Perceptions of a culturally responsive school-based oral language and early literacy programme
Keywords:Aboriginal children, collaborative practice, early literacy, oral language, school-based service delivery, telehealth
‘Sounds, Words, Aboriginal Language and Yarning’ (SWAY) is a school-based oral language and early literacy programme based on Australian Aboriginal stories, knowledge and culture. It was developed by a multidisciplinary team in collaboration with Australian Aboriginal community members. SWAY aims to strengthen and support the communication skills of educators to facilitate language and literacy development of children in the early school years, particularly Australian Aboriginal children, within rural communities in New South Wales. Key features of SWAY include capacity building of educators and small group speech-language pathology intervention sessions, delivered remotely via telehealth. This study explored educator perceptions of SWAY training, mentoring and implementation, using a mixed methods approach. Findings revealed: use of culturally responsive strategies; positive educator perceptions of the SWAY programme, training and mentoring and positive changes to the confidence and behaviours of educators both supporting language and early literacy development, and embedding Australian Aboriginal perspectives in the classroom. Positive findings support and encourage the ongoing provision of SWAY. Findings also have implications for the future collaborative development and implementation of culturally responsive language and literacy programmes.
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