Bicultural perspectives and teaching tamariki te reo Māori

Issue: Volume 97, Number 20

Posted: 12 November 2018
Reference #: 1H9o1c

Waverley Kindergarten is focusing on including bicultural perspectives in their practice to better teach tamariki and whānau the taonga of te reo Māori.

Through an internal evaluation, kaiako at Waverley Kindergarten explored how effectively they used te reo Māori as a living language in their service.

Their interest in bicultural perspectives was piqued by a desire to utilise the knowledge of a teacher who had recently completed an in-depth te reo Māori course and by the centre’s participation in the Enviroschools programme.

Head Teacher Sheree Condon says using te reo Māori as a living language is a big part of the centre’s bioecological and Kaupapa Māori philosophy.

“Te reo Māori as a living language is something that you should see and hear on a daily basis at our kindergarten. Everybody is using it and everybody is feeling comfortable to use it. It helps to work in partnership with our whānau – it encourages them to use te reo Māori at home to extend on the children’s knowledge so that it’s a natural part of their day.”

Waiata and visual aids key to learning

By surveying tamariki and asking whānau about their knowledge of te reo Māori, the team identified waiata as an integral learning tool for tamariki. They found it helped tamariki to understand better if they could relate words to songs they had learnt. Tamariki were also more likely to know the meaning of te reo Māori words if they were linked into the context of other learning.

The centre supports learning by making visual aids to help tamariki relate te reo Māori words to their meanings. Monthly meetings are also held to learn new te reo Māori words and discuss how they could be included in documentation.

Staff speak with tamariki and whānau who identify as Māori about their aspirations. Whānau are also kept in the loop through a weekly newsletter that discusses curriculum and how family can help incorporate contextual te reo Māori into their child’s learning.

“For instance, earlier this year we were finding out about the moana, the sea, so then we let parents know what some of the key words we were using in te reo Māori were so they could back up that learning at home,” says Sheree.

Teaching and learning te reo Māori is important because it relates to the bicultural framing of Te Whāriki and the vision that all children will grow up strong in their identity, language and culture.

“Not only is it a requirement through our curriculum, but also we are very passionate about ensuring that biculturalism is celebrated here at our kindergarten,” she says.

“We want our children to know that it’s really important for them to know about their heritage.”

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:59 am, 12 November 2018

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