Unfortunately, two of our families succumbed to the dreaded gastro and flu in week 5 so our numbers were somewhat depleted. This meant we had a smaller group and it was focussed on the K-2 girls and mums. Leilah, Pat and Bek worked with the girls on oral language using language games whilst Jann read with the mums. We practiced strategies such as echo reading and paired reading to maintain meaning to begin with, then the mum’s had free choice reading which Jann supported where necessary. We used rhyming books such as Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and some Dr Seuss classics. Elizabeth really enjoyed There’s a wocket in my pocket!
We had noticed that there was a need to revise simple safety in relation to walking and/or cycling to school, car safety and cyber safety amongst the South Sudanese families. So we invited Greg Ayton, a member of the local police force to come and share with both the children and the parents. Greg was easy to understand, engaged the audience and shared his message very well. We all learnt something new! The children enjoyed the Kenny Koala resources Greg provided too.
This project would not have been possible without the faithful support of our volunteers and to celebrate we had a sausage sizzle in true Aussie fashion to celebrate the end of term. The sun could have provided more warmth, however the sausages and sauce provided sustenance and a warm sense of community that has developed over the last 6 weeks of this project. Our thanks go to Pat, Bek, Kristy, Leilah, Jack, Anthony, Angela and Matthew for their unwavering support and to a very special boy called Ekol who cheerfully helped and learnt alongside us.
Following our barbeque we moved into the warmth of the library and whilst Bek provided support with parent-teacher and swimming carnival forms, Elizabeth was keen to build on the skills she had already received and we read some more. We also gave each family a bag of books to encourage them to continue reading with the children over the school holidays. Kirsty and Leilah showed the children how to make their own books out of paper and much rich conversation was had around the table. We parted having made new friends, found new skills and deepened the sense of belonging. What a wonderful journey this has been. The last word goes to Elizabeth, mum of four who said,
“ This has made me want to learn more and understand the meaning of words. I want to learn more and read more as English is my second language. I like reading!”