The NZ Herald has published an article (on 14 Dec 2020) titled 'Fathers at Auckland Prison bond with their children as part of parenting programme' available here, which discusses the Taonga mō ngā Tamariki (Treasures for our Children) programme, based around the Early Reading Together® and Reading Together® programmes.
Excerpts from the article:
Inmates at the country's toughest jail were treated to some Christmas cheer this weekend. For a few hours a group of fathers inside Auckland Prison were able to bond with their children, making Christmas gifts and reading together. The men decorated a room with balloons, tinsel, streamers and even a small Christmas tree in preparation for the day.
"My little baby son, he's two months old, and he's travelled a long way to come and see me today," one of the men said. He smiled ear to ear while cradling the sleeping newborn, admitting it was the first time they had ever met. "Right now, outside I feel really, really happy and excited but inside of me it's so emotional," he said. "But I'm trying to hold it down so I can spend this moment with my son ... I don't have a long time to spend with him so I want to cherish every moment I have with him while he is here today to see me."
Children's Day was the final part of a parenting programme called Taonga mō ngā Tamariki, run by the Storytime Foundation. The programme's name was a gift from the men at Ngāwhā Prison in Northland, where it has been running for some time. It taught the men about how to build and retain positive relationships with their children through reading and game play.
Linda was the project manager for Taonga mō ngā Tamariki, and said the day was incredibly rewarding.
An excerpt from the Storytime Foundation Annual Report 2020 (p.5):
Taonga mō ngā Tamariki is designed to improve the relationship between incarcerated parents and their children, to reduce reoffending and to increase parents' understanding of the benefits of reading with and engaging positively with their tamariki. The programme is delivered on-site in prisons and also in the community.
An excerpt from the Storytime Foundation Lockdown Care Packs Project 2020 (p.7):
Taonga mō ngā Tamariki is based on compelling evidence from a range of international studies conducted over many years that reading or literacy schemes involving prisoner-child contact can foster supportive family relationships and motivate prisoners towards a productive future (see Appendix One).
Posted: Thursday 17 December 2020