The Baillieu Myer Rural Education Award provided the Nathalia Early Years Learning Community a real sense of pride and a recognition of the collaborative approach they had developed to enhance early literacy learning across schools, pre schools, early years services, the local library, and local businesses in the town. The scholarship received allowed a team of educators from primary schools, pre schools and early years services to work more closely together – the highlight being a trip to New Zealand to explore some of the innovative approaches communities were supporting in the early learning years.
As the principal of Nagambie Primary School highlighted:
“The impact of the Award, and the scholarship, has seen a stronger collaboration formed within Nagambie to improve early years literacy across the community, and as a result recently collected data has indicated some great outcomes including improved reading skills, improved student attendance and engagement, and children being much better prepared for schooling.
An added benefit of the award has seen a partnership formed with Australian Catholic University in Ballarat, where teams of pre service teachers in the early years course support the further development of the Early Years Learning Community approach with one of the pre service teachers from last years group gaining employment as the Pre School Director at Avenel.”
A brief video of the presentation made to the Country Education Partnership Annual Meeting provides an overview of the program and its outcomes – click on: Nagambie Early Years Learning Community.
Situated on the shores of the beautiful Nagambie Lakes and the Goulburn River, Nagambie is a little community of around 1500 people. The government and catholic primary schools along with the early years services identified the need to work together to enhance the literacy skills of their younger children, especially from birth through to 8 years of age. Children are involved in a range of activities both within schools and the wider community – Literacy walks, reading in the park, theatre performances and regular literacy workshops for all children have been highlights of the program over the past two years. One highlight of their partnership is the facilitation of the “Read Around Nagambie” project involving children from the pre school and two schools walking around the town, dropping into the business where the local business staff would read stories to small groups of students – what a great way to involve the broader community in enhancing learning for their communities children.
The whole of community initiative has had a great impact on a number of areas of children’s learning, some of which have included:
- the Nagambie community have embraced the initiative and as a result has generated a great sense of pride across the community;
- stronger links between the early years teachers of schools, and the pre school teachers has seen a stronger focus on literacy across the community;
- the reading data of children from 0 to 8 years has increased over the past years;
- student attendance and engagement has improved;
- transition from early years services to pre schools and into school has been greatly enhanced;
- children moving from pre school to school have shown a higher level of readiness for schooling;
- AEDI data within the community has improved.
More information on this initiative can be gained through the CEP office at firstname.lastname@example.org