Partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people;Acceptance of difference as unique and to be respected;Learning more about ourselves and each other, and,Sharing a common journey along the path of healing and reconciliation towards a more harmonious and optimistic future.
All Western Australian schools are invited to apply for PALS funding by designing and submitting a reconciliation project relating to one of the six PALS categories that they believe will influence positive change and understanding in their school environment.
Projects can vary and range from producing Aboriginal art murals, bush tucker gardens, running NAIDOC Week events or fostering relationships between students and Aboriginal Elders through school incursions and excursions. All funded projects must be acquitted in September by submitting the completed project. The projects will then be judged as part of the annual PALS Awards process.
Each year Awards are offered to outstanding PALS projects in each category and are presented at a PALS Awards ceremony, including an overall winner.
In 2018, over half of the schools in WA are coordinating PALS projects that aim to increase student's understanding of our unique Aboriginal culture in fun, creative and engaging ways.
PALS complements the teaching syllabus and can assist schools in implementing the
Aboriginal Cultural Standards Framework. PALS was developed in collaboration with the
Department of Education,
Catholic Education Office and the
Association of Independent Schools WA.
PALS participants contribute to building a better society – a community that is ultimately free of racism and prejudice and instead filled with harmony, hope, understanding and acceptance.
Funding assistance of $1000 is available for your school to complete a PALS project. PALS projects are varied, and your school may already be involved with initiatives that are eligible for PALS funding. PALS funding is available to all WA primary and secondary schools and encourages schools with and without Aboriginal students to participate.
To complete your PALS Acquittal, login to 360 Portal.
PALS projects must focus on reconciliation and align with one or more of our six categories:
Student Engagement and Community Participation: increasing student engagement by developing sustainable community partnerships focused on building better relationships and futures between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, leading to increased involvement and engagement of Aboriginal parents and communities in school life.
Arts and Culture: embracing Aboriginal culture through performing, musical and visual arts.
Health and Wellbeing: developing more health conscious and knowledgeable students through sustainable physical and mental health initiatives and activities.
Aboriginal Language and History: researching and increasing the awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal language(s) and history and participating in the positive promotion and acknowledgement within the school and wider community.
Environment: creating, improving and developing a welcoming school and community environment that encourages participation from Aboriginal people and encourages the sustainable use of natural resources.
Digital Technology: utilising digital technology to incorporate Aboriginal culture into the school environment.
The PALS funding round for 2018 has closed.
To find out more information about PALS, or to register your interest for funding for 2019, please contact the PALS Officer on +61 8 9427 3470 or email
To contact the PALS Officer please call +61 8 9427 3470 or
Register your interest for PALS or sign up for our newsletter by emailing the pals PALS Officer on
Whadjuk Gift – Mater Dei College organised for six schools to come together to celebrate Whadjuk Country by designing t-shirts with Aboriginal artwork based upon 17 Aboriginal nations and wore these t-shirts with pride at an inter-school carnival. The school’s joined together for a day of celebration and created a sense of community and inclusion with a Smoking Ceremony, Welcome to Country, an informative walk past their Eddie Mabo mural then onto the Aboriginal 'sports' based activities on the oval. Students now have a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture and have strengthened bonds within their local school communities.
Strengthening Bonds 2018 – The school’s Aboriginal students produced a video based on the 2018 NAIDOC theme ‘Because of her, we can!’. Each student was filmed talking about an Aboriginal woman who has made a significant impact on their family, them as an individual or achieved something of significance within the wider community. The project was a brilliant showcase of strong Aboriginal women and has been shared with the whole school community. Aboriginal students also took a leadership role in organising an annual Bush Tucker BBQ which offered a variety of bush tucker inspired foods for the entire school to sample. Both projects encouraged Aboriginal student’s to be proud of their culture and allowed the whole school to learn more about their local community.
