|NEW ZEALAND'S EDUCATION
Choosing a reo M?ori early childhood education centre can be a great way to help your kids become M?ori speakers. Depending on the amount of M?ori and English you want, the options include:
K?hanga Reo is a M?ori language wh?nau programme for mokopuna from birth to six years of age. M?ori is spoken all the time and your child will be surrounded by M?ori culture. All k?hanga reo are connected to Te K?hanga Reo National Trust. K?hanga employ kaiako, but wh?nau make the decisions about how k?hanga are run.
Puna k?hungahunga are wh?nau playgroups based on te reo and tikanga M?ori. Programmes run for up to three hours a day, 15 hours a week. They will teach you ways to help your baby learn. You may have to go along with your child and be involved in running the sessions.
These services are often total immersion reo M?ori but are different from Te K?hanga Reo National Trust?s network. Kaiako usually run the group but may need you to be involved. It pays to check first what would be required from you as the parent or caregiver.
You can ask any centre if they have M?ori-speaking staff, whether M?ori language is part of their programme, and if so, how much and how often.
You may also have other bilingual education services available in your community that are run privately. Talk to other parents in your area to find out what?s available.
Once you have found the right place for your child, ask if they have a waiting list and put your name down even if it?s still a while before you want your baby to start. Some parents go on the waiting list as soon as they find out they are hap?!
When it comes to educating our kids, quality matters. Most services will have their own ways for checking that they are doing a good job. The Education Review Office also checks early childhood education centres every four years. You can check out a centre?s latest review report by contacting the Education Review Office.
You are the first and most important language teacher your baby will have. Enrolling your p?pi in a M?ori language programme is a good move, but you?ll need to help too by speaking as much M?ori as you can.
You might be worried about your child not learning English. Being able to use two languages well is better than one but it can sometimes take a little longer. It is important that your child hears and uses good M?ori and English.
You have a right to ask for information about early childhood education services. Centres should be able to answer your questions, so don?t be shy to ask!
To find a centre near you: