Every morning at Stanwell Park Preschool in the Illawarra region south of Sydney there’s a yarning circle. This dedicated group time for the three- to five-year-olds always begins with a song of welcome and an acknowledgement of Dharawal country.
In the run-up to Indigenous Literacy Day, the staff used the yarning circle to talk to the children about books, reading and living in remote communities. Stanwell Park might be a long way from some of the preschools that receive book packs from our Foundation, but these youngsters have now learnt what “remote” means.
“It’s great being able to point to the communities on the map,” says Sara Recio, the Director. “They are beginning to grasp that people live in many different ways. And that not all kids have a bookshelf at home.”
The early childhood educators explained that not every child in Australia lives near a city, and that while books play a big part in the lives of the Stanwell Park preschoolers, many young children don’t have the same ready access to books and libraries that they do.
“We ask them questions. Have you got any books at home? Do you have a story read to you each night?”
Holding a Great Book Swap at the preschool boosted the youngsters’ understandings of inequity when it comes to literacy resources.
“Our children learnt that in some remote communities books are hard to come by. Whereas we have many [books], the children in these communities wouldn’t have.”
Before the Great Book Swap, the staff also talked to the children about raising money so preschools in remote parts of Australia could be gifted the sorts of books they needed for their early reading programs. Sara says the kids loved the event, which ran for three days during the week of Indigenous Literacy Day.
“Some of the children really took their time flicking through the books. There were some very informed choices!”
You can register your preschool to host a Great Book Swap to celebrate the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages here.