An exciting event took place last weekend at the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre where 30 people trained as special tutors for foster children.
The Love of Learning Program was developed by The Pyjama Foundation to help children in foster care with learning, life skills and confidence to change the direction of their lives.
The tutors are referred to as Pyjama Angels and spend an hour a week reading books aloud, playing educational games and engaging in fun activities with the children.
A Pyjama Angel’s role is to provide consistent love and support, and most importantly, instil a love of learning in children.
Local participant Michelle Matthews said she was looking forward to getting involved in the program.
“I’m a former teacher and have nine grandchildren and I think this program represents a wonderful opportunity to help these children in need of extra care and attention,” she said.
“The most important thing as a tutor is to be consistent – to turn up every week for that one hour and not let the children down.
“We were given statistics such as 92 per cent of children in care have below average reading skills by the time they are seven years of age, and it is a struggle for them to catch up.”
Pyjama Foundation representative Kelly Phan said the love of Learning Program is the only one of its type supporting children in care with evidence-based literacy and numeracy programs in the out-of-school environment in Australia.
“We are working with Anglicare in Bendigo to pair foster children with the Pyjama Angels, and they are extremely excited for the program to start,” Ms Phan said.
Volunteers are screened, trained, recruited and then matched with a child in foster care.
The program has a resource library in every region where volunteers can borrow books, games and resources to take to the children each week.
To find out more go to thepyjamafoundation.com