Building bridges to full participation, by giving local kids a hand with their learning

20 July, 2023Posted in: Community
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teacher working with young child with educational toys

Some families at Kangaloon are seeing their child’s self-esteem thrive since the school reached out to Bridges for Learning. The caring local experts in holistic support for children with additional needs were able to come alongside kids struggling with their literacy, numeracy and social skills, thanks to a grant through Council’s Community Assistance Scheme.

“It’s so rewarding to see a child whose confidence has been shattered by falling behind in their learning, light up with the realisation that they can do this,” says Kathleen Hornery of Bridges for Learning.“We aim to close the gaps in learning so that every family can participate fully in community life.”

Bridges for Learning are reliant upon grant funding like this to be able to do what they do to support local families who might otherwise fall through the cracks. “Some parents simply can’t afford specialised learning for their child, and it’s not always possible to access the support they need through the various Government schemes,” Kathleen explains. “We take a very targeted approach to nurturing each child individually, which schools are not often resourced or equipped to do.”

To be able to respond to the Kangaloon community’s call for help, registered charity Bridges for Learning applied for grant funding through Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Community Assistance Scheme. “Partnering with villages like Kangaloon to bring community-led ideas like this to fruition is what the scheme is all about,” says Council’s Community Development Coordinator Corinne Buxton.

The funding provided programs tailored to the skills each child needed to develop, delivered twice per week over the course of one term. Facilitators also came alongside teachers at the school to share ways of encouraging and strengthening future learning for the children who participated.

Skills testing was undertaken prior to commencement of the program, and post-engagement with the children involved. “As a result of being able to invest this time in these children we saw marked improvement in literacy skills, such as writing and creating stories, along with enhanced ability to self-regulate,” Kathleen says. “Most meaningful for the family members has been the noticeable growth in self-esteem which motivates the whole family to embrace school and community life.”

Bridges for Learning aim to offer holistic learning support through additional programs like this, at least once per year. “We’re grateful to Council for this opportunity to make a difference in a local community by providing therapeutic support and nurturing for local children with additional needs, so that they can excel in their education,” Kathleen says.

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