• Children play on a beach on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait (AAP)Source: AAP
Students around Australia have put down their textbooks to become teachers for Kids Teaching Kids Week.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

Source:
NITV News
14 Sep 2015 - 3:19 PM  UPDATED 14 Sep 2015 - 4:29 PM

TRANSCRIPT

Natalie Ahmat: Students around Australia have put down their textbooks to become teachers for Kids Teaching Kids Week.

From Kempsey to Halls Creek, more than 10,000 students have shared their insights on environmental issues.

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It's a topic close to the hearts of five indigenous students in Sydney, who've seized the chance to pass on their knowledge about caring for country.

Ella Archibald-Binge: Onye Nwamadi is a long way from home.

But the blue ocean of the Torres Strait is never far from her mind.

Onye Nwamadi, student: In my culture, we're really one with nature and we actually live side by side with the nature up in the islands, because you're surrounded by the sea and you're surrounded by all the sea creatures. So you learn to live with them. 

Today, she's drawing inspiration from her country to teach younger students how to care for their environment.

Onye talking to kids: Who here catches a train or bus?

Similar lessons are taking place across the country for Kids Teaching Kids Week.

"It's our generation, it's our future. It's the one that we're going to be dealing with, not the adults now" 

Arron Wood, Kids Teaching Kids founder: I think peer teaching works because kids say that they learn better from each other. They take really complex environmental messages, they put that into words that they understand.

The environment is a particularly passionate topic for indigenous students at Sydney's Pymble Ladies College - with boarders hailing from as far away as Daly River in the Northern Territory.

These girls have grown up hearing stories about the importance of caring for country. It's a message they're passing on to students here in Sydney today.

"Kids say that they learn better from each other. They take really complex environmental messages, they put that into words that they understand"

Shakira Tyson, student: I always hear stories from my family and I love it. It's mainly from all the animals and their land, how they all come together, how it used to be. But now with all these factories, we're killing the earth, so it's not that good anymore.

Xhana Tishler, student: I've always been getting told stories like how we're connected with the land.

Isabel Docker, student: I feel very connected to the ocean and the environment, because my ancestors lived around here, lived on this Earth and it makes me feel more connected with them and closer to them, especially in my heart. 

In our community, this model of passing knowledge down is a centuries old tradition.

Arron Wood: In fact one of the elders said, 'oh this kid's teaching kids things you do, we've been doing it for years.

"I feel very connected to the ocean and the environment, because my ancestors lived around here, lived on this Earth"

Because he said back in the old times when the elders would teach the young kids, it was disrespectful for the really young kids to ask the elders a question. So the older kids would actually then tell the younger kids about what the elder had been speaking about, after that session.

For Onye, she hopes her message will leave a lasting impression.

Onye Nwamadi, Torres Strait: We need to be heard, because it's our generation, it's our future. It's the one that we're going to be dealing with, not the adults now, we're going to be dealing with it. That's why it's so important for us to make the kids aware, and all the other children aware about climate change. 

Ella Archibald-Binge, NITV News