It is great to have the opportunity to contribute to Ako. I am really pleased that this issue is focussed on language, as it is top of mind for me.
Child of the mist, Tame Iti, says that “history has woven us together. We are the basket, the kete, that holds the future!”
This winter 2019 issue of Ako focusses on community and the different ways it is evidenced within education.
Children do not exist in isolation; their lives are embedded in families, communities and societies. Nested within these communities are the schools and early childhood education (ECE) services children attend.
When my mother and I first arrived in New Zealand, she was 22 and I was four. We didn’t know anyone or anything. We had to learn how to use public transport, ATMs, how to buy groceries and clothes, pay bills – all while learning a whole new language. This was very overwhelming and isolating.
Australia is home to more than 250 distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations – diverse geo-cultural communities, each with their own traditional languages, customs and connections to Country/place.
It is widely acknowledged that engaging whānau and community in educational activities that support the learning of their children is mutually beneficial. It is also acknowledged that this is not always straightforward.
When researching a good kura for our older son, we sought a school with genuine commitment to biculturalism and the environment, a diverse roll with ngā ākonga from a variety of backgrounds, and modern systems for encouraging positive behaviour.
The trouble with “inclusive education” is that it can become a slogan, a mantra, a label for government policy, that imposes extra burdens on teaching professionals.
When we think about diversity, and who we mean when we talk about diverse people, depends a lot on who and what we think of as normal.