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Saturday, 4 March 2017

A Learning Community: Devonport Council's Aspirations

Devonport Council sets a bedrock for a learning community through the Devonport Community Live & Learn Strategy. Mayor, Steve Martin, outlines  some key initiatives including innovative strategies to establish reading and literacy as a core expectation in the current Devonport Year of Literacy. It is not too late to register for the Building Brighter Stronger Families Conference next Saturday, 11 March.

In 2012, the City of Devonport Council (Council) consulted with the community to consider the concept of becoming a learning community; to recognise the importance of learning; and to task itself to promote learning wherever possible - especially reading. A Learning Communities Special Interest Group (Group) was formed with representatives from education, levels of government and the community. The purpose: to construct a strategy that reflected a holistic community approach to learning.  

The learning community strategy “Live and Learn” was launched by the Minister for Education, Jeremy Rockliff, in November 2015, highlighting Devonport’s vision to become well connected, vibrant, an innovative community and a place to lead, live and learn. The aim is to increase the quality of life and learning opportunities to improve and enrich Devonport’s social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being.

One of the first actions conducted by the Group was the Festival of Learning, a month-long event, September 2016, that celebrated lifelong learning, identified and promoted learning opportunities and event in the Devonport Community. Over 17 different organisations collaborated, conducting over 35 events ranging from a Young Writers Workshop, cooking for blokes to a storytime for pre-schoolers, trade challenges and a Living Lightly Expo.      

An opportunity to help children develop good reading and communication habits, gain self-confidence and foster a culture of saving ($) has recently commenced, “Reading Salons”. Ten local hairdressers are encouraging children to read a book out loud whilst having their hair cut and when finished, the children are rewarded with a monetary donation. Books were provided by Soroptimist International Devonport.

Devonport Council also boasts the Building Families Special Interest Group, which recently launched Devonport’s “Year of Literacy” which featured Mem Fox's national book launch of “Ducks Away”, the Building Brighter Stronger Families Conference 11th March 2017 for Tasmanian Early Childhood Educators and featuring Mem Fox, Steve Biddulph and Maggie Dent. 

There is much more to tell as Devonport heads towards becoming a true learning community. Watch out for Books for Babies and Supermarket Conversations. Devonport’s Year of Literacy has an extensive range of programs to interest the local and wider community.

Steve Martin
Mayor, City of Devonport 
Committee Member CBCA TAS 

1 comment:

  1. We've been very fortunate to have Mem Fox speak twice in Devonport recently, due to the efforts of the Learning Communities Special Interest Group. The first time, Mem worked exclusively with parents and children from one of the lower socio-economic areas of Devonport, and received a standing ovation for her presentation by these families. Hopefully she has inspired them to continue to read with and to their children.