Robinvale P-12 College provided the Yakilla Yarna Thalingi Program from 2015 – 2017 (involving Years 1 & 2) with the topic: Parts of the Body, taught by Latji Latji language specialist Brendan Kennedy, who had been trying to establish a school-based language program in the region for a number of years.
The Language Program name Yakilla Yarna Thalingi, means ”Learning to Speak Language” and includes a combination of four languages, being Tati Tati, Latji Latji, Mutti Mutti and to lesser extent Wadi Wadi, when there is not a known or recorded word from the first three languages.
Robinvale P-12 College provided an alternative integrated-language program for their students in the early years (P-3), under a term-rotation system, with students participating in the Yakilla Yarna Thalingi program for a term, followed by other introduced community languages – Tongan, Chinese & Italian (e.g. term 1 Koorie Language, term 2 Tongan, term 3 Chinese, term 4 Italian). From Year 4 onwards, students have the option of selecting one language to progress with to Year 10.
The Language and Culture teacher, Brendan Kennedy has written and illustrated a number of modern stories in language. Mr Kennedy was born at Robinvale on Tati Tati Country and is a descendant of the Tati Tati, Wadi Wadi and Mutti Mutti tribal lands and language groups. The program is not offered currently.
As well as the school-based program, Mr Kennedy also teaches language classes at Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-operative Early Child-Care Centre, Robinvale Pre-School and Mallee Family Care Playgroup.