12 March 2009: The Atherton Gardens Homework Club in Fitzroy has commenced again this year with Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Bachelor of Education students volunteering as tutors to help 90 primary school aged children from refugee backgrounds.
The program operates every Wednesday afternoon and 50 ACU students attend a three- week cycle as part of their course, to assist disadvantaged children living in the Atherton Gardens public housing estate.
The tutors sit around tables with the children and teach them literacy and numeracy, as well as assisting them with homework. Some parents attend and observe the teaching strategies used by the students which then empowers them and creates confidence to assist with their children’s learning at home.
Stacey Riddiford of Ferny Creek has attended two homework club sessions and said “I believe this is a very valuable experience outside the typical classroom environment, and a great way to further develop my teaching skills.”
In light of the Bradley Review, ACU continues to embed community engagement into the curriculum. As part of the mission statement, the University partners with a number of disadvantaged agencies to ensure students have access to community engagement which will make them better graduates.
Mary Campbell, ACU Relations Coordinator for the Institute of Advancing Community Engagement said “through programs such as Clemente, the Homework Club and ACU’s Early Achiever’s Program we can play a key role in breaking the cycles of disadvantage, raise educational aspiration and offer hope for a better tomorrow.”