PINJARRA Primary School uses EdConnect volunteers to provide literacy and numeracy support for students while also helping build social skills, self-esteem and trust through one-on-one mentoring and classroom support.
Volunteer Wilbur Graham has been a volunteer for 12 years and now helps by teaching maths one-on-one to each child in the class, ensuring everyone has the chance to succeed.
‘Because I had a good background with remedial teaching and sports coaching, it is simple for me and I can make kids want to learn,’’ he said.
“Kids react well and come up to me and I enjoy doing it and that’s the main thing.
“I swim every day to keep my body healthy and I come here every day to keep my brain active and stay out of the nursing home.
“Everybody looks after the kids that are miles behind and they don’t need much; it’s the average kid that gets left behind.
“Teaching them basic skills helps keep them on top of class work.
“If you know your basic tables, when the teacher gives you something, you can concentrate on what they are saying, not trying to work out what 6 x 8 is.
“The best part is kids’ eyes when they get something… I call it Bright Light moments.”
‘People don’t realise the satisfaction they can get from it.
“Some of them have pretty difficult family backgrounds and you have to think where they are coming from.
“If I go into the classroom to fetch a kid, they all want to jump up and come to do maths.
“It’s not the maths they want, it’s the one-on-one interaction in a relaxed environment.”
Pinjarra Primary School uses the EdConnect program to supplement teachers and ensure students have all the help they need to overcome challenges.
Volunteer co-ordinator Marcia Kett said mentors helped by general volunteering in the class, particularly with reading and writing.
Many students have literacy-based challenges, a result of limited reading at home putting them at a disadvantage to their peers,’’ she said.
“Volunteers help these students catch up, while providing a chance for socialising, self-esteem building and school trust building through one-on-one contact.
“I think the students embrace having a volunteer because they know they are there because they want to be.
“Thanks to the support of the Alcoa Foundation, EdConnect Australia has recently expanded our reach in the Peel-Murray region, ensuring that these schools get the help they need.”