Victory Primary School grandmas Jean Higgins and Nola Stanton (centre) have knitted mittens for the junior class they read with every Tuesday. Photo: Kate Russell.

Mittens for Victory kids

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Every Tuesday morning, a junior classroom at Victory Primary School has two special visitors.

They come and listen to the children practice their reading, and recently knitted each child in the class a pair of mittens.

They are the much-loved school grandmas, Jean Higgins and Nola Stanton. The two friends began volunteering at the school seven years ago, when Jean’s granddaughter started teaching there.

“We love it,” says Jean. “The children are always so keen to read all the time and we enjoy seeing their progress.”

But a few months ago, Nola was house-ridden with a leg injury and couldn’t make her weekly visits.

So, she decided to help in another way.

“I thought that I could knit some mittens for the children. Just a nice little something to keep their hands warm. It gave me something to fill in the time, too,” says Nola.

Nola knitted a total of 24 pairs of mittens and Jean helped to sew them up.

“The children were very excited, and they all got to choose their own colour,” she says.

Teacher Jane Lawson says out of the 22 children in the class, 14 are ESOL (English as a second language) students.

“Some of the children don’t have their extended family here, including grandparents, so it’s a really positive experience for them,” she says.

“It’s also engaging the community and teaching children to relate to different ages. And they love the mittens – some of the children have worn them every day.”