Children can safeguard te reo
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.’’
Kindercare Learning Centre Remuera director Rozanna Mene leads Pippa Smith through the new Maori language learning resource.