Improving literacy skills for 0-8 year olds within the Nagambie is the focus of this fantastic collaborative program. Involving the government and catholic primary schools, pre school and child care centre, playgroup, the local library, local businesses and the wider community, this program provides range of activities and professional development all aimed to improve literacy amongst young children.
Situated on the shores of the beautiful Nagambie Lakes and the Goulburn River, this little community of around 1500 people saw the need to work together in enhancing the literacy skills of their younger children. Through a grant from the regional education office, a project officer was engaged to work with the “cluster” in developing and implementing a range of literacy activities for children, parents and teachers.
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 thus far.
A key outcome of the project thus far is the litercy development of these young children. As one principal commented:
“Already in 2012 the Prep teachers have been impressed by the readiness of their new students in regards to literacy learning.”
An exciting initiative of the program last year was the involvement of the towns local businesses. As part of the literacy walks, children would walk around the town in small groups, stopping off at various points where a local business person would read to them. A local shire councillor also became involved, reading to children in the lovely park by the lake. As a local school principal reflected:
“A major reason for our success is the way our community embraced the project in a spirit of genuine cooperation and commitment to the children and their learning. “
A key element of the program was the collaborative workshops and professional development provided by the project co-ordinator focusing on strategies and approaches to enhance literacy skills.
“It was fantastic to see the staff from all organisations working collaboratively in supporting the learning of our children”.
The project officer also provides valuable support to staff within each of the partner organisation by visiting regularly providing ideas, and advice on enhancing literacy learning.
With the huge success of the initiative amongst the early years, the “cluster” is now aiming for bigger and better things. They are intending to expand the program to involve all children within their organisations. The cluster is also planning to provide a range of training sessions for parents to assist them in supporting their child’s literacy development across all stages of their learning.
In addition, the community is working together to provide a regular homework support network for 10 to 18 years olds based out of the local library – there is no secondary school in Nagambie so students are required to travel to neighbouring towns. The local librarian and numerous community volunteers will support the network.
What a great example of a rural community working together to improve the learning of their young people.