Connect : Connect November 2011
Toys were based on photographs from a catalogue but with a Solomon Islands twist, such as brightly painted tropical fsh and local vegetables. In August, sample toys were showcased at a 'Pikinini Fun Day' at the YWCA, which also doubled as a fundraiser with sausage sizzle and an auction during which four of the picture books were sold. Alessandra has completed her assignment and returned to Australia, but has since travelled back to Solomon Islands to further the production of the picture books and toys. She has sought further support from local businesses, charities and private donors to publish more copies of 'Kekero and Kwadu'. Sales of a limited number of copies to the expat community in Solomon Islands is expected to cover publication and distribution costs so the book can be made accessible to young children throughout the country. Meanwhile, Selwyn is photographing the wooden toys for a manual that will guide others in how to make them. He is also organizing a toy making workshop through the Solomon Islands Artists Association. Alessandra says that both the manual and workshops could assist carvers across Solomon Islands to produce toys that could then be purchased by other kindergartens or sold to the public. "I think people need to jump onboard with the idea that pre- school education is important and recognise that toys do help children's' learning. "What does a puzzle teach you? It teaches you critical thinking skills, putting things together and what goes where. When stacking toys, you learn to count. "Also, reading a story as opposed to just telling a story introduces children to literacy because they become aware that words can be written as well as spoken."
Connect March 2012