27 February 2019

Preschoolers connect Pambula and Papua New Guinea

| Ian Campbell
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The kids of Pambula Preschool an their 2018 PNG cake stall. Photo: Supplied.

The kids of Pambula Preschool and their 2018 PNG cake stall. Photo: Supplied.

Preschoolers in Pambula and Papua New Guinea are helping forge a bond between communities and learning something about each other along the way.

For the third year, Pambula Preschool is supporting start-up kindergartens in settlements around Port Moresby.

Through a sister-school connection facilitated by Mick Brosnan from the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast and the We Care Foundation, Pambula Preschool is once again collecting education supplies for their mates in PNG.

The We Care Foundation trains marginalised women in early childhood education and supports them in opening kindergartens in areas where children are most vulnerable and not receiving a formal education.

“And we have become the collection point for donated goods,” says Belinda Morris, from the Pambula Preschool Kindergarten Association.

“We find that when many families move on to primary school they have a clean-out at home of those more simplistic educational play recourses.”

Annually, the Preschool aims to collect 1000 quality early-learning books and educational tools for the PNG kindergartens, a mix of quality second-hand materials from local families and new items they buy through donations and fundraising.

“Our preschool students raise funds by baking and creating goods for sale to their parents and carers,” Ms Morris says.

“During the past two years, the Preschool has contributed over $1000 in addition to the resources collected and purchased to assist the kindergartens to improve their infrastructure.”

Funds from 2018 have gone towards building a toilet block to replace the single long-drop toilet currently used by one community.

But the real magic in the relationship has been the learning and understanding that has developed between the two cultures.

“The teachers have incorporated lessons about Papua New Guinea into their program,” Ms Morris says.

“They look at maps, the kids are taught basic language and songs from PNG and the thing that has become most meaningful are the letters and pictures – the correspondence between the children.

“It’s that whole thing of thinking about other people in totally different countries.”

Pambula Preschool is inviting the wider community to be part of this growing connection by contributing quality books, resources, or cash. Donations can be left at Pambula Preschool in Dingo Street.

Suggested items for kids 2 to 12 years include:

  • Books – alphabet, counting/numbers, colours, basic words and simple first-reader style books;
  • Stationery and supplies – paper, pads, scrapbooks, pencils, crayons, pencil cases, no Textas;
  • Timber puzzles, musical instruments, educational hardy toys, no-battery operated.

“This is now embedded in the psyche of the Preschool – it’s such a beautiful thing,” Ms Morris says.

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