The Families as First Teachers group (FaFT) at Jabiru Community in the Northern Territory has been a part of our Book Buzz program since 2018.
In that time, they’ve grown from a FaFT located at Jabiru School, to a mobile playgroup servicing nine communities around Jabiru. Their team travels up to 75 kilometres in all directions almost every day to support the children and families living on these remote outstations.
We recently had a chat with Trish Whittaker, the Family Educator at Jabiru FaFT about their program and how Book Buzz has impacted their community.
“Jabiru School acts as our base, but a lot of what we do is out in various Aboriginal communities outside Jabiru,” Trish tells us. “Each community is different; some might have five houses, others might have ten. Our program has grown over the last three years to support pathways and capacities of students and families who may have been disengaged with education.”
Our early literacy program Book Buzz works perfectly with this unique FaFT program.
“Book Buzz has been amazing. The books we receive are culturally reflective, and the children begin to see themselves as readers,” says Trish. “The mats and the tents that the program provides also allows us to go mobile and pop up anywhere. Even the little t-shirts are great. Up until recently we haven’t had a uniform, so the t-shirts provided the kids with that real sense of belonging.”
Children attending the FaFT are also allowed to take books to have in their homes, and for the bus journeys to and from the FaFT site at Jabiru.
“The families now know that children can access books as soon as they’re old enough to come to the FaFT, and they realise that their children start to learn to read as soon as they’re born. The quality and strength of Indigenous authors and illustrators is fantastic. A huge thank you for letting us be part of the Book Buzz program, it’s been truly wonderful. It makes our children and families confident to step into preschool, and education beyond.”