Uluru and Kata Tjuta are just some of the spectacular sites along the 2500km journey to visit one of our favourite playgroups. This part of the country is certainly beginning to feel familiar after the number of years our Foundation has been visiting the Ngaanyatjarra lands. What brings us here is Warburton Playgroup, an playgroup that highlights the success of our Book Buzz Program and its potential for developing early literacy in young Indigenous children.
Our visit this year incorporated a formal evaluation of Book Buzz. We are hoping to share the findings of this evaluation, led by Fraser Cargil, over the next few months.
In Warburton our Book Buzz sets are used during the carefully planned and structured story time the Playgroup runs each day. Through guidance and modeling, story time empowers families to be their child’s teachers of reading and literacy learning. Book Buzz is providing the tools to make it all possible.
A key factor that has made the program so successful in the community is that story time is completely done in Ngaanyatjarra, the local language familiar to the families and their children. Our Foundation has supported the community to translate over 15 books allowing stories to be read or talked about in the dominant language of the community. Books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Dear Zoo, Where’s Spot, and I Went Walking are all read and enjoyed in their language.
We are blown away by the level of engagement in books and reading amongst children and families every time we visit them. Babies are even picking up books and learning very early reading strategies. The more we visit the more the mums, aunties and grandmothers tell us about their child’s favourite book and how much they like reading them.
Like many remote communities, Warburton does have its fair share of challenges. But Playgroup families and toddlers are doing quite remarkable things. A huge thank you to Anne Shinkfield, the wonderful Playgroup Coordinator, Lana the hardworking Playgroup assistant, and all the amazing families for inviting us to visit again this year.