Literacy, Sing

Popular nursery rhymes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

February 05, 2019

Pammy Mundraby, IKC Coordinator at the Yarrabah Knowledge Centre

Research is now telling us that when babies and children get what they need – it can have a lasting effect on their future. Sharing stories, rhymes, singing, talking and playing with your child from birth builds a foundation for your child’s future development that can last a lifetime.

Recognising the importance of the first five years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Queensland have developed translations of popular nursery rhymes. In 2016, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” translated into Kunggandji language. Kunggandji is the traditional language of the Kunggandji people of Yarrabah. Yarrabah is an Aboriginal community 50km drive from Cairns.


There are others in the series, translated in different traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages (pictured below).

Twinkle twinkle little star in Mabuiag dialect


Twinkle twinkle little star in Kala Kawaw Ya