Montessori inspired Lockhart River service boosts young learners reading thanks to ILF

Montessori inspired Lockhart River service boosts young learners reading thanks to ILF

by Freya Lucas

September 29, 2021

The  Kuunchi Kakana (Families Together) Centre in the remote Far North Queensland community of Lockhart River is helping toddlers and pre-schoolers to expand their vocabulary and learn some literacy readiness skills for when they start at the local state school via the Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s (ILF) Book Supply program. 


At the playgroup sessions, which run four mornings a week at the centre, a structured program based on the Montessori philosophy aims to help the children to develop self-help skills and independence. 


An average of 10 children from 34 families attend the service each session, and Kuunchi Kakana has been ordering books from ILF every year since 2013. A changing selection of these are always on display in the centre’s book corner for parents and children to use as they like.


Helene Cleveringa, Kuunchi Kakana Director said the babies and toddlers really love the touch and feel books which enable multi-sensory learning.


And while there’s a regular group story time as well as one-on-one reading sessions, often the children will choose a book themselves and ask one of the educators or a parent to read it to them.


Ms Cleveringa and her team ensure there’s always one copy of every book they order from ILF available in the centre. The others are distributed among homes in the community to encourage reading.


Each child also receives a book on their birthday and on Indigenous Literacy Day childlren are also gifted a book to take home. When the centre breaks for the long summer holidays books are also distributed to keep up good reading habits over the break. 


Packages which include a book, some ideas for reading it with the little ones and some suggested related activities are delivered to homes in the community by the early childhood educators. After a week, the books are returned, making them available to other families.  


To learn more about the ILF Book Supply program, see here