ACU leads Deadly education programs for young Aboriginal children

ACU’s Institute for Positive Psychology and Education (IPPE) and the Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation (WNAC) have launched two Deadly education programs, Deadly Home Reading and Deadly Futures, for Aboriginal children in kindergarten, and years 3 and 4.

The Deadly Home Reading preschool program, a shared home reading program with an adult family member or friend, helps families teach their child to read.

Parents receive training and support from the community as well as cultural books that have been written, illustrated, and narrated by the community. These include Tiddalick the Frog, Biame Caves, Jimmy and the Water Cart and Creation of the Hunter Valley.

They will also complete reading activities and a survey with IPPE’s Indigenous Research Champions three times over the year to track their reading progress and enjoyment.

Deadly Futures is a free online and after-school mathematics and reading program for Aboriginal children in years 3 and 4, run twice a week in pairs.

Eighty children will start the Deadly Futures program in the second half of 2023. Their progress in reading and maths with be compared with 40 children who did not participate in the program.

Director of ACU’s Institute for Positive Psychology and Education and leading researcher in Indigenous Education, Professor Rhonda Craven, said the Deadly programs are successfully running in 15 preschools across the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

Professor Craven said a range of other community programs are also in the pipeline.

“Today there is an Indigenous world where Indigenous people are not just succeeding but flourishing,” she said.

“Educational, psychological, and family and community thriving are game changers for Indigenous children, youth, communities, and our nation.”

The chief executive of the Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Mr Laurie Perry, said WNAC and IPPE have joined forces to run these projects to find out how well they work.

“We have an amazing opportunity to enable our children to get a Deadly Future by enabling our children’s success in education,” Mr Perry said.

“The Indigenous Game Changers community-led program will show how working together we can make a real difference.”

They are looking for 100 families to join Deadly Home Reading and 120 children to join the Deadly Futures program.

To participate in either the Deadly Home Reading or Deadly Futures, please contact the project team on 02 9465 9577 or email or

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