The PEFaL project is the model that most closely resembles those offered to Francophone minorities in
Canada. This initiative, which Camilleri et al. (2005) documented between 2001 and 2004, brought together
six European countries (Malta, Italy, Romania, the UK,Belgium and Lithuania). In addition to including the
typical components of a family literacy program, PEFaL incorporates dimensions of interest to practitioners
and managers working in a Canadian Francophone minority setting: the multicultural dimension, the
trans cultural dimension and the linguistic dimension.
The initial aim of the PEFaL project was to reach vulnerable populations that are often marginalized in
their community and that schools and adult education systems have difficulty connecting with. Because its
ultimale goal was to render the parent autonomous as a lifelong learner at home and at school, PEFaL
emphasized the participation of parents and their learning as adults.
Attaining the goals of PEFaL involves accompanying the adults as parents. The program begins a cycle of I self-affirmation that leads to social and economic inclusion and to lifelong learning for the whole family.
The PEFaL model is founded on the literacy practices already present in the home.
PEFaL targets learning for both the adult and the child, which represents the model of the literacy cycle
drawn from the writings of Hannon (2000).This model is based on the premise that children with low
levels of academic literacy skills often have parents with similar levels. Therefore an attempt is made to
reach parents by appealing to their desire to help their child in his learning and development, which will
contribute to the social, cultural and economic integration of the family.Family literacy is therefore seen as
a tool that can help the adult build his basic skills and his social integration.
The innovative aspect of PEFaL: "parent-leaders" - Parents enrolled in the programs who wish to
become recruitment agents and promote the programs share their own experiences in family literacy and
encourage other families to participate. They also support the practitioners in delivering the programs.
In Malta, parent leaders were encouraged to set up "parents in education" workshops in their schools and
communities. Some of them have taken training that prepares them to participate on school boards in their
communities and to manage continuing education projects for parents.
Goals of the PEFaL project
16 For more information on this model, see Camilleri et al. (2005).