopes too.

How does this link to the environment and sustainability?

  • Knowledge of different types of environments around the world is vital. We need to know how other animals and people exist in different climates. Explore more about Antarctica. Discover the types of animals that are seen in the book and find out why they live there. Could they live in your home climate? Discuss why.


  • Identify iconic landscapes within antarctica. Why are these different places significant? Focus on Ross Island to find out more about what goes on there.


  • Compare temperature charts between Antarctica and your home town. Compare ice mass, wind speeds and hours of sunlight.


  • Write a diary imagining you are aboard an icebreaker. How many hours of sun would you have depending on the time of year? What would you do? What would you wear and eat? Research life on an ice breaker and then on a research station.


  • Find out about explorers and scientists who have worked in Antarctica. What have their discoveries told us?


This book would work very well with any Geography unit. 

Please contact me for any further assistance in using this book as part of your unit!


Curriculum Links

Different types of landscapes and their distinctive landform features

Numeracy: identifying different types of landscapes (for example, coastal, riverine, arid, mountain and karst) and describing examples from around the world, including Antarctica
Critical and Creative Thinking: identifying some iconic landscapes in Australia and the world, and describing what makes them iconic.
Critical and Creative Thinking:describing some of the different types of landforms within a landscape.
Critical and Creative Thinking: exploring the names, meanings and significance of landform features from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander perspective
The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment
Interpret data and information displayed in different formats, to identify and describe distributions and simple patterns
The environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of a place and the management of spaces within them

I’ve got nits! by Mike Brownlow

I’ve got nits by Mike Brownlow is a great book to read to your children when they have nits!

I found it a fun read but it also put my daughter at ease – which was what I really wanted. She was quite worried that she had ‘bugs’ in her hair but after reading this book she could see how easy they are to catch and also with patience they are easy to get rid of.

I have included this book on my blog as I really wanted to take a natural approach to getting rid of nits as there are so many products out there. All of the products claim that they will get rid of nits straight away  – which is not true (after some research) and many of them contain harsh chemicals which are likely to irritate the scalp and therefore cause other issues!

I was trapped into buying a product – it was totally natural but expensive. I thought that if I used a store bought product I would get rid of the nits. BUT I found that as my daughter’s hair is so thick we nearly went through the whole $13.95 bottle in one treatment – which didn’t work!

I have since read that nits need several treatments over 2-3 weeks and this book really hit home in telling me all you need is conditioner and a fine toothed comb!

So when I discovered the nits had come back we used conditioner (left in for twenty mixtures with a shower cap on), then i combed her hair – for about 20 minutes – with tea tree oil and a bowl of vinegar to fry the darling nits.

We did this every 2-3 days for 2 weeks and it worked! Hooray!

There is a lot to say about the simplicity of essential oils. I have heard  a lot about essential oils in the world lately and have looked into joining some of the programs but for now they are out of my reach as they are quite expensive. Luckily Tea Tree oil is easy to come by and we are only using it for cleaning and nit attacking so I don’t think I need to worry about spending big yet.

Tea Tree oil is one to have in your cabinet as it is antibacterial, anti fungal and a pest deterrent.

I’ve since heard that Neem oil is also a great deterrent for Nits. I might need to get some for our next battle!

And remember  – you don’t need to wash the sheets as nits do not survive for long without a scalp to feed off.

Good luck in battling the nits! I managed to escape infestation this time…

Nit Tips

  1. Cover hair in conditioner – thickly. Leave on for at least 10 minutes  – I did 20. Cover with a shower cap so it stays wet.
  2. Finely comb through hair with a fine tooth comb layer by layer. Use tea tree oil as your comb through.
  3. Dip comb in vinegar to kill off any eggs and seller bugs. Wipe comb after each use so you are not spreading one nit from one strand to another.
  4. Wash hair afterwards.
  5. Repeat every 2-3 days for at least 2 weeks. This is of course your time dependant and also how well your child copes sitting still.


Thirst By Lizzie Wilcock

Thirst by Lizzie Wilcock was on the shortlist in the Wilderness Society’s  Environment award for children’s literature.

thirstI loved reading this book from start to finish. Perhaps I am a little biased as I do love the Australian outback and the flippant nature of it. I love the sense of freedom and would love to learn more about bush foods and bush survival. The two main characters in this story had their troubles but were so strong in their ability to survive under dire circumstances.

