A bicultural journey…
The kaiako at Kidsfirst Alexandra have been on a journey of greater bicultural understanding that they consider to be the duty of everyone living in Aotearoa.
Several years ago, this was a very different kindergarten.
Times have certainly changed and now there’s a team of teachers who not only embrace tikanga themselves, in so many ways, both personally and professionally, but have also encouraged others to join them, changed their day-to-day practice to better reflect biculturalism and have spread this learning into the local community.
Following a review of their practice throughout 2022, Kidsfirst Alexandra refocused their professional development and kindergarten teaching through a bicultural lens. This change of perspective culminated in a presentation at Me Ako Tonu, our professional development hui.
The kindergarten has also been awarded a Kidsfirst Values Award for their commitment to improving their understanding of te ao Māori, and the ways it can be woven into everyday learning at the kindergarten.
Through authentic partnership with their whānau Māori, the kindergarten was able to strengthen its sense of whanaungatanga and tūhonotanga.
This included whānau’s cultural identity and connection to the local iwi and marae. This knowledge was also strengthened by the sharing of pepeha and mihi.
For tamariki who whakapapa as Māori seeing their culture and language appreciated by their kaiako was, and continues to be affirming, growing their sense of identity and confidence. Their learning now incorporates Māori pūrakau (myths and legends), and the kindergarten’s korowai further connects them to the community.
But this journey didn’t just stay within the kindergarten grounds.
Fellow Kidsfirst kaiako at other kindergartens around Central Otago also benefited from it. They were invited to become part of a kapa haka and waiata group, helping to further embed the learning, and embracing the concept of whakawhanaungatanga through positive collegial relationships.
Every year Kidsfirst Kindergartens celebrate the individuals, kindergartens and teaching teams who have showcased our values in their mahi, with their generosity, hard work and enthusiasm for what we stand for and believe in.