Chil­dren can safe­guard te reo

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - ALASTAIR LYNN

The coun­try’s youngest chil­dren could be the key to en­sur­ing the preser­va­tion of te reo Maori.

But early child­hood teach­ers have not had ac­cess to ef­fec­tive tools to teach the lan­guage. The New Zealand Ter­tiary Col­lege (NZTC), based in Green­lane, has launched a new re­source to pro­mote teach­ing of the Maori lan­guage in early child­hood cen­tres. Te reo Maori: He taonga mo a tatou aims to in­clude the lan­guage in ev­ery­day learn­ing.

Kin­der­care Learn­ing Cen­tre Re­muera di­rec­tor Rozanna Mene says un­til now there has been lit­tle to aide teach­ers.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant that we share the lan­guage in New Zealand with our chil­dren so we can fur­ther de­velop and sup­port bi­cul­tur­al­ism in our cen­tres,’’ she says. ‘‘Chil­dren pick up lan­guage a lot eas­ier in their early child­hood years. If it’s spo­ken here it’s a lot more likely to be used in the fu­ture.’’

NZTC plans to gift a copy of the re­source with a re­searched sup­port plan to ev­ery early child­hood cen­tre in the coun­try.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Se­lena Fox says the Maori lan­guage needs to be wo­ven through­out teach­ing.

‘‘Our stu­dents were ner­vous to try teach­ing and learn­ing te reo so we have es­tab­lished a re­source to sup­port them in the be­gin­ning steps to us­ing the lan­guage in ev­ery­day, prac­ti­cal, real ways.’’

The de­sign of the re­source is the re­sult of a com­pre­hen­sive process span­ning sev­eral years.

Ba­sic words such as num­bers and colours are in­cluded along with sim­ple con­ver­sa­tion.

Mene says teach­ers will now be able to form more com­pre­hen­sive ideas, plans and prac­tices to as­sist learn­ing. ‘‘If we wanted to teach te reo we had to find our own re­sources. This is now all in one place cater­ing for dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions which makes it much eas­ier for teach­ers to use.

‘‘It builds on your ba­sic knowl­edge and ex­tends it just that lit­tle bit fur­ther.

‘‘We are los­ing this lan­guage. It’s im­por­tant to keep it alive and this is one way to en­sure Maori is used more.’’

PHOTO: ALASTAIR LYNN

Kin­der­care Learn­ing Cen­tre Re­muera di­rec­tor Rozanna Mene leads Pippa Smith through the new Maori lan­guage learn­ing re­source.

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