Word Play at the library (Media release)

Fatima and her son Usman, age 3When Fatima first moved to Australia she and her young son found it hard to make friends or socialise outside their Urdu speaking community. But that’s changing and she says it’s partly due to the Word Play program run out of Fawkner Library.

The program encourages migrant families with young children to learn English together through play.

“We belong to a different culture, so there is a language barrier.  It’s important to me for my children to learn English to be socialised and be involved,” said Fatima.

Merri-bek City Council and Merri Health applied for a joint library grant to run the program, which is funded by the State Library of Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria network.

Word Play sessions are held before opening in the children’s section of the library. It’s a warm and bright space and the children are free to make as much noise as they want.

Each week a different theme is chosen with a story, activities and songs to support the theme.

“The focus is on fun,” said Russ Pirie from Merri Health who runs some of the sessions.

“And through those games and fun, that’s when we see that we almost have an accidental learning,” he said.

According to Fatima, all the fun is working.

“Usman is three and a half.  I’m preparing him for kinder. It will be a new place with different children. I’m building his confidence. He continues gets confused between English and Urdu, and these sessions help,” she said.

Free Word Play sessions are held Tuesday mornings at Fawkner Library during term time.

16 July 2018