Setting a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning
“If you invest in the early years, it changes people’s whole life,” says local school teacher Sarah Mortimer about the importance of supporting young children in the community of Punmu.
Punmu is one of the most remote communities in Australia with most of its residents local Martu; the traditional owners of a large stretch of the Western Desert in Western Australia’s East Pilbara.
Here, World Vision has been invited by Martu Elders, parents and caretakers to run a playgroup for children aged 0-5. At playgroup children learn to recognise letters and numbers, get used to a routine and focus on tasks.
Local mother and playgroup facilitator Marissa said if it wasn’t for the playgroup her daughter Anya wouldn’t have been as ready for school as she was.
“Anya learned quick from playgroup and moved into big school. That’s why when the teacher asks me, ‘Oh, she can do the work quick,’ and I said, ‘You know why, because taking her to playgroup, so she’s been learning from playgroup quick’.” Marissa said.
Before World Vision started working with the community in 2009, Punmu had never had a playgroup or any early childhood service, meaning that many children were entering school developmentally behind and not feeling confident about formal learning.