Learning on Country core element of the successful Families as First Teachers program

by Freya Lucas

April 12, 2021

For families participating in the Ntaria Families as First Teachers [FaFT] program, held in the remote Northern Territory, family-guided Learning on Country lessons promote connections to traditional cultural practices and form a core part of a program which helps children to improve development in readiness for transitioning to school. 


Ntaria FaFT family educator Gowree Nagatharan explained the importance of FaFT, a structured early learning and family engagement program, as one being “based on the voices of families, and what they want for their children”.


“We focus on life skills, child and maternal health, and building children’s early literacy and numeracy foundations,” she said.


Up to 39 families are supported with workshops and other programs which cover aspects of maternal and child health, nutrition, financial management, and hygiene and home care.


“Cultural commemorations and events, such as Book Week, NAIDOC, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, encourage families to participate in FaFT,” Ms Nagatharan continued. 


“The creativity and flexibility of our programs — especially those run in the community — have really increased family and student engagement.”


Learning on Country events, which are held approximately twice a term, help children to connect with important cultural practices. 


“In a recent excursion, families taught the children to look for Yalka (bush onion) and cooked kangaroo tails,” Ms Nagatharan said. 


For more information on FaFT, please see here