By Eunice Herchenroeder
Soon about 200 Aruamu children will be reading this simple drill in village classrooms tucked away in the Papua New Guinea rainforest. Their teachers will read them stories about “borim” – children just like themselves – and they will learn how to write the letter “b” and identify the sound it makes. This instruction, and much more, will take place in their own Aruamu language. As they learn to read and write in their own language, they are laying a foundation for learning in the national language. More importantly, they are becoming literate in their own language, helping assure that the next generation will be able to read God’s Word in Aruamu.
The materials that the Aruamu teachers will use in their classrooms are the result of hundreds of hours of work invested by these teachers and many other Aruamus. They translated existing story books appropriate for each week’s theme. Then, to fill gaps, they wrote and illustrated new ones. They translated songs and finger plays. They also learned how to use their daily lesson plans, books, and additional resources to open the world of literacy to the children in their villages.
Several of our missionaries have also invested hundreds of hours in this Aruamu curriculum. In addition to equipping the teachers, we customized our “shell” curriculum to create Aruamu-specific materials, then typeset and printed about 100 story books (most of them in two different sizes) for each classroom in addition to the lesson plans and numerous supplementary materials.
When the new school year begins in February, Aruamu children are not the only ones who will be learning to read and write in their own language. Teachers in Akukem, Mborena Kam, and La’o schools will also be using curriculum that we have helped them create. Please pray for these teachers and their students. And pray for us as we continue our efforts to open the world of mother-tongue literacy to each language group we serve.
Eunice serves in curriculum development and support services.