Cultural events build belonging
Did you know that there are more than fifty first-languages identified amongst Kidsfirst tamariki?
That makes our network one of the most culturally diverse places to be most days - and we feel so privileged to have the richness and learning this brings.
One of the ways we embrace diversity across the network is by celebrating significant events from all over the world.
Kidsfirst Phillipstown teacher Bindu Niuk says this helps children develop cultural intelligence and creates a sense of inclusivity for families.
“When we celebrate traditional festivals, it brings out a sense of belonging for the tamariki and families, and helps them feel like they have a place - in the community, in the kindy and in the country.”
Most months in the year bring a special day, week or occasion into focus, and it's a great way to celebrate the multicultural nature of our communities.
Kidsfirst Trengrove’s Munira Sugarwala says the diversity of cultures she sees reflects wider society, now, and in the future.
“It’s what the world looks like - it’s multicultural, it’s diverse, we all do look different and children need to be able to accept that. Within our kindergarten we have some amazing friendships between tamariki who often don’t even speak the same language.”
Tamariki are able to use this opportunity to grow their understanding that everyone is alike, but also different – and it’s important to learn about cultures other than their own.
While we celebrate diversity every day at kindergarten, the many cultural events throughout the year offer great opportunities for tamariki and whānau to share their own traditions.
Chinese New Year is one of the first, and most exciting events of the year for our kindergartens. February 12th marked the beginning of 2021, the Year of the Ox - representing movement and recognising hard work, honesty and positivity.
Kidsfirst Hei Hei had a colourful day of celebrations with live performers, traditional food, costumes and whānau gathering together to share in the fun. A special lunch was prepared by parents, and a spectacular performance was delivered by waist-drummers. Tamariki made drawings and decorated their kindergarten with dragons, eager to learn about the significance of the Lunar New Year.
Over at Kidsfirst Philipstown, there was an equally colourful celebration for Holi, the Festival of Colour, in March. Tamariki celebrated the two-day event, which marks the arrival of Spring in India, by throwing coloured chalk across their backyard at one another (and some unlucky kaiako). They were later joined by whānau and friends for the celebration.
Diwali is another widely celebrated occasion across our kindergartens. “The festival of light” is one of the biggest events on the Hindu calendar, and was a busy time for our kaiako, tamariki and whānau in October last year.
Kidsfirst Lady May had a fantastic Diwali celebration when parents Venkata and Ojasvi came in to draw beautiful rangoli patterns on the playground, paint bindi on foreheads, teach tamariki and kaiako chants and make the traditional dessert “suji ka halwa” (a traditional Indian pudding).
Teacher Anna Johnson says the kindergarten was grateful for the opportunity to celebrate events like these.
“We are very blessed to have such rich cultural experiences at kindergarten, and learn about other traditions.”
At Kidsfirst Philipstown celebrations included lots of colourful clothes, drawings and dancing. Whānau came together with tamariki and kaiako to enjoy a shared lunch, complete with colourful art, authentic indian robes, and music.
Kidsfirst Bromley had some visitors join their Diwali celebrations and tamariki were treated to some traditional henna art. Henna or “Mehendi’ is a colourful decoration for hands and feet that is significant during Diwali, and using arts was a great way for tamariki to learn about the festival.
Diwali celebrations at Kidsfirst Hoon Hay were equally full of light, colour, rangoli, music, dance and food, with whānau and friends coming into the kindergarten to celebrate with tamariki.
Celebrating these events is not only a lot of fun for our kindergartens, but also highlights the diverse communities that make our network so unique.