Edith Cowan University
Place of Publication
School of Education
Better Beginnings for remote Aboriginal communities started in 2010 with the aim of bringing literacy resources to families with children up to five years of age in remote communities. It was developed as part of the Better Beginnings program which is a universal program for children and their families that aims to develop literacy skills through fostering a love of books and language. A finding in the larger evaluation of this project (Barrat-Pugh, Rohl & Statkus, 2010) found that there was a need for targeted strategies and resources to better support Aboriginal families and hence Better Beginnings for remote Aboriginal communities was devised.
This program is an initiative of the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) supported by the Department for Regional Development and Lands, Rio Tinto and Royalties for Regions. The program aims to assist in the facilitation of local Aboriginal community councils to empower local Aboriginal people to form a network of distributors who may work in schools, health centres or other services in communities. In this way the community has responsibility for the delivery of the program, which is a central tenant of the Better Beginnings initiative for supporting the development of children's literacy learning in remote communities. The resources which are specifically designed and chosen to reflect Aboriginal history, culture and everyday life come in the form of quality books, stories and rhymes, DVDs and posters. The program aims to stimulate children, family and carers' literacy practices in a fun, easy, relevant and meaningful way and compensate for a lack of reading material in remote communities. Resources include T-shirts for children, alphabet and number posters, an Aboriginal newspaper for adults and a pamphlet on the importance of reading to children. The program also aims to get more children and families to use their local library.