Buddying up for better outcomes

How a letter-writing program is improving learning outcomes for disadvantaged children

Around one in three children start school unprepared, many lacking the foundational literacy skills needed to learn and keep up. And despite having excellent teachers, many of our partner schools are hard-pressed to provide the one-on-one learning support vulnerable children may need in order to catch up to their peers from more advantaged communities.

Enter our everyday heroes – or as we like to call them, Literacy Buddies®.

These workplace volunteers (Big Buddies) are matched with classes of primary school students (Little Buddies) to improve literacy and inspire learning through the art of letter writing. The Buddies exchange letters throughout the school year and visit each other twice, once at the school and once at the workplace.

Not only does the program give children a real-life context in which to practice their writing and composition skills, it also build’s children’s aspirations and self-confidence by bringing them directly into contact with successful working role models in a range of professions and jobs.

The Literacy Buddies® initiative is just one of Ardoch’s suite of programs that are helping vulnerable children build the strong literacy and language skills that are crucial to their future educational achievements.

And it simply wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated volunteers and generous supporters like you. Thank you for investing in a brighter future for children.

Ready, Set,…Robotics!

Building core STEM skills – one BeeBot at a time.

In today’s increasingly technological world, strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills not only mean greater future job opportunities, they can also provide disadvantaged children with a pathway out of poverty.

But how do you start meaningfully engaging children who have never had the chance to access technology – including the internet and smart phones – most of us can take for granted? With “BeeBots” of course…

These cute robotic devices are part of the age-appropriate tech kits and programs your generosity makes possible. With quality robotics equipment being simply unattainable for many of our partner schools, these kits often provide children with their first opportunity to engage in technology and engineering.

From our Junior Tech Boxes featuring “BeeBots”– an exciting robot designed to help teach Preps about sequencing, estimation, problem-solving and just how to have fun with robotics – to our Future Gen Tech Boxes which help high school students design and test their own electronics, each robotics kit encourages students to engage in teamwork and improve their collaboration skills.

We also assist teachers to undertake professional development to improve their confidence in using the kits and supporting student learning.

“Now that I have done Robotics, I would like to do more in university and be an engineer one day. Thank you so much to Ardoch for helping me to learn Robotics.”

– Grade 4 Primary School RoboticsParticipant, Partner Primary School, Victoria’s Southeast.

“Our IT Leading Teacher…is “totally geeking out” over the Tech Box!She loves it! (She) is going to attend the training with our E-Learning Committee.”

“Thank you so much, it was a great session and the Bee Bots are such a fantastic tool to support our students’ learning.”

– Primary Educators, commenting on Ardoch’s robotics kits, including teacher professional development.

Your support of Ardoch means we can continue to fund vital STEM programs like Robotics, fostering children’s STEM skills in fun, engaging and relevant ways.

Walking on the wild side…

How cute critters can unlock a child’s curiosity and desire to learn

Sometimes Ardoch’s STEM learning programs mean quality robotics kits for children and schools who might not otherwise get the chance to access this type of technology. Other times, it can put children in contact with some of nature’s wildest creatures…

Each year, hundreds of children from our partner schools have the chance to visit Wildlife Xposure and become familiar with a variety of Australian wildlife animals – either through up close and personal visits, or (when lockdowns occur) through engaging virtual sessions.

While both parent and child feedback indicates that these excursions (or incursions) are always very popular and a highlight of the school year, they are much more than just a fun experience. They serve to spark children’s curiosity, imagination and desire to learn more about the world around them – the foundations of quality STEM learning. Here’s what some parents and teachers had to say about the impact:

“What an amazing experience my daughters had. The girls spoke all weekend about the ‘lizard’ and the ‘cute sleepy possum’. I’ve also been encouraged by the girls to meet this ‘hugging snake’ as it ‘doesn’t bite and has no poison’ (no thanks!). I would like to extend my gratitude to the school for organising this and to the company that sponsored this amazing learning experience for the kids!”

“The presenter was wonderful with all of the children, professional and friendly, and very skilled at identifying students with additional needs and providing them with the support they required to actively engage with the program.”

“The kids in my homegroup loved seeing all of the animals – they thought it was very cool when the glider possum jumped from Brandon’s hand onto the camera! They asked good questions, and it was great that the kids could still be interactive, even over Zoom.”