A new three-year partnership between Greater Charitable Foundation and the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) will ensure more disadvantaged Indigenous children based in Taree and beyond will have access to early education programs.
Greater Charitable Foundation has funded ALNF’s Early Language and Literacy Taree Project since 2019, which has provided training, mentoring, support and resources to 13 sites across the Taree area, positively impacting more than 560 disadvantaged children.
The partnership extension will see Greater Charitable Foundation invest a further $272,250 that will enable ALNF to expand the Early Language and Literacy Program to sites in Taree and surrounding townships, significantly bolstering efforts to Close the Gap in the region.
The project model delivered by ALNF goes beyond teaching children by building capacity within the community. It equips teachers, parents and other family and community members with the skills and knowledge to teach their own children the foundational language and literacy skills required for success at school and in later life.
ALNF Chair and Co-Founder, Mary-Ruth Mendel, said the funding is critical to the continuity and expansion of the program across the region and to close the education gap.
“To achieve sustainable outcomes, ALNF adopts a place-based, community strengthening framework in its approach to service delivery,” Mrs Mendel said.
“We do this by engaging with preschool, school, service providers, families and other relevant stakeholders to implement evidence-based, culturally appropriate practices for children’s early language and literacy development.
“Working shoulder-to-shoulder with the local Aboriginal communities, we know that any efforts to close the gap must be determined and driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and they must have a genuine say in the programs that affect their lives.
“We’ve been delivering our Early Language and Literacy program in Taree since 2016, and the partnership with Greater Charitable Foundation has enabled us to significantly expand the delivery over the past three years to eight new sites within the Taree region.
“This has provided training, support and mentoring to 105 learners, with 20 participants awarded Certificate IVs in the program and others continuing with ALNF mentoring to embed strategies into their practice.
“The time for action is now and we want to be part of the generation to close the education gap. This renewed partnership will enable ALNF to expand our support and offer the program to at least 40 educators working across 15 learning sites in Taree and the nearby towns of Old Bar, Nabiac and Coolongolook.
“Over three years, ALNF will deliver targeted, evidence-based training and resources to educators, parents, carers and other interested community members aiming to equip local adults to support the foundational language and literacy development of more than 500 children.
“We are delighted with the support from the Greater Charitable Foundation to date and are very excited to have signed this new partnership agreement.”
Greater Charitable Foundation CEO, Anne Long, said the extension will cement the success of the initial three-year partnership.
“Research tells us that kids who start behind often stay behind, so ensuring children start school with an understanding of the basics is fundamental to them achieving their potential,” Ms Long said.
“The benefits to their educational outcomes are far-reaching for them personally, their communities, and society as a whole.
“The higher their level of literacy, the more productive citizens they will be and the more satisfied they will be with life and career choices.
“Socio-economic status or cultural background should not be a determinant of educational outcomes and we are committed to continuing to make a difference for the children of the Manning Valley.
“The ALNF program has outperformed expectations over the last three years, with 92.5% of children showing a measurable improvement in their phonological awareness, so we are thrilled to extend the partnership and look forward to its ongoing success.”