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Hermit Crabs and a Fisherman's Story

The following story is written by one of our nature play-workers (Helen Price) and is set on the mud flats of Boambee Creek. The story focuses on a very important aspect of our Wild Camp experience and highlights the value of connecting with people and place...

Our nature players were wandering in the shallows of the mud flats, when I arrived with my milk bottle, bread and fishing line. The children began to throw some ‘burly’ (crusts) into the water to attract the fish. They discussed where would be the best place to lay the ‘plastic bottle’ and gathered rocks to help sink the bottle. They set the trap and watched the incoming tide take the bottle away. The bottle drifted into shore where the mangroves were growing, the children followed and began to notice some trails in the sand, saying things like “that looks like a snake”! Soon they spotted a ‘hermit crab’ moving along the sand, and then spotted lots of ‘hermit crabs’. Eventually they picked up the crabs and showed me the crab crawling on the palm of their hands.

While exploring the mangroves an aboriginal fisherman and his granddaughter came along with their fishing gear. The children asked if they had caught any fish and the granddaughter said “just one”. The fisherman showed the children his bucket of yabbies and began to tell them his story.

He had been living there for 65years and spent his childhood playing on the mudflats of the creek. He didn’t have any TV just this place....

He showed the children the holes in the sand and said that was where the yabbies lived and that the fish love to eat them. He said, “You see those deeper holes all over the sand, that’s where the stingray flaps his wings as he hunts for yabbies to eat as well, he sucks them up.”
 He said, ”the reed beds out there is where the fish live, and if they get destroyed then there won’t be any fish and he wouldn’t like to see that happen.”  I said, “How do they get destroyed?” He said, “From the boats running over them.” The children listened to the story and I feel they made a positive connection to the place, the fisherman and his granddaughter.

 Eight Aboriginal Ways of Learning:
This Aboriginal pedagogy framework is expressed as eight interconnected pedagogies involving narrative-driven learning, visualised learning processes, hands-on/reflective techniques, use of symbols/metaphors, land-based learning, indirect/synergistic logic, modelled/scaffolded genre master, and connectedness to community. But these can change in different settings.
Through this experience the children explored two of the Eight ways:
 Land Links: Place-based learning, linking content to local land and place.  
Story Sharing: an important part of ‘the 8 aboriginal ways of learning’ learning through the narrative.


Helen Price