An evaluation of the Parents and Learning (PaL) program in the Napranum Community

An evaluation of the Parents and Learning (PaL) program in the Napranum Community Report

  • Author(s): Desert Knowledge CRC
  • Published: 2009
  • Publisher: DKCRC Report to the Board of Napranum Preschool PaL Group Ltd (NPPG Ltd) and Rio Tinto

Abstract: This report presents a case study of the Parents and Learning (PaL) program, based in Napranum on Cape York. The PaL program began at Napranum Preschool in 2001. The program and its materials are owned by the Napranum Preschool PaL Group Ltd (NPPG), which employs a Program Manager and other staff and is overseen by a board. PaL supports parents to engage in their children’s learning and help them develop early literacy and numeracy skills. Rio Tinto, on behalf of the partnership between PaL and Rio Tinto, contracted Desert Knowledge CRC to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the PaL program using the Napranum community as the basis for a case study. This case study report highlights the outcomes and the lessons learned, together with the emerging opportunities that have arisen from the PaL program delivered in Napranum. The evaluators see an opportunity for NPPG to benefit from the development of an evaluation strategy for PaL. By engaging in reflective-practice processes and clarifying expected outcomes, the indicators of success would become clearer to the board and PaL staff. This may require some initial external facilitation. In response to the evaluation questions posed, the following comments are made. - How does the PaL model work to build the human capital of Napranum? PaL builds human capital primarily through skill development of both parents and children, and it does so as a result of the confidence that emerges from the program. - What are the community development outcomes that are attributable to the PaL program? The community development outcomes attributable to PaL are somewhat limited. It could be argued that PaL serves as a model for the community and that the business skills imparted through the program are community development outcomes, but it could well be argued that these are merely capacity-building outcomes with limited scope. - What lessons can be learned from the development of PaL over eight years? The program has demonstrated what can be considered ‘good practice’ in terms of its application of principles of parent–child interaction as an essential ingredient of improved educational outcomes for children. There are risks for the program too. Limited engagement with Western Cape College may inhibit or limit the benefits. Development of strong local networks is very important for PaL. The expansion of PaL also presents challenges. These relate mainly to promotion, marketing and access to alternative sources of funding. While the program does have its challenges, the evolution and sustained development of the program since its inception in 2000 is a testament to its success.

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Suggested Citation
Desert Knowledge CRC, 2009, An evaluation of the Parents and Learning (PaL) program in the Napranum Community, Report, viewed 30 November 2023,

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