Books in the kitchen?

Books in the kitchen?

In a remote Aboriginal community in the APY Lands of SA books from our Book Supply Program have found their way into a kitchen!

Keen to see the books being made as available and accessible as possible, staff at TAFE SA’s Ernabella campus display them on a bookshelf in the campus kitchen. While students are waiting for the kettle to boil for a cuppa the books are always “being picked up, looked at and commented on”.

Pukatja, formerly Ernabella, is just 30 kilometres south of the NT border, on the west side of the Stuart Highway. It’s a 1400-kilometre road trip from Adelaide — are we there yet? — 200 kilometres of which is on dirt.

Among the books in the Books 4 Community pack are some cookbooks which are used once or twice each week in the campus’s adult literacy and numeracy program.

The class chooses a recipe to cook for a group lunch,” explains Trish Branson, the Community Lecturer.

Amounts often have to be re-calculated — halved maybe, or doubled, according to numbers. Reading the recipes — anything from kangaroo tail stew to spaghetti — and following them allows practical literacy and numeracy skills to be developed.

We incorporate the books into everyday experiences.”

Kukumbat gudwan daga (Really cooking good food) has proven to be a firm favourite among these students. Produced by Batchelor Press in conjunction with The Fred Hollows Foundation, it has plenty of recipes for healthy meals to feed 10 or more.

The other books in the kitchen often trigger talk about reading to kids, especially among the dads who are enrolled in courses at TAFE. Trish encourages them to take a book home and read it to one or more of their kids.

What did they like about the book?” she asks when they return it to the kitchen bookshelf, encouraging them to discuss their children’s response.

The campus also has a Dads’ Group which meets regularly. Some grandfathers come along too. Trish talks with them about how to read with kids, stressing that they don’t have to know all the words, that it’s okay to look at the pictures and even make up a story as they turn the pages.

In the Mums’ and Bubs’ Group, multiple copies of the same picture book are often looked at together.

“I read and talk about the story in English, but stress that they could tell it in Pitjantjatjara if they want … We try to provide an environment where books and reading are something the mothers feel comfortable about.”

The TAFE staff work with several other service providers in Puktaja to ensure as many adults and kids as possible have access to the books.

“We really want the books to be out there in the community being used … The books in the kitchen invite people to open them!”



  • Posted 29 March, 2017

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