PROFILE: Denise Sheat - Maori Cultural Advisor
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Kidsfirst Kindergartens has welcomed Denise Sheat as our Maori Cultural Advisor.
Born and raised in Canterbury, Denise spent a decade teaching Maori cultural studies and language at the University of Canterbury College of Education.
She also served as a Ngai Tahu representative on their council, along with extended periods as a resource teacher of Maori in both Canterbury and Westland. She has been a part of Taumutu Marae for over 25 years, working as a Runanga (or governing council) and as a Kaikaranga, calling on and welcoming education groups who visit the Marae.
Her mother would watch as she rode for two blocks down the road before disappearing out of sight around the corner. Occasionally she’d stop a few houses down, where she’d be given a lolly by a family friend who would keep an eye out for Denise from her garden.
“It’s funny to think about it now but it was very much a ‘no worries’ attitude about leaving a child to bike to kindy in those days.”
Kindergarten days were ‘heavenly’ for Denise, and she recalls the wonderful story times and creating new and exciting things.
The connection between home and kindergarten was strong as Denise’s mother was very actively involved as a member of the committee and would often be making things to sell to help raise money. As it has always been, kindergarten proved to be a major community hub for the women involved.
“Kidsfirst is on a journey of discovery and really I’m here to help them move forward – and to help them help each other, that’s what it’s all about!”
At Kidsfirst Kindergartens, we build on Te Whāriki - the national early chilhood curriculum to offer our very youngest learners a wonderful experience that combines education and fun.
“Kidsfirst is on a journey of discovery and really I’m here to help them move forward – and to help them help each other - that’s what it’s all about!”
KIDSFIRST KINDERGARTENS ARE A NOT FOR PROFIT ASSOCIATION THAT HAS DEVELOPED AND MAINTAINED KINDERGARTENS IN CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY AND ON THE WEST COAST FOR OVER 100 YEARS - AS THE PLACE LOCAL KIDS COME TO LEARN, PLAY AND HAVE FUN.