It is with sadness that the Kempsey Storytelling for Literacy and Connectedness Project conducted by Kempsey Library and funded by the Macleay Valley Communities for Children has come to an end. For the past two and a half years we have been presenting outreach storytimes in the Shire to assisted playgroups, young mothers groups and Aboriginal Preschools.
A key element of the project was the belief that parents and carers can promote their children’s literacy through telling stories, sharing songs and rhymes and reading books to them. My own mother was testament to this, as I grew up in the country without playgroups or preschools. She was the one who taught me oral literature and as an adult I incorporated her nursery rhymes and songs into my own work as a storyteller and literacy advocate.
In the first year of the project my mother died. Each of us involved with the project were to experience the loss of our mothers in its duration: Gabi Brie, The Manager of Kempsey Library who conceived the project, Tiffany Sines, Aboriginal trainee storyteller and Roman Schatz, photographer and visual storyteller.
It is our responsibility as parents, carers and educators to ensure that our children have the best start in life. They don’t need expensive toys; they need positive literacy experiences expressed with love by the people who care for them … everyday. Like clean water, nutritious food and safe environments, the right to listen the stories of the world’s cultures is a human right; the right of all children. If you are interested in an overview of the project with delightful pictures of engaged kids and carers, then please check out the link.