Over the next few months a giant bandicoot “egg” will be visiting local Canterbury primary schools and playgroups to encourage young children to read and sing to it as part of an initiative to improve childhood literacy.
Sponsored by a $10,000 grant from Canterbury League Club, the Paint Canterbury REaD initiative is urging the whole community to read, talk, sing, rhyme and draw with children from birth so that they will be ready for reading and writing at school.
Kindergarten students at Belmore South Public School were the first lucky lot to get up close and personal with the Cook’s River bandicoot ‘Magic Egg’ where the winner of the Name the Bandicoot competition was announced. Annabelle Coles from Belmore South beat out five other finalists from four different primary schools to claim naming rights; her winning name will be announced at the mascot “hatching” ceremony next year.
“It was a fantastic start to our Paint Canterbury REaD project; Canterbury Mayor Brian Robson and the CEO of Canterbury League Club Dave Brace presented certificates and prizes, and Bongo from Bankstown’s Paint it REaD delivered the Magic Egg to the children of Canterbury. The egg needs to be read to and sung to and talked to and it will grow and grow, just like children’s brains, until the Bandicoot hatches,” said Wendi Etherington, Facilitator of Lakemba and Wiley Park School as Community Centre (LaCC).
“We had about 200 entries; Annabelle’s school will receive the mascot’s first visit once he is ‘hatched’ and the other finalists received certificates and books,” said Wendi.
The program will continue in the new year with various community-wide literacy activities including an annual reading day, book box swaps and story time sessions in parks and shopping centres.
“Congratulations to Annabelle and the other finalists for thinking creatively and coming up with names for the Bandicoot – I look forward to finding out with everyone else when the name is announced. Until then I encourage children and their families to read lots of books so that the Bandicoot can hatch quickly,” said Dave Brace, CEO of Canterbury League Club.