Pyjama Angel and ChildThe Love of Learning program devised by the Pyjama Foundation is creating a dramatic improvement in the literacy and numeracy skills of children in foster care in Australia.

Unlike the conventional text book learning in the education system, The Pyjama Foundation uses a personalised one on one interactive concept. Working in this responsive approach to the individual children in care’s needs has seen impressive results in both their school reports and their personal behaviour.

Statistics show that the 43,000 children in care are far less likely to finish school, be tertiary educated or indeed stay out of jail than the average child in Australia.

Founder of The Pyjama Foundation, Bronwyn Sheehan, believes education is the key to empowering children with the life skills and confidence to change the direction of their lives.

“Our Pyjama Angels, skilled volunteers who deliver the learning program in the child’s own home, make learning fun through games and relaxed interaction. The Love of Learning is a subtle almost subconscious learning with sound educational fundamentals and principles. It is delivered with care and concern for the child with a dedication to see it
through together,” says Sheehan.

The program works by first assessing the base learning stage of each child through a series of non threatening assessments. Once this level is decided, the proficiencies of Literacy and Numeracy are presented at the appropriate level.

Simplified these Literacy skills are:

  • Basic principles of how to read which may be a simple as reading left to right, and page by page
  • The alphabet- recognising both letters and sounds
  • An understanding of how words are formed from various letters and how to sound out a word
  • Understanding the meaning of a word
  • Learning “sight words”- the 200 words that form over 50% of all writing.

Simplified Numeracy skills:

  • Understanding and recognising different numbers
  • Knowing the value of each number
  • Basic skills of adding, subtracting multiplication and division

This learning is then reinforced on each weekly visit so that a bond of learning is created between Pyjama Angel and child that gives the child in care a chance to find their wings and reach their life potential despite their fragile start.

“The Pyjama Angels are in the program for the long haul,” adds Sheehan. “A growing body of evidence in resilience has demonstrated that every child who winds up doing well has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult. For many foster kids, the Pyjama Angel is that person.”