Clubs unite in support of children with learning difficulties

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Local clubs have united to address literacy and numeracy levels across schools in Canterbury. Working closely with Learning Links, the partnership has seen the delivery of specialist intervention programs in schools, with a focus on supporting children with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The joint club initiative by Canterbury League Club, Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL, Lantern Club and Campsie RSL has been of great value to the Canterbury community, said Learning Links CEO, Birgitte Maibom.

“Research indicates that in Australia, 5% to 15% of children are affected by learning difficulties and disabilities 1. Furthermore, the latest results from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), show that whilst Australia was one of 18 countries to improve its reading levels, students with the lowest literacy levels still have not made any gains.

“The vital support provided by the clubs has allowed Learning Links to deliver specialist services to children who are at risk of falling behind. Early intervention plays a critical role in the future outcomes for these children. Those who don’t acquire the necessary skills at an early age can fall further behind at school, widening the gap between them and their peers 2,” said Ms Maibom.

The joint club initiative has supported the following Learning Links’ school programs: 

  • Literacy support at Canterbury Public School 
  • Numeracy support at Lakemba Public School 
  • Professional Development for Primary School Teachers in Canterbury, attended by 32 teachers from across Canterbury 
  • ‘Reading for Life’ program at Croydon Park Public School completed by ten children with the support of volunteers from the clubs 
  • ‘Counting for Life’ program at McCallums Hill Public School completed by ten children with the support of volunteers from the clubs.

“Learning Links is a not-for-profit charitable organisation. There is very little government funding available for children with learning difficulties. Without intervention, these children are often challenged later in life in literacy and numeracy, which can impact their ability to complete education, find employment, participate in the community and live fulfilling lives,” said Ms Maibom.

“Our collaboration with Learning Links and the other local clubs just shows the amount of good that can be achieved when organisations work together to become a driving force in improving the education outcomes of children living within our community. We look forward to growing this project and reaching more schools and more children in 2018,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.

“We’re very proud to contribute funding alongside our neighbouring clubs, but also being actively involved in the initiative. The Club have strongly supported the ‘Reading for Life’ program by actually going into the schools and mentoring students. It’s immensely satisfying knowing that we have made a little difference, not just with dollars but volunteering our time as well,” said Dean Thomas, CEO Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL.

“Campsie are committed to community needs in particular to assisting youth education with the assistance of local like Clubs,” said Gordon Brian, Director Campsie RSL.

The joint club funding allows Learning Links to work in collaboration with schools, early childhood settings and parents to help children with learning disabilities and difficulties.

“We are very grateful for the clubs’ commitment as they assist the Learning Links’ vision, to provide a future where learning difficulties are no longer a barrier for any child. Every child has the right to equal learning opportunities,” said Ms Maibom.

Learning Links is a not-for-profit charitable organisation established in 1972 by parents concerned about the lack of appropriate education and support services for children with learning difficulties. Learning Links works with these children, their families and schools offering tailored programs and services to improve the children’s learning, wellbeing and participation helping them reach their full potential.
1 DSM5, 2013
2 Gap caused by the Matthew effect, Stanovich, 1986