Developing an early learning model gives parents and community members a role in preparing children for school and provides some expertise in the tasks associated with early literacy and numeracy—it helps families get ready to engage with school.
Families as First Teachers (FAFT) begins with authentic relationships. These may take time to build and must have:
- integrity and be multi-dimensional with community, school and staff
- trust so it is possible to build on the literacy and numeracy skills of adults so they can help with the pre-literacy and pre-numeracy needs of the children.
Determine priorities and share these with the community. They could include:
- developing pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills in young children
- successful transitioning of students into Pre-Prep/Prep
- building relationship with the community
- a whole of school effort to get to know the community.
A real opportunity to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous student learning outcomes exists before children start formal education. Barriers may exist for many members of the community and should be identified.
It is important to:
- start small and expand to meet the needs of the community
- start slowly—often word of mouth is the best means of communication within a community
- deliver consistently with no interruptions due to planned school activities
- ensure that an Indigenous teacher/teacher aide is part of the team
- resource intensive—needs access to technology, possibly transport and day to day consumables
- location is best determined by the community—a community centre, a series of homes or under a tree in a park
- hold community meetings (including the principal, school staff, possibly a liaison officer and definitely a local Indigenous staff member) to determine the needs of the community.
Principals speak about FAFT outcomes (duration 1:52 minutes)
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Principals initiate FAFT (duration 2:09 minutes)
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