by Pamela Nathan
Melbourne University Graduate School of Education is confirming through research the importance of providing high quality learning experiences for disadvantaged children. The university has a partnership with Gurmala Aboriginal Corporation in the Pilbara. Professor Taylor has been working with the Early Childhood Centre to implement the Abecedarian Approach Australia (3A) program along with Professor Sparling.
The Abecedarian Approach uses learning games, conversational reading and enriched caregiving to ensure children from disadvantaged backgrounds do not fall behind their peers before school.
The 3A program is a version of the Abecedarian Approach tailored especially to the needs of Aboriginal children. Apparently it is already reaping rich rewards for the families involved with the children developing a love of reading. Professor Taylor says the program at Wakathuni has worked because “the children are in their own place, they have fun and the parents are really welcome”. The program also focuses on instructional learning and support and is new in a play based environment. It can foster high quality engagements with adults around them.
Psychoanalytic theory holds that emotional attachment and engagement is the key to learning and that play is essential to creativity. Winnicott has written a lot in this field. It seems the 3A program has intensive relationships with teacher and pupil in a play environment and the parents and families are also engaged.