Kia ora koutou. 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. As I write, I am transitioning into the role of President after being a teacher at Ross Intermediate. During 2019, I helped lead the development of our local curriculum, and the downside to my new role is that I won’t be there to help with the implementation of it – but I back our team at school. Language became a central concept as we went through our process. We asked all the big questions – what is a curriculum, what should tamariki be learning, what is the role of parents, what is our role in preparing ākonga for high school? – and after all that, we agreed that a local curriculum needs to put ākonga at the centre. By this, we didn’t mean generic ākonga – I’m not sure if those even exist. What we meant is that we had to develop a curriculum to meet the needs of every ākonga we are lucky enough to have come through our door. This required us to start from
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 I was a child, my experience was of little interaction between schools and their communities. Looking back, this seems due to the culture of practice within schools, more than the school gates. In the intervening years, writers like Bronfenbrenner1 have drawn our attention to the complex influences of environments – both immediate and more remote – on development and the value of creating meaningful reciprocal connections between the different groups and settings that children are part of. Today we see attention to the role of communities reflected in our curriculum documents. “Family and Community/Whānau Tangata” is one of the principles of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, along with the expectation that each ECE service will use the curriculum “as a basis for weaving with children, parents and whānau its own local curriculum of valued learning, taking into consideration also the aspirations and learning priorities of hapū, iwi and community”. For kura and schools, Te Marautanga notes that for learners to succeed, the school, the home, hapū, iwi and community
Across the country, teachers report that there are more children with high learning needs and the resources and funding to help these children are over-stretched. Education professionals talk here about how they deliver the curriculum to children with learning needs.