As we’ve written about previously, No Limits was a program established in response to low oral language development in children entering kinder and foundation year in some areas of the Peninsula. These circumstances meant children had difficulty understanding what teachers and other students were saying, which inhibited their abilities to participate in class activities. In turn, staff could not understand what children were saying and meet the needs they were expressing.

In collaboration with school and kinder leaders, MPF supported the systematic intervention provided by speech therapists from Peninsula Speech Plus. Therapists assessed the oral language of the children and indeed found very high levels of need. Their interventions in small groups that incorporated a wide variety of evidence based activities were popular with children, teacher and support staff alike. Soon the support staff were working directly with the therapists to learn about the theory and interventions and continue the interplay with children in between fortnightly speech therapists’ visits.

Over the time of the project it became clear that the strategies and methodologies being used by the speech therapists were at variance with the teaching methods most staff were using with respect to literacy. Over the time, with a lot of additional research and training, the schools have begun to replace their former teaching methodologies with those of the Science of Learning.

Through this work MPF has seen the very crucial problem of low literacy that underlies the disadvantage experienced continually by so many individuals and families in our low income areas. Addressing these very low rates of literacy has become a prime concern for the Foundation and our support has moved to the training and coaching of teachers to enable schools to transition fully to the Science of Learning.

Schools in Western Port and Rosebud are at different stages, but gradually we are supporting this seismic transformation which we believe will be one of the key drivers of change for these communities.