Sending rainbows: Supporting Coraki Preschool
The Sector > Provider > General News > Sending rainbows: How Gosford Pre-School Inc. supported flood affected communities

Sending rainbows: How Gosford Pre-School Inc. supported flood affected communities

by Freya Lucas

July 05, 2024

Educational leader Donnalee Collins was deeply moved by the plight of those affected by the flooding event which impacted the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales in early 2022, and was driven to form a meaningful response thanks to discussions with the children in her care. 


Children at the preschool had seen and heard the news of the floods, and brought their questions and concerns with them to preschool, where the dedicated team moved to extend their learning and support them to respond. 


“The children were shown images of the floods, prompting questions about the natural disaster and concerns about the wellbeing of those affected,” Director Jo Hunter explained. 


From these discussions came thinking, specifically about how the service could support children and fellow early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals in Coraki, a small town in the region that experienced 2 major floods in March 2022. 


The idea of creating a picture book to support recovery efforts was sparked during this inquiry learning experience.


Creating the story, bonding the community


The children were actively involved throughout the entire project. One of their first tasks was helping Ms Collins, (who wrote and illustrated the final book, titled Sending Rainbows), come up with key elements of the story.


“Using images from Coraki Preschool’s Facebook page, the children helped form the illustrations and characters,” Ms Collins explained.


When the story was finished it was read to the children, who created individual rainbow pictures to send along with the books and other gifts the preschool community had gathered for Coraki. 


These gifts included workbooks and gift vouchers for books and teaching resources, which were purchased using donations from Gosford Pre-school Inc. families. 


Local businesses also answered the call to support the service’s project, including an electricity company that provided funds for a copy of Sending Rainbows to be printed for each family enrolled at Coraki Preschool at the time.


Promoting empathy and connection


The floods that affected Coraki not only caused extensive physical damage but also had a significant emotional impact on the children, families and staff at Coraki Preschool.


Through Sending Rainbows, the children and staff at Gosford Pre-School Inc. were able to provide comfort and practical support to Coraki Preschool families and staff. The project also enabled the Gosford-based early learners to deepen their understanding and sense of empathy, community and solidarity.


“The children at our service were already talking about the floods, so I wanted to give them an emotional understanding of what was happening at a level they understood,” Ms Collins explained.


“For Coraki, I hoped it would help in their healing journey to know others – just like them – were thinking of them, that their struggle and strength were seen, and that they would see brighter days again.”


The impact of Sending Rainbows


The care package created by the Gosford Pre-School Inc. community was one of the first things the Coraki Preschool community was greeted with on returning to the service post flood. 


Copies of Sending Rainbows, adorned with beautiful watercolour illustrations and heartfelt messages, were cherished and the book quickly became a favourite at storytime.


“It warms my heart to know that the children and families at Coraki connected with the book and that I was able to in this small way help with their healing,” Ms Collins said.


The project also had a lasting impact on the children at Gosford Pre-School Inc.


“It opened the children’s eyes in understanding that their world is bigger than just home and preschool,” she added.


“And that no matter who you are or how small you are, you can make a difference.”


This story was originally published by the New South Wales Department of Education. Access the original here. 

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