Kids attending a multi-purpose child care centre on Kalano Community in the NT get very excited when boxes of new books from the ILF’s Book Supply Program are delivered.
“The children’s faces light up,” says Jade Browne, the Director at Na Wulg Wulg Family Care Service.
On the outskirts of the remote town of Katherine on the Stuart Highway, the service caters for babies up to 12 year olds. It provides long day care for children aged 6 months to 5 years, runs an out-of-school-hours centre, and also offers vacation care.
Once the kids have had a good look through the unpacked books, the staff at the centre sort them according to age appropriateness.
“Each group [at the centre] has a book corner set up for the children to select what they would like to have a look at.”
Story time at Na Wulg Wulg is a much anticipated, daily event, with staff reading to the children.
“There are certain books they want to hear over and over again.”
Of those favourites, the younger kids never seem to tire of Where Is the Green Sheep? (written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Judy Horacek) and Alphaprints ABC (by Roger Priddy). Older kids can’t get enough of Sharks and Other Dangers of the Deep (also by Roger Priddy) and Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas (by Aaron Blabey).
Several languages are spoken on Kalano, including Warlpiri, Gurindji, Kriol and English, so there is a great need for books in local languages to be published. However, since Na Wulg Wulg Family Care Service first began receiving picture books from our Foundation four years ago, “the children have been more involved in story time and group reading times,” says Jade. “[They] are learning new words [and are] able to identify pictures”
Many of the children also gravitate to the books during free time at the centre, and will quietly sit and look through the pages of whatever they have selected.
“It’s a wonderful program.”