An All-Indigenous Cast Hosted ‘Play School’ For NAIDOC Week And It’s An Absolute Delight

Come for Miranda Tapsell, stay for the hip-hop 'Hickory Dickory Dock' cover by Baker Boy - complete with dance moves.

Play School's NAIDOC week episode

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In celebration of NAIDOC week, Play School has aired a very special ‘Welcome To Country’ episode — and it might be one of the most heartfelt, beautiful half hours in the show’s history.

For a start, the episode serves as the very first introduction to Kiya, a brand new Indigenous doll. Named for a greeting used in Western Australia’s Noongar country, Kiya will become a regular cast member on the show, joining fellow Australian TV stalwarts Big Ted and Humpty.

Miranda Tapsell, one of the hosts of the special episode, has described Kiya to The Guardian as an opportunity to share an “awareness of country.” According to Tapsell, Kiya will help show “just how multifaceted the wider Aboriginal community is and just how different all our countries are.”

Along with Kiya’s debut, the episode also includes a comprehensive run-down of different Indigenous nations, along with an introduction to several different Indigenous languages. Hovering above a giant map of Australia made out of yellow and red sand, the show’s hosts Luke Carroll, Tapsell and Hunter Page-Lochard banter back and forth about place and language, full of the trademark Play School wit and energy.

Later in the episode, the trio make a rather fetching handbag out of paperbark, meet a Didgerigoo player named Matthew, tell a story, head to the popular Yabun festival, and end with a Welcome To Country designed to “create a wide community for all our friends.” Baker Boy also pops in to perform a hip-hop cover of ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’, featuring his trademark dance moves.

Basically, it’s a quintessential Play School episode, full of learning, song and dance. But it’s also a Play School episode designed, finally, to represent a variety of Australian experiences — not just the very narrow one Aussie television is so guilty of over-emphasizing.

It’s beautiful, and special, and well-worth watching in full, which you can do right here — even if you don’t have kids.