Unlocking literacy

Both-ways learning with support from StarKids and World Vision.

In November 2019, World Vision together with the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC) and the Batchelor Learning Centre commenced a joint Unlock Literacy initiative in Nyirrpi, to provide culturally rich learning opportunities every week for children and their families.

Throughout 2020, ‘Story time at the Learning Centre’ took place every Tuesday afternoon. WYDAC youth workers along with Batchelor staff and community members told Warlpiri jukurrpa (dreaming) stories, read books together and play literacy games with children.

World Vision’s Unlock Literacy team helps to develop new literacy activities, books and resources to use during these sessions. Since starting, the sessions have seen strong attendance by children of all ages as well as great engagement from community members.
World Vision’s Unlock Literacy Cultural Adviser and Nyirrpi community member, Fiona Gibson, reflects on her involvement in the initiative:

“It was really interesting being part of story time, I was explaining the story book and our cultural stories and how we learn lessons from them. As a trained Warlpiri teacher for more than 20 years, I felt really happy about the story time because it’s really important for our kids so they can learn after school too, doing more of that literacy and language, helping them to keep learning. It’s interesting for little ones and bigger kids, even other yapas (adults) to read the books and practise. Everybody can join in and read, helping their kids, not only World Vision and WYDAC, but everyone.”

Nyirrpi Learning Centre Coordinator, Eilleen, has found that story time afternoons have increased the centre’s engagement with children in community and provided opportunities for everyone to come together to support intergenerational learning:

“It was beautiful to see different generations come together and to see kids engaged with Warlpiri language. One of the older boys was sitting and reading with a younger one which was really special, and they were all riveted by Fiona reading and telling stories too. It provides really good opportunities for role modelling and as the coordinator I am thrilled the Learning Centre space is able to be used in such a positive way.”

For First Nations children in Warlpiri to have opportunities to access “both-ways” learning and education is extremely important, as this approach values and celebrates connection to culture and also complements mainstream learning.

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