Issue 6 - July 6, 2009 enews homee

Veronica brings learning into the home

Veronica Ecenarro at the Charles Darwin University mid-year graduation ceremony for Central Australia, held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre.

By Jason McIntosh

Helping parents to help their children has brought great satisfaction for former Charles Darwin University student Veronica Ecenarro.

The Bachelor of Teaching and Learning graduate co-ordinates the Alice Springs arm of an international program that helps struggling parents to teach their children at home.

Veronica is based at the local Indigenous Yipirinya School and runs the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (Hippy), an early childhood enrichment program targeting disadvantaged families.

It was pioneered in Alice Springs this year and is now run at more than 10 schools across Australia.

Veronica devotes her time to many families in Alice Springs town camps where she helps parents tutor their children and become more engaged in their school studies.

The program introduces structured materials, readers and role plays to the parents and youngsters, empowering families with tools and confidence to understand and harness western education.

It’s a role that gives Veronica great satisfaction, because she helps aspiring Indigenous families to connect with their children.

“It’s just having someone out there building up their confidence and self-esteem, and it’s remarkable to see what happens after this,” she said. “They want to be part of their children’s schooling and I really enjoy helping them.”

Veronica originally came from One Arm Point, 200km north of Brooke in Western Australia’s far north, and moved to Alice Springs after "falling in love with the place" when she visited her sister in 1996.

Armed with vocational education qualifications, Veronica took up an assistant position at Yipirinya School in 2003. It was there she decided to further her studies at CDU.

“My passion has always been in education and working at the school. It was the right time for me to gain tertiary qualifications,” she said.

Veronica said she wanted to see the program expanded to other schools throughout the Territory.

“If you get the parents involved in teaching their children from an early age, it opens that channel between them and the school, and I’ve seen great results from this program,” she said.