Deadly Educational Programs Launched to Support Indigenous Students

Deadly Educational Programs Launched to Support Indigenous Students

Words by Danielle Coombes

The Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation (WNAC) and the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education (IPPE) at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) have collaborated to introduce two education initiatives, Deadly Home Reading and Deadly Futures. These programs aim to empower Aboriginal children enrolled in kindergarten, as well as those in years three and four.


The Deadly Home Reading program, designed for preschoolers, offers a shared reading experience between a child and their adult family member or care-giver. Its primary objective is to assist families in teaching their children to read.

Parents and guardians are provided with support and training, along with culturally relevant books that are written, illustrated, and narrated by members of the community. ‘Jimmy and the Water Cart’, ‘Creation of the Hunter Valley’ and ‘Tiddalick’ are all examples of the reading material children and their loved ones are provided with.   

Professor Rhonda Craven, the Director of ACU's Institute for Positive Psychology and Education and a prominent researcher in Indigenous Education, expressed the success of the Deadly programs currently implemented in 15 preschools across New South Wales' Hunter Valley region.

Participants in the program will also be involved in reading activities and periodic surveys conducted by IPPE's Indigenous Research Champions. These assessments will track the children's progress and enjoyment in reading throughout the year.

The other initiative, Deadly Futures, is an after-school program available online for Aboriginal children in years three and four. It focuses on mathematics and reading and takes place twice a week in pairs.

In the second half of 2023, 80 children will commence the Deadly Futures program, with their reading and maths skills compared to those of 40 children who did not partake in the program. Professor Craven talked about the importance of community and family connection in positively shaping young Indigenous lives, and the nation as a whole.

"We recognise that education, psychological well-being, and strong family and community connections can be transformative for Indigenous children, youth, communities, and our nation," Professor Craven explained.
(The Sector. 2023)

Laurie Perry, the Chief Executive of the Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation, expressed optimism regarding the opportunity to provide Indigenous children with a promising future through education.

"The Indigenous Game Changers program, led by the community, will demonstrate how collaboration can truly make a difference," Perry added.
(The Sector. 2023)

The programs are actively seeking the involvement of 100 families for the Deadly Home Reading initiative and 120 children for the Deadly Futures program.

Head over to BW Tribal’s blog to read more stories on Indigenous-led initiatives from all around Australia.