The ability and importance of literacy on childhood development is essential as it allows a growing child’s mind to be transported from reality into a mystical imaginative world. You can see the emotion behind a child’s eyes as the mind drifts off, creative juices begin to flow whether writing or reading, making children realise from a young age that they can pursue hopes, dreams and ambitions. Characters immersed in the stories and imagery between the pages of a book can teach children a range of social and behavioural skills that they can then apply to the real world. Numeracy is another important skill that provides problem solving, cognitive function, memory training and equips them for life ahead.

The keyword here is; knowledge and as a part of a child’s journey, knowledge allows for important language development, understanding of emotions and important tools for dealing with social interactions. Benefits for children with literacy include the development of imagination, creating empathy towards scenarios, having a positive impact on mental health, stress reduction and grammar skills. Literacy and numeracy skills are widely important for a child to grow and prosper into the future and one of our local community groups, Learning Links are making profound movements in this space for children with specific learning difficulties.


Learning Links is a not-for-profit charitable organisation established in 1972 with a strong focus on preventing children with learning difficulties from becoming disadvantaged. In particular, Learning Links focuses on children with conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Fine and Gross Motor Delays and more. The vision for the organisation is to build a community where disadvantages and difficulties with learning are no longer a barrier for a child’s future life. Children suffering with particular learning difficulties can become detached, feel left-out and can become frustrated with the level that they are at in comparison with other children. Learning Links specialises in identifying those at risk early-on and supplies particular interventions for learning, social-emotional well-being and communication skills alike.

Learning Links not only raises awareness but supports children’s educational endeavours as well as the needs of the parents. Most often, focus is placed solely on the child at risk with little thought given to the parent or caretaker. Learning Links has identified that support needs to be given to not only the child, but those raising children with special needs. Financial burdens can take a toll on parents’ hip pockets as well as the emotional stress based on fear and worry that their child may not develop into their full potential. It is just as important to guide and encourage caregivers, providing them with financial and emotional tools to get through hard times.

Support is achieved through donations, partnerships and ClubGRANTS to allow learning services to be made available at lower rates to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. At risk children are identified and assessed, then enrolled in special in-class programs receiving one on one intensive support by professionally trained and understanding teachers, as a specific skill set of special needs teaching is required. Early intervention is crucial for children who experience delays in their learning as they are then more likely to become high-risk of a poor educational experience and then less employable in later life. Learning Links is recognised as a pioneer in the area of inclusive early childhood education.


Lantern Club’s vision is ‘to make a significant contribution to the quality of community life’, and we have donated a $20,000 to Learning Links this year via the ClubGRANTS program. This will help fund the expansion of successful initial programs within selected schools around Lantern Club’s Canterbury catchment area. These schools have been assessed as high priority by the Council Grants Committee.

Lantern Club has supported Learning Links for a number of years and understands that these programs aimed towards primary school children have shown significant results. Debbie Waicokacola, Lantern Club’s General Manager explained; “We know there are long term impacts on children who struggle with literacy and numeracy. The Learning Links programs not only work with the students who need support, but also the teachers and parents. We as a community understand that the work Learning Links are doing and the supplied programs are so vital, now more than ever for the children in our local community and we are proud to be able to support this organisation to continue their work with our local schools. It is an on-going partnership that we are excited to continue to support and will continue to into the future.”

Children are our future and education is the most essential tool for a child to grow and prosper. At Lantern Club, we understand that a specific style of teaching including services from psychological assessment right through to targeted behavioural changes can help with the foundation for growth. Remember, every-time  you play Cash Housie at the club throughout the year, you are also supporting this wonderful organisation, helping students within the Canterbury area. The smile on a child’s face and the hope for the future in their eyes is the reason that we at Lantern Club continue to contribute to our local community.

For further information, please visit Learning Links and the ClubGRANTS program.