The Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP) Early Childhood Literacy, Numeracy and Awareness Program and Afternoon School Support program are internally developed programs with a strong PNG focus developed to suit children who have not had great exposure to books and libraries.
The program is delivered through BbP libraries where BbP trained teacher-librarians provide our free-of-charge program to children during two morning sessions - Monday to Friday. Children are selected through an enrolment process designed to prioritise the most vulnerable children aged between 4 and 6 years.
The BbP Building Blocks curriculum framework guides the development of literacy lesson activities and supports teacher librarian methodology in delivering the program content. The four Building Blocks of Phonics, Speaking & Listening, Pre-Reading and Pre-Writing encompass the foundational skills crucial for improving a child’s literacy. BbP literacy lessons are conducted in English; however, our curriculum recognises the ‘English as a Second Language’ context and integrates comprehension tasks into all four Building Blocks. The BbP Building Blocks mirror the four strands of the 2016 PNG Elementary English Syllabus: Speaking & Listening, Phonics, Reading, and Writing. By streamlining our curriculum with the PNG national syllabus, BbP is ensuring that our young graduates are adequately prepared for the transition to elementary school.
The BbP 2016 Syllabus provides teacher librarians with guidance about the literacy program chronology and content. The syllabus uses a four-term calendar system with non-teaching periods to allow time for program activities such as training, enrolment and preparation. It also includes details about phonics, themes, important dates and library closures.
BbP provides teacher librarians with Term Handbooks, which include Scripted Daily Lesson Plans and corresponding activity Instructions for every single lesson within each term. Each library is also provided with a Resource Box including specialised resources developed by BbP. These comprehensive resources provide teacher librarians with everything they need to effectively deliver the Early Childhood Literacy Program.
The BbP Graduation Standards detail the skills within each of the four Building Blocks that graduating children should ideally exhibit. Graduates moving on to the Elementary system are issued with Student Report cards to provide an indication of the literacy standard achieved. The BbP To Standard attainment level is based on the Elementary Preparatory Content Standard specified within the 2016 PNG Elementary English Syllabus.
BbP has a comprehensive teacher-librarian training program schedule, including training courses and in-classroom training support programs. As part of the library-based Training Schedule, trainers spend one week in each library to observe teacher librarians, conduct training, assist with the implementation of new strategies, facilitate reflection, and support long-term action strategies. Performance Standards are used to measure a teacher librarian’s ability to demonstrate knowledge, skills, attitudes and responsibilities under four main performance strands.
The BbP early childhood literacy program is effectively enabling the development of high quality, child centered and PNG-specific early childhood literacy content. We are also supporting our teacher librarians through the provision of literacy program resources and regular staff training, so that they may be competent and confident early childhood literacy educators.
BbP’s program is already streamlined with the PNG Elementary English Syllabus, both in terms of our curriculum and literacy standards. Our program complements the existing national syllabus and enables graduates of the program to transition smoothly into the formal elementary school system.
Afternoon School Support Program and library services:
Between 1.30pm and 4.00 pm every week day, BbP libraries provide an unstructured library support program for children enrolled in elementary and primary schools. The afternoon program allows children to access and borrow books, learn to do basic research, complete assignments and gain one-on-one reading time with library staff.
Special Needs Literacy Program:
Two of BbP’s 17 libraries provide basic literacy programs designed for children with special needs. One of these libraries is located inside the Port Moresby General Hospital and delivers a play-based literacy program for children hospitalised with serious illnesses such as TB, HIV/AIDs and malnutrition. (The children are often hospitalised for up to a year in order to ensure their full recovery).
The second library is located within the Red Cross Special Education and Resource Centre in Port Moresby and delivers a specialised literacy program for children living with hearing and learning disabilities. Buk bilong Pikinini places a strong emphasis on supporting all children to obtain an education including children living with disabilities. Our library at the RCSERC was established in 2008, now has a collection of new special needs materials and resources for hearing impaired children (including portable DVD players and iPads for audio visual learning).