School to of­fer bilin­gual class


‘‘There are very few chil­dren in Kapiti that are flu­ent speak­ers of te reo.’’

Para­pa­raumu School is start­ing a bilin­gual te reo Maori pri­mary school class, in a bid to re­vi­talise the lan­guage in the dis­trict.

The class will fea­ture the cur­rent New Zealand cur­ricu­lum taught in English, but with a Maori world view. Cur­rently, no class of its kind is of­fered be­tween Paekakariki and Otaki.

Gina Sarich, who would teach the class, said it would in­volve ‘‘be­tween 30 and 50 per cent Maori im­mer­sion’’.

Most class in­ter­ac­tions out­side of the cur­ricu­lum would be in Maori, with a fo­cus on cus­toms such as karakia (prayers), mi­him­ihi (in­tro­duc­tions) and wa­iata (songs).

Sarich said the class would be open to year 0 to 3 stu­dents and would be­gin in term 1 next year.

Stu­dents from other schools will be able to en­rol in the class.

The school is host­ing an in­for­ma­tion evening to gauge in­ter­est next month.

Lo­cal kau­matua, Koro Don Te Maipi, ap­proached the school with the idea about 18 months ago.

The school has a roll of 215, with 62 of Maori de­scent, but Sarich said the class would fill a need around Kapiti too.

‘‘There are very few chil­dren in Kapiti that are flu­ent speak­ers of te reo.

‘‘It’ll pro­vide them a chance to re­con­nect with be­ing Maori.’’

Cur­rently, the only lo­cal op­tions for chil­dren grad­u­at­ing from Te Ko­hanga Reo, a Maori im­mer­sion fa­cil­ity for pre-school chil­dren in Rau­mati South, are pro­grammes in Otaki.

School prin­ci­pal Steven Cald­well said re­search into bilin­gual teach­ing shows it was hav­ing pos­i­tive results.

‘‘One is­sue par­ents have is that one lan­guage suf­fers. That won’t hap­pen.

‘‘If you’re learn­ing two lan­guages in this struc­ture, it en­hances both lan­guages.’’

He said the class would be in­te­grated into ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties and school life like any other.

The pair said in the fu­ture, they hoped to form more classes, or even a whanau hub, to al­low fam­ily mem­bers to learn the lan­guage along­side their chil­dren.

Para­pa­raumu school­teacher Gina Sarich will teach the school’s new English-Te Reo Maori bilin­gual class, be­gin­ning next year

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