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What, Why, How

What

The Early Language and Literacy (EL&L) Taree Project is an early years education program, incorporating speech and language pathology principles, designed to optimize the language and literacy outcomes of Indigenous children within the Taree community.

Why

Taree has a significant Indigenous population and is highly disadvantaged, falling into the 5% most disadvantaged postcodes in the state (Dropping Off the Edge Report, 2015). Children in this region are almost twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable in the domain of language upon school entry compared to the state average (AEDC, 2015). As a whole, the community struggles with challenges resulting from entrenched disadvantage, including disengagement from education, health and development challenges and high trans-generational illiteracy, issues which significantly impact children’s ability to engage in and succeed at school.

How

The EL&L Taree Project provides community members with the skills required to meet the language and literacy challenges including qualifications (Cert IV course), skill-building workshops, resource provision and ongoing mentoring for participants and participating sites (i.e., community preschools). The training and ongoing support empowers communities, educators, parents and carers with effective techniques and learning resources to teach their own children the foundational language and literacy skills required for success at school and in later life.

Early Language & Literacy Taree Project Impact

The importance of addressing the pre-literacy learning needs of disadvantaged children is supported by international and domestic evidence, which indicates that strong pre-literacy skills are vital for success in reading development and educational engagement. Similar research identifies that a disparity exists upon school entry in the early language and literacy experiences between children raised in higher and lower socioeconomic conditions.

ALNF has been working in Taree since 2016 in response to community requests for assistance following the success of the EL&L Taree Project in the neighbouring Macleay Valley region. In this time, the Project has produced exceptional results and continues to be strongly supported by the community, who have expressed their desire to lead and expand the program. Greater Charitable Foundation funding will ensure up to 300 additional Indigenous primary aged children are supported.

Program testimonial

“ALNF is proud to be working with the Taree community to transform literacy and education outcomes on the ground. ALNF believes that literacy is freedom; literacy allows individuals to access education, participate meaningfully in our society and to have a voice. It is a basic human right.”

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