Can you rock te reo Māori like a 3 year old?
It happens to the best of us - that moment we realise our children are teaching us, instead of the other way around. It can happen in so many ways, and these days, it’s as likely as not to be te reo Māori.
The concept of ako (learning) in te ao Māori speaks to educators learning from students and whānau, just as much as students learn from them. It’s an important cornerstone to the way Kidsfirst teachers go about their work with tamariki. It’s also in play when your little one comes home from kindy with a te reo phrase that’s new to you.
There’s a strong push to bring more te reo Māori - and the concepts behind it - into children’s everyday life. It’s a big part of Te Whāriki, the early-childhood education curriculum, and at our kindergartens and early learning centres, the commitment runs deep. Many more New Zealanders are waking up to the beauty of the language and the vital place it has not only in history, but in Aotearoa, New Zealand today.
We are all the richer for being more closely connected to Māori culture.
The preschool years are a great time to be steeping our children in te reo Māori - children soak up languages at this age, so acquiring new kupu (words) and phrases, along with expanding their English vocabulary, is much easier than it is in later years.
Learning a second language at this age also helps your child’s brain development
and makes it easier to learn other languages later on.
Kidsfirst children are encouraged to build on, their te reo skills from the moment they walk in the door, we take every opportunity to celebrate key cultural events like Matariki all across the Kidsfirst network!
So how can you keep up with the budding te reo Māori speaker in your life?
There are some great resources available online and via mobile apps, but help and inspiration are closer to home, thanks to two passionate Kiwis who also happen to be Mainlanders.
TV and radio broadcaster Stacey Morrison is something of a household name, and she’s using her profile to spread the word encouraging more Kiwis to give te reo a go. She’s a regular on National Radio, and together with her husband has written a book to support the average Kiwi household using more te reo into their days.
Stacey has some practical advice on how to work on your te reo as a family and some tips on giving it a go no matter where you are on your journey.
Christchurch families can get their te reo fix along with their takeaways: Kidsfirst dad, Anton Matthews, owns New Zealand’s first bilingual fish and chip shop, Fush. Their menu is written in te reo Māori and English, with only smiling faces cheering on anyone giving te reo a go.