The Blue Mountains Phoenix has been astounded by the amount of responses we have received from students, parents, caregivers and teachers alike, right here in the Blue Mountains who have their thoughts on what should be included and removed from the current NSW school syllabus. We’ve had parents wanting their children to have hands on experience changing tyres and learning about taxation, we’ve celebrated the newly introduced topic of consent among PDHPE classes and we have inspired one another to pursue many different careers, openly asking the NESA board to include more workshops about pathways into work and tertiary education. This week’s focus is about history. We can all agree that learning about the history of places, events and key personalities gives us a well-rounded knowledge not only in school, but carried through life. But what topics of history should reign supreme right here in our community? Blue Mountains History of course.

Whilst it is vital that we learn about the atrocities of the World Wars to ensure such torment is never lived through again, and although learning about the life and death of Tutankhamun leaves us in wonderment, many local parents are stating that they’d like their children to learn the history of their township, and our first nation people prior to extending their knowledge overseas. Let’s see what they have to say.

We heard a lot from grandparents this week ask, one particular Grandfather stated: “When speaking to my Granddaughter about history last Sunday, she started talking about Otzi the iceman, I loved seeing her passion for knowledge and history shared with our family, what I found particularly distressing however, was her lack of knowledge about the historical value of her hometown. She wasn’t able to answer me when I asked her about how our First Nation people lived here, nor our founders and governors naming our town. This was through no fault of her own but I just couldn’t believe she hadn’t been taught. I definitely think it’s important to know your local and indigenous history before extending that internationally.”

A 24-year-old University graduate has opened up about her embarrassment not knowing her local history. “I still remember to this day my first history class at university in my first year. We were all saying our introductions, our name, one interesting thing about ourselves and where we come from. I went on to state my special talent of rhythmic gymnastics and followed up by stating, ’oh and I’m from a town from the Blue Mountains called Leura.’ The teacher’s interest was immediately spiked when he learnt where I grew up and he continued to ask me an array of questions about the gold rush (or lack thereof in the Mountains) and our opals, along with the history behind our museums and old railways. Obviously growing up in the Mountains there is history you learn in your community and your home, but I couldn’t help but think, we never had a strong focus on the history of where we lived whilst I was in school. It’s safe to say I left that classroom to do my own research of my home town and discovered many wonderful attributes that I should have picked up years ago.”

We were even able to ask parents accompanied by their kids why they think learning about the history of The Blue Mountains is so incredibly important, to which they answered; “ We all need to know the origins of where we come from, it’s how we build our culture, it’s how we pay respects and it’s how we celebrate our great community.” responded one very proud Mountain’s parent.

Tell us what you think should be involved in the NSW school curriculum and have your say in the syllabus.

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