The Lower King Community Kindergarten has a new addition to its playground made in collaboration with an Aboriginal artist celebrating the significance of the environment to the Noongar people. The nature playground features balancing beams, ropes and three wooden poles painted by local Aboriginal artist Doug Roberts. Roberts completed the project over the last school holidays and painted each pole to represent a different aspect of the environment and its significance to the Menang people. He said the blue pole took inspiration from the Oyster Harbour fish traps, a sacred area to the Menang people, with the yellow pole representing the sun, land and pathways they would use on the land to hunt and gather, and the red pole representing the boodja, or country, where they hunted. Roberts also incorporated the handprints of the kindergarten students into the artwork. The project was completed over several days and Roberts even came back a day early from his FIFO rotation to finish painting. Kindergarten head teacher Lisa Turton said the students loved the new addition to their playground and the design by Tanglewood Services’ Steve Scott made it an interactive experience. Ms Turton said Roberts’ paintings helped to promote cultural inclusion at the kindergarten. “Just the way Doug’s done the design, the kids come up and they just take so much from it,” she said. “The Aboriginal artwork, the dot paintings, the animals — there’s so many discussions about the animals and the detail. “It’s just such an important part of the playground and we want to incorporate the Noongar language into the kindergarten program as well.” The project was partially supported by a grant from Southern Ports Community Investments Program. Southern Ports chief executive Keith Wilks said the organisation was pleased to support the project. “We’re proud to support community initiatives that are achieving wonderful outcomes in this region, especially when it comes to education, connection and cultural awareness,” Mr Wilks said. “It’s one of the reasons that Southern Ports has backed the Lower King Community Kindergarten’s development of a purpose-built facility that will create an opportunity for the connection between people, place, history and the environment for its students and their families.” Enrolments for Lower King Community Kindergarten are now open for 2024.