Sounds, Words, Aboriginal Language and Yarning

SWAY is an oral language and literacy program based on Aboriginal knowledge, culture and stories. It has been developed by Educators, Aboriginal Education Officers and Speech Pathologists at the Royal Far West School in Manly, NSW.

SWAY incorporates evidence based teaching strategies to improve the language and literacy outcomes of preschool and kindergarten children.

A key focus of the program is to provide practical training and mentoring to build the capacity of teaching staff.

Educators learn how to

  • Embed local Aboriginal Language, culture and stories within their classroom program.
  • Use evidence based teaching strategies to develop oral language and early literacy skills.

What we offer

  • An evidence based oral language and literacy program that embeds Aboriginal Language, stories and culture.
  • A ‘ready to go’ SWAY resource kit containing speech pathology games and activities
  • Training and ongoing mentoring to preschools and schools within rural and remote NSW.
  • Small group oral language intervention sessions delivered remotely via the COVIU web based interface.

All of the learning experiences within the SWAY program are centred around a yarn or dreamtime story.

Auntie Lois Birk has shared her memories of growing up on Ulgundahi Island in Northern NSW.

We treasure her yarns.

Learning experiences within the first unit of learning ‘Me and My Body’ are based on Lois’ fishing yarn.

To explore the ‘Me and My Body’ unit of learning further, click here.



These learning experiences develop listening and sound awareness skills.



These learning experiences focus on vocabulary development, use of grammar and sentence construction skills.


Aboriginal Language

These learning experiences embed local Aboriginal Language



These learning experiences focus on comprehension of stories, recounting and story telling skills.

Sharing Yarns

Lois loves sharing her yarns of childhood memories and learning on Country.

Remote Learning

Joanne delivers small group speech pathology remotely. So location isn’t an issue!


"I have welcomed the opportunity to learn about and utilize the Sounds, Words and Yarning Program and all that it embodies. The ideas, content and resources presented in SWAY have been thoughtfully planned to be both culturally sensitive and relevant to our local Gumbaynggiir people and Community. In Bridges, we have all enjoyed sharing and learning with the SWAY activities, stories and games and they have become an integral component of our program. Being an early childhood teacher working in a rural and remote community such as Bowraville, I have also appreciated the ongoing professional support and encouragement that the SWAY team members from RFW have given me. Thank you!"

Jeanette Morton

BEC Teacher/ Co Ordinator Bridges Transition Program Bowraville Central School

Meet our team

Eileen Kalucy

Lois Birk

Joanne Blackbourn