Sounds, Words, Aborginal Language and Yarning

SWAY is an oral language and literacy program based on Aboriginal knowledge, culture and stories within the early years learning environment. It has been developed by Early Educators, AEOs and Speech Pathologists at the Royal Far West School in Manly, NSW.

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

Teachers learn to

  • Embed local Aboriginal Language, culture and stories within classroom programming.
  • Use Speech Pathology strategies to develop oral language and early literacy skills.

What we offer

  • An evidence based oral language and literacy program based on Aboriginal Language, stories and culture.
  • Practical training and ongoing mentoring to teachers staff within rural and remote NSW.
  • A ‘ready to go’ SWAY resource kit that contains speech pathology games and activities.
  • Small group oral language intervention session delivered remotely via the COVIU web based interface.

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

Auntie Lois Birk has kindly shared memories from her childhood. We treasure the yarns that she has shared.

Lois’ fishing yarn is shared with the children with our ‘Me and My Body’ learning unit.

To explore the ‘Me and My body’ unit further click here



These learning experiences develop the child’s listening and sound awareness skills.



Include learning experiences that focus on developing the child’s comprehension, vocabulary, grammatical forms and sentence structure.


Aboriginal Language

These learning experiences embed local Aboriginal Language



These yarns focus on developing the child’s comprehension of stories, yarns, 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

Jenny Rayner

Renee Aquilina

Joanne Blackbourn