At Excelsia college, our education staff are passionate about the importance of literacy introduction and language development in a child’s early stages. As part of English Language Day on 23 April, Dr Pegah Marandi, Lecturer and Field Education Coordinator and Dr Gideon Boadu, Lecturer and Coordinator (Master of Teaching Program) share their thoughts.


Dr Marandi shares, ‘Literacy introduction and development in early ages can have a lifelong learning impact on a child. This development can start well before the school years. Literacy can elevate children’s experiences of talking, reading, and writing at a very early stage and provide them with a healthier future. Being literate is interwoven with a strong sense of identity and wellbeing, meaning children with stronger reading and writing skills would potentially perform better and thus show more confidence and positive self-image as adults.’


For Dr Boadu, children’s literacy development is foundational in facilitating children’s communication and social competence. ‘The representational affordances of letters, pictures, objects, words, sounds and language help children to navigate their young worlds and develop agency and independence in everyday activities. As adults, we have a role to play in supporting children’s literacy development through intentional communication, collaborative reading and literary play, to scaffold understanding and problem-solving in young children,’ he explains.


If you are passionate about developing the minds of children and young adults, why not consider our Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5), Master of Teaching (Primary) or Master of Teaching (Secondary)?                           

Mike Peereboom is Excelsia College’s Chaplain and involved with all pastoral care, ministry, and worship activities at the College. For nearly three and a half years, Mike has provided a listening ear, care, guidance, support, and advocacy for students. Mike is not only genuinely concerned with the spiritual wellbeing of Excelsia students, but he also cares about their physical and emotional wellbeing. With his genuine and down-to-earth nature, it’s easy to see why Mike has a natural affinity with students and staff alike. It is these qualities that make Mike an Excellent Personality.

 

When he’s not engaging with students on campus, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and adventuring outdoors. He has spent many hours climbing, bouldering, bushwalking, canyoning, mountain-biking, road cycling, kayaking, swimming, and chasing waterfalls.

 

Colossians 3:23 says to ‘work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.’ Mike aims to hold these values through his role running The Gathering. This group is a chance for all students to come together, catch up and encourage one another, and learn about God and His people through informal discussion. During the pandemic, The Gathering, praise and worship meetings, prayer meetings, small group Bible studies, Social Tuesday and discipleship groups – groups designed for students to meet together and study God’s word, growing in spiritual maturity – all shifted online. Now, thankfully, with students back on campus, these programs are resuming in person once again.

 

Throughout his various ministry roles, God has taught Mike that he is a finite being and an instrument used to further His kingdom. ‘I do not make the earth turn or the stars shine, God does. God does not need me for His work in the world, but He does want me – to partner with Him in His work in the world. I’ve learned that outcomes do not matter more than processes – especially in a ministry context. Walking with Jesus today and living like Jesus today is up to me; outcomes and what happens tomorrow is up to Him.’

 

A helpful piece of advice Mike has learned is, ‘If I don’t prioritise my time and my tasks, then someone else will. In other words, if I don’t put in the hard work of deciding how I will spend my time and energy, someone else will inevitably make these decisions for me. I have learned that abdicating the hard work of decision-making (managing my own time and my own tasks) can impact my feelings of agency, autonomy and my ability to foster a healthy self-differentiation.’

 

Mike describes the Excelsia community as a melting pot of different Christian denominations. ‘As an evangelical Christian I have been surprised by the beauty of different Christian traditions represented here at Excelsia, be they Orthodox, Catholic, or any of the many Protestant denominations. Each individual believer contributes something special to the Body of Christ – that is, the ecumenical community of faith.’

 

Do you feel inspired by Mike’s story and want to join Excelsia College or find out more about the student support services available, including pastoral support and chaplaincy? Feel free to visit our website https://excelsia.edu.au/