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Families as first teachers is being rolled out in Indigenous towns such as Gunbalanya throughout the Northern Territory, with a dual focus on improving parenting skills and ensuring children have the skills they need to start school.
It's a school of a different kind, part of a program targeting children from birth to four years and their parents.
The mothers are given information about washing hands, blowing noses to clear ears and nutrition, and take turns to cook healthy meals for the group.
Each group is co-ordinated by an early childhood teacher and Indigenous family liaison officer, and comes under the management of the local college, which oversees education in the community from early childhood through primary and secondary to adults.
Coordinator Nuala Scannell and family liaison officer Michelle Bangarr help the women practise reading in English to their children, and local school principal Esther Djayhgurrnga regularly attends, to read with the mothers and their children.