Burmese women get qual­i­fied

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al­ready signed up for this year’s pro­gramme, but Bar­rett said there was still room for more.

‘‘We should be do­ing what we can to give kids pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences.’’

The fa­ther of one said Shoe­box Christ­mas was an ideal way for par­ents to en­cour­age their chil- dren to do some­thing for some­one else.

‘‘There’s no guide­lines, but re­mem­ber it’s for a kid to open on what’s meant to be the hap­pi­est day of the year.’’ Eight Burmese women grad­u­ated from a home-based ed­u­ca­tors’ course in Porirua last month and are about to start work, car­ing and ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren in their own homes.

Care­giver and mother of two, Dawt Hlei Fung, said she was grate­ful to be given the chance to study. ‘‘I am so ex­cited and so pleased – very happy.’’

Dawt worked as a li­brar­ian in her own coun­try, and had stud­ied for three years to get a li­brary qual­i­fi­ca­tion, but it was a step up to study in English.

Another of the grad­u­ates, Hkawn Mai, who had three chil­dren and was ex­pect­ing another, said she would keep work­ing to im­prove her English and be­come a good ed­u­ca­tor.

‘‘I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate this chance, which has given me wis­dom to work with chil­dren.’’

Hkawn Mai worked with young chil­dren in Myan­mar, but said the sys­tem was dif­fer­ent here, be­cause chil­dren had more free­dom, were given more praise and not forced into learning.

The women were part of the Etu Ao home-based net­work run by Whanau Manaaki Kin­der­gartens. Most of the home ed­u­ca­tors are in­for­mal car­ers for fam­ily or friends who then take the next step by train­ing.

The chil­dren fol­low a pro­gramme based on the early child­hood cur­ricu­lum Te Whariki, and are su­per­vised by vis­it­ing teach­ers and at­tend a play­group.

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