Milkwood Steiner School: Yolngu Fish Traps Project

Milkwood Steiner School

Yolngu Fish Traps Project

From 2021-26, Milkwood Steiner School’s Strategic Plan committed to developing Steiner curriculum that incorporates Indigenous Knowledge into all learning areas. As best practice, this work is being led by Aboriginal Elders as guest teachers, working alongside our class teachers in the school.  

This week, a project bringing a whole school focus to the technology and engineering of Yolngu fish traps, led by Yolngu elder, Laurie Baymarawanga commenced. Milkwood Steiner School has commissioned a fish trap by Laurie, constructed with help from the children. Children take part in this process, not only by being invited to help with its construction, but also in participating in Yolngu ways of learning; sitting with elders, watching and listening patiently, using their senses and observation skills to learn (rather than asking question or receiving instructions using words) before being invited to participate.

This way of learning is a deep listening practice, which brings an experience of stillness to the children that is so important at this time. This project seeks to bring explicit learning about fish trap technology (head), practical learning in the art and science of its construction (hands) and a relationship with the custodians of this knowledge (heart) to the children and school. 

Milkwood Steiner School gives great thanks to Laurie and her extended family for their rich and generous teaching. And their thanks also to the NT Science Week grant that has helped to fund this work.  

~ Netanela Mizrahi