“It was extraordinary to see how confident one and two-year-old toddlers were in engaging with new books. It was also a great joy to talk to the mums who said how important it was for their children to have these books,” reflects our Executive Director Karen Williams, after a week-long visit to a remote community in the desert.
We spent the last week in such an incredible part of the country, in the outback of Western Australia. Warburton Community is situated within the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and is located 1,050kms south west of Alice Springs NT and 750kms north east of Kalgoorlie WA. To get to this community, we flew for three hours from Sydney to Uluru and then travelled by road for around seven hours on the Great Central Road (Outback Way).
In this very remote and isolated community we saw that mothers are engaging their babies and toddlers in sharing and reading books provided by our Foundation. Our relationship with the local Playgroup (Early Learning Centre) began back in 2011 and has grown enormously, thanks to the hard work of Anne Shinkfield and the success of translating books into first language. Book Buzz has now branched out to three other nearby communities within the Ngaanyatjarra Lands - Blackstone, Jameson and Warakurna. Before this, there were very few books available in these communities, and none to take home. Children had almost no experience with books apart from at the local school.
Now, babies and toddlers are comfortable and familiar with books as they share them regularly in the Playgroup environment. This was particularly evident when we presented a band new set of Buzz books to the children and families. We couldn’t be happier with the response – the excitement and interest level blew us away! In what has become an annual celebration out in Warburton, we gave the babies and toddlers some of their favourites to take home and continue to share with their families. We feel very lucky to be part of such a special occasion.
“My son likes reading Dear Zoo and The Hungry Caterpillar. He says ‘More! More!’ and talks about when the caterpillar turns into a butterfly.”
“Parents get excited when their child has a favourite book and they talk about it in language. One of our favourite books, ‘The Green Sheep’, is known as ‘Yatji’. We love ILF at Amata Playgroup! Thank you for supporting our kids. So many big smiles here because of the lovely books you have given us.”