This is a great book for older readers and I think all students will love it. Thirst  follows two young children on a journey through the Australian desert. The imagery in the story is amazing and you can really feel that you are a part of the outback.

Kuranda and Solomon come across many difficulties both physical and mental as they search for freedom and somewhere to call home. There are lots of layers in this story but they’re not complex to unravel. I loved that it showed the kids’ deepening love for the outback environment while never trivialising the harshness of it. It might even inspire your family to take a trip into the desert to learn about the wonders that abound in it.

Follow up activities

  •  Grab a map of Australia and work out where Kuranda and Solomon may have been.
  • Explore the six seasons of Kakadu. 
  • What is bush food – could you survive in the desert for days or weeks?
  • Explore foster care – discuss the pros and cons of the system that is currently in place. Look at the emotional effects foster care can have on children – both positive and negative.
  • Plan a family camping trip. Work out what you would need to take for at least 3 days of camping where there are little amenities.



Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals 

This is such a fun book! AND a great way to look at compost instead of the dark, smelly and fly attracting pot it can be if not looked after carefully!
We love our compost bin, we really do:

  • It keeps scraps out of our kitchen bin
  • It gives us lovely fertiliser
  • It doesn’t smell
  • We have extra pet worms in there!

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals is a great read for children as it not only explores what you can put into a compost bin, but also rhyming words and the alphabet!


The book follows each letter in the alphabet and the scrap that can be placed in the compost bin.

The illustrations add to the great texture of the natural world as Ashley Wolff has used gouache technique and collage.

We loved looking at what else could also go into the compost bin that started with the same letter. I’m sure you will too!


Get a compost bin: You can create your own compost mound but I would only recommend this is you have a large backyard as compost can be smelly and attract insects if not maintained properly (which is always difficult if you work and/or have a family to look after)

There are so many types of compost bins out there now that range in all shapes and sizes so no excuses even if you live in an apartment!

Talk to your children about what can go into the compost bin (food scraps, tea leaves etc) and what cannot (plastic, wood etc) This will start to make them realise how important it is for us to lessen our reliance on packaged food as it will not break down.

Get outside to learn concepts like the alphabet! Don’t make them draw on a piece of paper – get outside and learn what starts with those letters and perhaps even make that letter with that object. I’ve written a previous post on this – nature play. 

Make the letter ‘L’ out of leaves

Make the letter E out of broken egg shells!

Make the letter C out of carrot peelings!

Have fun with this book – it provides great links to learning the alphabet and shows that we don’t need pen and paper to learn simple things!


Isabella’s garden

Are there such things as natural pesticides?

Think: The big supermarkets needs us as much as we need them. True?

How does being lazy help the pesticide industry?

Isabella’s Garden by Glenda Millard and Rebecca Cool is a magical tale about a community growing plants and vegetables in the garden. Through rhythm and rhyme we look at a garden tended to by a loving group of people who not only nurture the garden but also revile in the seasons that come upon them.

The illustrations are bright and active, showing the people enjoying themselves whilst playing in the different weather in the garden

Any child will love this story – if not for the words they will love the friendly illustrations. Happy faces, team work and local animals all play a part in the development of the garden.

So how can we use this book to ignite discussion and action?

Community gardens: Find out where your local garden is and go and check it out. If there isn’t one, start your own patch  = even if it is just a pot on your windowsill, it’s still something.

Join a co op! I have joined a great one called Harvest Hub. They aim to source all of their fruits and vegetables from smaller and more local farms so to minimise pesticides and food kilometres. They are also pretty much plastic free which is fantastic!

It’s spring now – what can you plant in your garden? We have planted coriander, lemon balm, snow peas, cucumbers, zucchni’s, dragon beans, lettuces and lots of sunflowers! Take the time to grow some of these easy plants on your own! We use Diggers seeds. 

Make something from your garden or local farmer! We made some sauerkraut from Lee Holmes’ Heal your gut book – it’s the best I’ve tasted!