Australian initiative – Florey Family Literacy Program

Florey Family Literacy Project

In partnership with teachers and volunteers we have begun an initiative, the Florey Family Literacy project, that aims to support families in literacy and language development from South Sudan who have fled their war torn country. One of our partner schools, St John the Apostle in Florey, ACT, together with St Francis Xavier High School, has a large population of African families who have taken refuge in Canberra. A very effective homework club is already operating which provides academic support to these students on a weekly basis. However, a need was identified for the parents of the children who attend homework club, who also require English language skills and basic numeracy.

So in response we are running a six week pilot program for 5 South Sudanese families directly after homework club with the following aims:

  • To further develop the literacy skills of the school aged children as well as siblings through supportive, engaging literacy activities
  • To assist parents with strategies to support their child’s literacy and to develop and practice their own literacy and numeracy
  • To connect parents to each other and to the school community
  • To build cultural awareness in the wider community

We ran our first session on Monday 15th August which 3 families attended, the youngest child was 18 months – it’s never too early to read to a child! As this was the first week, our aim was to get to know each other, break down the barriers and share a meal together.  After a speaking and listening getting-to-know-you ice breaker, what fun we had learning a couple of Aussie bush dances with the wonderful Jan Simpson. Jan patiently delivered the instructions, demonstrated expertly and then led us through as we listened, laughed and danced together. The time flew by and we ended with a shared meal, rich conversations and the promise to meet again next week. Our thanks to the wonderful volunteers and teachers who are making this possible.  Next week our theme is Literacy in the Kitchen – watch this space for an update!

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