26 Apr Back to school with the Ronald McDonald Learning Program
We all know that education is vital for growing kids, I mean let’s face it even as adults we never stop learning; but what happens to a child when almost every aspect of their lives including going to school are put on hold due to illness or injury?
We talk to Sylvia, mum to one determined little girl Angiemey, who together with her Ronald McDonald Learning Program (RMLP) tutor Leanne, was able to get her daughter’s education back on track and return to the classroom.
Angiemey was just like any other child in her kindergarten class, excited and eager to start big school with her brothers and sisters and of course her friends.
As her first school year began so did the first of Angiemey’s many seizures. In the beginning medication helped but as the year went so did the seizures.
It was in preprimary when Angiemey was diagnosed with Epilepsy and Kidney Cancer. Meaning frequent trips to Perth Children’s Hospital, rounds upon rounds of chemo and countless hours out of the classroom.
As the years went on Sylvia grew increasingly worried about the impact not attending school was having on her once confident and vibrant little girl.
“We knew she needed help, but we didn’t know where to go” Sylvia says.
This was until a visit to her local library and an overheard conversation led her to RMLP.
What makes RMLP unique is that it’s fee free and solely for any school aged child whose education has been disrupted by illness or injury. A psychometric assessment[i] is carried out to identify each new student’s cognitive and academic capabilities and then used to develop a tailored learning plan; helping both students and tutors get the most out of each session.
For RMLP tutor Leanne, the classroom is her happy place and has been for over 38 years. However, in more recent years she swapped the school yard for one-on-one tutoring with RMLP. And it was in 2021 when Angiemey and Leanne began their academic journey together.
The pair’s first few lessons were met with depleted self-confidence and apprehension.
“She’s faced more challenges than other kids, so much more than just not getting the right answer in her math homework.” explains Leanne.
But the more time they spent together coupled with the adaptable learning environment RMLP provides, Angiemey grew more confident and determined.
“Leanne’s approach and style of teaching has made an impact on Angiemey’s self-confidence when it comes to learning; this was a girl who would come up with numerous excuses to avoid doing her homework or studying.
Now Angie has resorted to doing her homework by herself and very rarely asks for help or takes up the offer.” says Sylvia.
After four years of being in and out of school, Angiemey’s psychometric assessment identified her educational priorities were math and literacy. And with NAPLAN testing fast approaching, Leanne developed a program to help Angiemey develop in these areas.
“She went from a place where she was struggling, to a place where she was above the schools average in her results” Syliva boasts.
Not only did Angiemey’s psychometric assessment assist in creating a tailored learning plan by Leanne, it was also used by her school to ensure that integrating back into the classroom was as seamless for her as possible.
With her RMLP journey coming to an end and now in her final year of primary school, Angiemey, despite many setbacks has settled back into the routine of school life thanks to the help of Leanne and RMLP.
RMHC WA, is so much more than home away from home for WA families with sick or injured kids and its programs like RMLP that extend beyond the four walls to help all WA kids whose lives have been disrupted by illness or injury.