Posted by: John Rawnsley | March 13, 2010

Two recipients for the first round

I am pleased to announce the selection panel has selected two recipients for the first round of scholarships.  One recipient has commenced and the second is currently being signed up.

One scholarship is funded by the Rotary Club of Alice Springs Mbantua.  The second scholarship is funded by the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Fund.  I am appreciative of the financial support and voluntary work of all involved (most of all the family of the recipients). 

Round two for scholarship recipients is currently in the planning stage and we are seeking sponsors of scholarships (please click the link above).

John Rawnsley

With thanks to…

Posted by: John Rawnsley | December 28, 2009

First Round

The first round of interviews for this scholarship have now closed and an announcement is pending. 

I would like to thank the countless hours put in by the organising committee involved with the Rotary Club of Alice Springs Mbantua and the work of local networks to connect potential recipients to the scholarship process.  Much is written nationally about the importance of early childhood education.  In implementing this project I learned significantly about the political, policy, organisational and educational contexts so important to delivering a project of this kind.  Whilst the actual outcomes of this project are yet to be seen I can’t say enough my appreciation for the voluntary commitment of organisers and the commitment of those connecting potential recipients.

As stated in my first post…

If you live in Alice Springs, consider playing a part by identifying potential scholarship recipients.  The next selection round is envisaged for early 2010.  Please refer to the pamphlet for Alice Springs residents.

If you live outside of Alice Springs, you can assist by approaching local Rotary clubs and potential funding sources to secure scholarship sponsors.  Please contact the project coordinator to discuss.  The pamphlet for potential sponsors can assist as an information guide.

John Rawnsley

Posted by: John Rawnsley | October 8, 2009

Increasing access to a high quality literacy program

The Congress report, Early Childhood in Alice Springs: Report on the Child and Maternal Health Mapping Project, explores early childhood issues and services in the context of Aboriginal children in Alice Springs. 
 
The author canvassed all relevant local service providers in Alice Springs, and notes:
While providers of early learning experiences were open to participation by all, they acknowledged the lower participation rate by aboriginal children, e.g., in Playgroups, Toy Library, children’s activities run privately in the community…

Services such as Ampe Kweke, Reconnect and Congress Under 2’s program described their attempts to facilitate access to these types of services for mothers in recent years but their ability to do this well is dependent on resources.

The Report then goes on to explain the different (and sometimes conflicting) views of statistics in relation to the level of Aboriginal youth accessing pre-school and early childhood services.  In any event, access to mainstream early childhood services is lower for Aboriginal early childhood aged children.  

This reminded me of the motivation behind the Alice Springs Early Childhood Literacy Scholarship (Scholarship).  The idea camea about because of the near zero involvement of Aboriginal youth in the Kumon program.  As Kumon is an internationally proven learning program provided in addition to the services of primary schools this lack of access is a squandared opportunity for improved literacy for Aboriginal people in Alice Springs.  The Scholarship aims to reduce the barriers and increase access to such a high quality literacy program. 

The Congress Report referred to access of Aboriginal families to early childhood services and notes:  

 

Consultations with services in the mapping process identified the following barriers to Aboriginal people in accessing early childhood services.

  • Inability to meet the cost or membership fees e.g. child care, early learning activities,
  • Lack of comfort in the environment of many mainstream services,
  • Feelings of shame and embarrassment,
  • Anxiety about doing the right thing and meeting the requirements of the service, e.g. mainstream child care, pre-school,
  • Lack of comfort at being in a minority in using a mainstream service,
  • Poor cross-cultural awareness by service providers,
  • Mistrust of Government services e.g. the historical background of the role of Child Welfare and the Stolen Generations create feelings of insecurity, fears of removal of children.

Having just read the report I can see how the Scholarship aims to overcome many of these stated barriers.  First, it links sponsors of scholarships to fund the Kumon English program.  Second, it aims to overcome many of the other noted obstacles (lack of comfort, shame, anxiety about doing the right thing, cross-cultural awareness) by providing direct support through the project coordinator and by working with other support services (e.g. structures within schools) to facilitate the right outcome.  This is the ‘whole-of-community’ component of the Scholarship. 

Because the Scholarship aims to attract recipients who are from a background where access to the kind of program that is Kumon is limited, and because it requires active family oversight and support, the Scholarship considers the strongest outcome possible.  This is the assurance that brings confidence to potential sponsors of a Scholarship.

Posted by: John Rawnsley | October 2, 2009

Online Launch

Welcome to the online launch.

The Alice Springs Early Childhood Literacy Scholarship is a new initiative designed to improve the literacy outcomes of early childhood aged Aboriginal students in Alice Springs.  It is a community service project run by the Rotary Club of Alice Springs Mbantua, made possible by the financial assistance of sponsors and the involvement of families. 

If you live in Alice Springs, consider playing a part by identifying potential scholarship recipients.  The next selection round is envisaged for early 2010.  Please refer to the pamphlet for Alice Springs residents.

If you live outside of Alice Springs, you can assist by approaching local Rotary clubs and potential funding sources to secure scholarship sponsors.  Please contact the project coordinator to discuss.  The pamphlet for potential sponsors can assist as an information guide.

The current round for recipients has closed and the selection committee is currently considering those expressions of interest lodged.  As the project progresses this blog will be updated.

Thank-you for your visit.

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