Meet the original Literacy Adventurer

Danielle Steendam

Truly an adventurer in life and work, Danielle has always been one to take an unconventional path.

A fully qualified and experienced teacher with an affinity for early childhood teaching, Danielle found herself increasingly frustrated about the disconnected way that literacy skills were being taught, particularly in the formative years when foundational skills significant to the development of fine motor control and therefore, handwriting,  were all but overlooked.

Her biggest concern? The way these teaching methods impacted on children. Presenting as an inability to perform basic writing tasks such as ‘writing their own name’ or remembering how to correctly write simple spelling words, she realised many children were expected to demonstrate positive literacy outcomes when they did not have the skills required to succeed in these tasks.     The result – children’s efforts  were often incorrectly judged by parents and teachers and children were learning all too quickly that they were not successful in their own literacy pursuits!

Compelled by a personal quest to find a better way, Danielle happened upon Barbara Brann, the creator of ‘Casey the Caterpillar Handwriting Process’ and the ‘Magic Caterpillar’s Building Blocks to Literacy’. Discovering Barbara Brann, these tools, and understanding how they all fit together, helped Danielle realise just how big the gap is between what works and what doesn’t.

This realisation was followed by nearly two years of self-funded learning and development, whereby Danielle ‘shadowed’ Barbara as she delivered professional development training, both in workshop and classroom settings. This experience galvanised her view there is a better way and it had to be shared widely and made accessible to others.

With a firm resolve underpinned by her inspired purpose to bring wisdom and sense back to the teaching and learning of literacy skills, Danielle created Literacy Adventure. Through an online shop, delivery of professional development training, and intelligent guidance provided to school decision makers, Literacy Adventure is

Re-connection and fun. It’s at the heart of what we do.

An engaging communicator available to speak at educational conferences and for teacher professional development and school literacy program assessment and planning, Danielle welcomes enquiries from teachers working in formal and home school environments, as well as from key school decision makers.

Talk to Danielle

“My own experiences as a parent and then as an early childhood teacher have shaped my view that we need to reflect on the ways we’re teaching important early literacy skills. It is not enough to have another program that delivers more knowledge, that tells us ‘what’ to do and ‘when’ to do it.Rather, we need to know why we’re teaching skills in a particular way. This requires wisdom to understand the skills children require to be successful and deliver those skills in an accessible way to meet individual needs. It is only possible by accessing the right framework and resources, and by empowering teachers to integrate these into their work. When we make literacy accessible this way, the potential is for teachers to reconnect with their own purpose for teaching. They’re also better positioned to make vital literacy connections for their students.”