Sunday, November 18, 2012
Cowra leads the way with Indigenous literacy development
Toddlers at Yalbillinga loving storytime in the morning.
Pic by Alen Delic, Journalist at Cowra Guardian
There’s nothing quite like being back on country, Wiradjuri country that is, and where much of my mob lives… in Cowra. Last week I drove to the central west to catch up with family members, to farewell the late Wiradjuri artist Harry J Wedge and to check out an innovative literacy program being run at the Yalbillinga Boori Day Care Centre.
I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see kids who love books so much!
I spent some time on each of three mornings at Yalbillinga reading books chosen by the little cherubs in the centre. It was heart-warming to see the interest and engagement they all had with books (see pics above and below) and it was affirming to see the difference that quality resources can make to the literacy development of young Australians.
Storytime with all the budding readers at Yalbillinga
The Yalbillinga PaCE Literacy Program is supported by AIATSIS and DEEWR's Parental and CommunityEngagement program and it’s wonderful to see partnerships between national organisations that recognise that our young people are talented and capable, and that they can do anything when motivated.
Program founder and coordinator Dr Lawrence Bamblett says: “Our program is based on a modest idea that getting people talking about reading reaps big rewards. And it is working. The literacy program [which targets 0-5 year olds] focuses and directs Aboriginal cultural advantages to help our kids excel at school. The collective worldview that motivates people to share child-rearing responsibilities is one of our advantages. It's just another way to view Wiradjuri excellence.”
Following an inspiring (and might I say exhausting time – I don’t have kids and I tire very easily with the cherubs!) I spent some time with community members, students and staff from Cowra High School and pretty much anyone who wanted to talk books, writing and publishing. I was happy and excited to assist one local woman get her kids manuscript of to Magabala Books for consideration. Fingers crossed for that!
My deadly t-shirt. The kids had t-shirts reading "I'm Miss Write" and "I'm Mr Write" - love it!
Three afternoons were then spent with students across a range of classes at Mulyan Public School where we tested our senses, created characters and sacred places and even wrote radio grabs on why people should visit Cowra. I’m going to post those here shortly, but seriously, Cowra Tourism should hire some of these budding writers to sell their town.
I want to thank my family, the mob at Yalbillinga and the students and staff at Mulyan Public School for a deadly week of creativity, cultural enrichment and inspiration.
The deadly sign waiting for me when I arrived. How cool is it?