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Volunteer program gives students a helping hand

QUT‘s early childhood student teachers are already making a difference to the education of children, volunteering up to 45 hours a week at Kelvin Grove State College Junior School.

 

Originally the brainchild of Katey Daley, an ex-QUT graduate diploma student and now Prep teacher at the school, the volunteer program which has been running for one term gives student teachers experience in the classroom, while at the same time helping Prep students learn.

“As a teacher this is a huge advantage to us,” Daley said.

“At our school we have about 40 per cent of students who have English as a second language or dialect. For example in my Prep class I have 16 students out of 24 who don’t speak Egnlish as a first language.

“Having volunteers who are both passionate about education and skilled in teaching is invaluable.”

Daley said the QUT students helped youngsters like six-year-old Norah and five-year-old Bonni with vocabulary, letters, sounds and fine motor skills.

School principal Maryanne Gosling said Kelvin Grove Junior School had a culturally diverse student population, and in some classes like Daley’s, more than 50 per cent of students did not speak English as a first language.

“This is quite a challenge and funding for programs is limited for Prep,” she said.

“Volunteer programs such as this give us that additional support for students with English as a second language and that is one of our most upfront needs.

“In time we hope to be able to grow this program to other parts of our school.”

One of the many QUT Faculty of Education students who volunteer at the school, Natalia Greaves described the experience as a win-win.

“For me this is really about getting experience in the classroom and I am able to get this experience with students who are from culturally diverse backgrounds, which I see as a real positive.

“I am working with a lot of students who are from non-English speaking backgrounds and it is very rewarding.”

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