Helping close the gap in Indigenous communities
Helping close the gap in Indigenous communities


Helping close the gap in Indigenous communities

Young children from rural and remote Indigenous communities are making a more confident start to school life thanks to new early numeracy programs that not only enhance their learning, but build their confidence too.

“I have a real interest in supporting quality early education and more specifically ‘Closing the Gap’ in numeracy achievement for Indigenous children, particularly in the early years,” explains Associate Professor Marina Papic, Director of Macquarie’s Children and Families Research Centre.

“There is growing evidence that to keep kids in school and close the gap in later years, there needs to be a greater focus and commitment to working with children in the years prior to formal schooling.”

“Building numeracy skills in young children doesn’t just help their mathematical abilities, it also helps them transition to school, because they develop confidence and have a greater ability to communicate, problem solve and engage in learning activities,” she says.

“These skills led to greater confidence in the classroom to engage, question, communicate and justify their thinking during mathematical experiences,” Professor Papic explains, adding that one of the features of the project is its use of culturally appropriate and context specific learning materials.

Intensive professional learning

A second project, is taking a broader look at how different services working with communities can collaborate more closely to extend the reach of proven programs.

“There are many organisations and projects with similar goals and objectives around health and education working in Indigenous communities,” Professor Papic explains.

“If we can bring key personnel from these organisations together, we will be able to better support children and families in the years before formal schooling, greatly increasing their chances of a successful transition to school as well as better learning and health outcomes in the future.

“This collaborative approach will also help empower local communities and build their own long-term capacity to manage these and other initiatives on their own.”

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