On a near freezing day last month, just about everyone in Parkes turned out for the Reading Day with Friends, commemorating 20 years since Paint Parkes REaD began as Birth to Kindergarten. Children from birth were in attendance, through to High School students singing in shops and on the streets to children, shops were decorated in red, libraries took over a local club’s auditorium to act out a story, a local farmer sang and read with children in the Office Supplies store, carrier pigeons, and even Elvis spread the message of read with your baby from birth. Grandfathers spoke about it in the local pub, and young mums and their babies drove over an hour to get there.
Pietta Bridges, Reading Day Coordinator said that the day was a culmination of a few months of activities across children’s services, including pen pal writing, creating a friendship chain, and learning about being friends.
Today we celebrate and remember the importance of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.
Thank you to the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aunties and Uncles and workers from across Australia, who are leading us to Paint Australia REaD, Black and Yellow so that our children will arrive at school loving books and ready to learn.
Tracey and Charlie from NSW’s Paint Shoalhaven REaD, Black and Yellow with Karrak, Paint Kwinana REaD WA’s black cockatoo Mascot. Karrak is holding Shoalhaven’s magical reading egg.
Welcome to Paint Mackay REaD. Their magical REaDing Egg arrived at the Mackay Library, last Thursday. It was welcomed by a big group of children and their parents, supported by the Mayor, Cr Greg Williamson and Cr Ayril Paton.
As children read with the egg, their parents help them put their name on it. We can’t wait to meet the brush turkey which will hatch out! And how do we know it is a brush turkey? Because there have been two wonderful books written about the egg already by Pam Gargett and Carly St Clair, and beautifully illustrated by students from Slade Point State School.
Under the support of local Elders including Auntie Maureen Silleri and their Aboriginal Support teacher, Maryanne Wallace a mob of enthusiastic Aboriginal students at North St Marys Public School NSW, drew special pictures about what reading with Rooby Roo (the Paint Penrith REaD mascot) meant to them.
These images were then transferred onto Rooby’s vest with help of Frances Zammit from Community Junction Ins. The students gave Rooby a very big surprise last week when they presented her with the vest. ‘We want you to wear it for NAIDOC Week this year’.
Friday 16 June saw close to 100 children with their parents and carers Welcomed to Country by Auntie Barb on the steps of Moree Library, before they followed the local firies inside, who were carrying their reading egg.
There were calls of VICTORY when their new Reading Bug hatched, with the children eager to read, sing and touch their special friend. The morning finished with photos with the Bug, a red morning tea (healthy!) and a new book for each child attending. Fireman Adam was the last person to read to the egg before hatching and Marla Hosegood, the local Commonwealth Bank Manager, the first to read to the newborn.
With National Sorry Day 2017, we at Paint the Town REaD want to say sorry. We stand with our wonderful Aboriginal Elders, colleagues and friends and want to work together to close the early literacy gap for our Aboriginal kids, made worse by the intergenerational trauma from the Stolen Generations.
Over 140 delegates (and mascots!) celebrated our 6th National Conference, Climb Every Mountain: Songlines and Singing. Aunty Carol Cooper and Aunty Jacinta Tobin welcomed us to Country, and set the scene for two days of learning, practical workshops and fun. The Blue Mountains three levels of Government were well represented by Cr Romola Hollywood, who welcomed delegates at a Civic Reception, Hon Susan Templeman, who opened the Conference with Aunty Carol and Aunt Jacinta, and Trish Doyle MP. who opened our Principals Forum. Thank you to our Keynote Speakers, Aunty Jacinta Tobin, Dr Marina Kalashnikova (Western Sydney University), Dr Amanda Howard (Newcastle University), and Kerry Dominish (CEO – Early Start) and the 30 workshop presenters. And our Conference Dinner wouldn’t have been so successful without the Blue Mountains Ukulele group and the generosity of Carrington’s Brewery!
With our 6th National Conference on next week, you only have a few days to go to register. So use the links to the right, to take you straight to the registration page!
And whilst everyone is preparing for the Conference, the Aboriginal Elders in Shoalhaven NSW have been busy giving their mascot egg to the children, supported by Mayor Amanda Findley. Children in Moree NSW are also reading with their egg and Parker Pelican in the Parks and Gardens in Adelaide has celebrated his first birthday, with a huge party of about 400 people, where there was lots of singing and families reading together in the local community park.