Footy Inspires STEM Learning for Kids in Remote Communities on APY Lands


18 March 2024


The Adelaide Crows Foundation's Crows on Country program - which aims to get remote students excited about maths and science - will be extended in 2024 and 2025 to reach even more students across the APY lands thanks to a new partnership with the Anangu Communities Foundation.

Crows on Country is an adaptation of the Crows Foundation's successful STEM footy program which draws on Australian kids' love of AFL to inspire an appreciation, understanding, and passion for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics underlying the sport. 

The tailored education program combines classroom learning with hands-on experience to create real-life STEM connections - such as what kind of angle a goal is kicked from - and strives to increase school attendance. 

The program was piloted in four schools across APY Lands in 2022 and 2023, thanks to the support of the Bibbulmun Foundation. 

The new partnership with the Anangu Communities Foundation means the program will be delivered to more schools and further enhanced, with Anangu educators to be employed to assist with bilingual resources and the integration of in-depth cultural or Anangu knowledge. 

The Adelaide Crows Foundation has employed a Crows on Country project officer to assist with the evolution of the successful program and Chair Kate Thiele said the partnership was recognition of the pilot's success, which incorporated visits from both Crows AFL and AFLW players. 

"The Anangu Communities Foundation does fantastic work and we are excited to collaborate with them to enhance and deliver this bespoke program which is focused on improving education outcomes for students disadvantaged by rural and remote isolation barriers," Thiele said. 

"The strength of the Crows on Country program is it combines learning with something many children have a passion for, and having our players attend as role models and connect with the students certainly drives overall engagement.

"This is not just about making visits to schools in the region, a key focus throughout the pilot phase has been to engage local teachers so they can sustain the program within their school curriculum for the long-term.

"We're excited to be able to provide greater access to the students, while creating economic opportunities for Anangu educators who will be employed to develop bilingual resources within the program."

The Anangu Communities Foundation is administered by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia - operators of Ayers Rock Resort

"For over two decades, the Anangu Communities Foundation has remained steadfastly committed to building community capacity in healthcare, education and economic and social participation amongst the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we operate at Ayers Rock Resort, Uluru," said Matt Cameron-Smith, CEO of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia.

"We're thrilled to announce this partnership with the Adelaide Crows Foundation and their innovative Crows on Country STEM footy program.

"We look forward to working alongside Anangu to co-design and deliver a program that will help young people in the APY Lands translate their love of footy into a passion for science and maths, opening up future career pathways and ultimately helping to empower a growing Indigenous workforce."

Since its introduction in 2003, the Anangu Communities Foundation has donated over $3 million to projects in the remote NPY region in Central Australia. Voyages covers operational costs of the Foundation and matches donations up to $200,000 AUD a year. 

The delivery of the Crows on Country program has also been possible thanks to the support of the Bibbulmun Foundation and Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee. 

The Crows on Country program is an adaptation of the Adelaide Crows Foundation's successful STEM footy program. The pilot program was developed in partnership with remote schools and teachers using differentiated pedagogy that unlocks the potential of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with suggested alignment to Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).