‘Heart Learning (Koort Kadadjiny Kadidjiny) – Year 11 drama students collaborated with Aboriginal artists to create and perform an original piece of epic theatre titled ‘Heart Learning (Koort Kadadjiny Kadidjiny)’. The theatre piece is a celebration of diversity, survival, transformation, and growth in the hope for reconciliation and a better future in the relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. The performance used Noongar language, original music, song, body percussion and movement, and digital projection of visual art to share a true cultural representation of Australia’s history from 1788 to present.
Community Art and Reconciliation Project – Aboriginal students worked together to create a collection of photography-based posters to celebrate their Noongar cultural diversity. The posters are proudly displayed throughout the college, the local Aboriginal organisations and surrounding schools which has developed the student’s cultural pride and promoted positive community awareness and reconciliation. The school also painted the six Noongar seasons on wooden picnic benches and ran a dance group for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal girls which promoted has built long lasting relationships.
Northam Girls Football and Wellbeing Program – The school ran a Girls Football and Wellbeing Program which encouraged students to organise events and speak in front of groups of people. The team included both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal girls who came together to play and learn. The girls met with strong Aboriginal women to discuss culture and how to be deadly young women. The girls used physical activity in a team game to learn the benefits of being healthy, understanding that playing sport is beneficial to both mental and social health.
Aboriginal Girls Group – The school linked together with the Champion Centre Armadale and the Child Adolescent Mental Health Services to create an Aboriginal Girls’ Group (AGG). The AGG focussed on celebrating culture and identity, team building, addressing issues such as bullying, social media, women's issues, exam stress and goal setting. Guest speakers were engaged to promote self-acceptance and create a fun, welcoming environment. The AGG have developed strong friendships with each other which will support them into the future.
Languages – The school worked with the families of Aboriginal students to identify the Aboriginal language groups in the school community. With resources purchased from PALS funding, the students worked with family members to translate common English words into the local Aboriginal languages. The information was transferred to create a PowerPoint presentation that is now available school-wide. The project has enabled the school to learn more about the Aboriginal languages and history in their community and has encouraged Aboriginal student’s to be proud of their culture.
Mulka the Giant Storybook – The school built upon their previous PALS Projects to develop an Aboriginal storybook about ‘Mulka’. Students collaborated with local Elders to write and illustrate the storybook. The storybook includes Noongar language and contains a Noongar dictionary to educate readers and highlight the importance of preserving Noongar language. Printed copies of the storybook have been provided to local library and feeder schools to share this resource with the broader community.
Tree4Change Nyoongar Experience – Sixty Year 5 students travelled to Anketell North near Frayne Place, Wandi and took part in a five-school project to plant 10,000 seedlings on one hectare of degraded Banksia woodland. Students were joined by a Noongar Elder to learn about the importance of caring for land. Students improved their knowledge of events surrounding the Stolen Generation and gained a deeper understanding of the importance of the environment from a Noongar perspective.
Inspiring Indigenous Perspectives within the Wheatbelt – The school organised several activities to immerse and engage students with Indigenous culture including the creation of a yarning circle, Indigenous inspired poles and a day of reflective Indigenous themed activities including; bush tucker walks, construction of a mia mia, didgeridoo lessons and a talk from local Elders. The school created new interactive spaces which demonstrate respect for Indigenous culture and celebrate the contributions that Indigenous people make to their wider community. This project was a fantastic starting point for the small Wheatbelt school and has inspired further learning for the community.
Learning Noongar Through Music – The students collaborated with a local Noongar performer to learn and record Noongar songs Wanjoo; Djidi Djidi and Kulbardi and Kaat, Koornitj, Boornitj, Djen. The students used digital animation programs and worked with an animation artist to create music videos for their songs which are now used as a resource to teach Noongar language to other classrooms in the school.
Because of her, we can! – The school celebrated NAIDOC Week by developing a short film titled 'Because of her, we can!'. Six Aboriginal women from the school’s community were invited to share their stories and experiences with students and be interviewed for the short film. Students were immersed in a nine-week unit of work to explore Women in Society throughout history, focussing on Aboriginal women and used what they had learnt in class, along with their digital technology skills to complete the project. The film was officially screened at the school’s NAIDOC Assembly and will be used as a resource throughout the school.