Since 2015, all books delivered to Pine Creek School in the NT from our Book Supply program have been given to the students to go into their homes.
Pine Creek is on the Stuart Highway, about an hour’s drive north of Katherine. Some 98% of its 36 students are Indigenous, and of those, most live in the nearby community of Kybrook, 8 kilometres away, rather than in the town itself. Each morning the principal drives the school bus out to Kybrook to pick the kids up, and at the end of the day she drops each of them safely back home.
“Each school is unique,” says Cheryl Glasgow, the Teaching Principal.
At Pine Creek, Kriol is the first language for many of the students. Mayali is also dominant, with Jawoyn, Warlpiri, Kunwinjku, Ngarinyman and Aboriginal English also being spoken in the community. Australian English, used in the classroom, is an additional language.
One of the highlights of the Pine Creek School calendar is Book Giving Day, usually held around Book Week in August.
“It’s a whole community event,” explains Cheryl. “Mums, dads, kids – they all come along.”
The day coincides with a story writing unit taught each year. Students write about their own lives in their own way. Two copies of each story are printed out. One is kept at the school, the other is taken home to share with family.
At the end of the year, each child is presented with another book on concert night in a little gift package along with pencils, writing and drawing books, and some craft materials.
“Having books in homes has increased early literacy skills [at Pine Creek] and provided opportunities for adults and other readers to model literacy skills to the children.”