Alice Springs is the third largest town in the Northern Territory Australia the site is known as in Bartow to its original inhabitants the arunda Aboriginal people who have lived in the central Australian desert dating back at least thirty thousand years there are many schools for Aboriginal children but most of them are run by the government or church groups yep Aranea is one of the few that is run by Aboriginal people themselves it was started as a to a school it teaches white man's way but it also keeps Aboriginal language, and culture alive our students are some of the most disadvantaged students in Australia they come from the town camps, and outstations of Alice Springs very few of the parents are working there simply living on handouts or on welfare in that situation that seems to be incredible overcrowding, and then abuse, and neglect and So our first objective is to get the children safe, and happy at school the arunda were nomadic hunters, and gatherers when the whites first came to Central Australia in the s but from the s onward they steadily moved into a more sedentary they're still mobile way of life on missions pastoral stations, and government settlements we have to provide the transport for them. Because the parents don't have vehicles, and the government won't fund that but we get them to school, and then we feed them that's the first step.
Because very few of them have proper nutrition programs at home. So we give them a proper breakfast we give them fresh fruit for recess, and we give them a cooked meal at lunchtime daily we do to breakfast, and then we do or without put in their bellies the children don't learn as well one of the most important things we face is trying to have our children educated, and become literate, and learn to read, and write in English but you do have to understand that Aboriginal people, and Alice Springs are very mobile they're constantly moving and So it is difficult to get them to school every day but until you do improve attendance literacy results are going to lag behind as well.
We've developed our own literacy program here with the honey ant readers, and their readers that were developed to teach Aboriginal children.
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How to read in English author Margaret James has developed these books in collaboration with yep Urania elders to give Aboriginal students stories they can relate to and I really really relate to the stories.
Because they love going out with their grandmothers, and going no digging for honey ants the honey oat readers it brings it back to the classroom for kids to be able to have that connection with a book straight away, and enjoy that story is really helpful by traveling with overseas adventure travel you are supporting the grand circle foundation we didn't want visitors just to come, and look around the school, and take snapshots or photographs we felt they should be involved with the children and So very early on they agreed, and we agreed that the best thing to do was to come into a class have one-on-one reading sessions with the children, and they've loved that, and our children have loved that, and more importantly from that has grown out the honey, and Reader program grand circle foundation has helped the Yip Urania school with funding for this particular program the author has now had requests from all over Australia for copies of her books, and they recognise the that they the characters the people in the stories are Aboriginal, and that's going to have a long lasting impact not just the immediate effect we see you.