Ko te Tamaiti te Pūtake o te Kaupapa. The Child – the Heart of the Matter
Carol Marks, Professional Learning Facilitator, Educational Leadership Project, New Zealand
Thursday 8 February 2018
Today when I visited a centre where children from mixed ages were able to play together I reflected on the joy of two brothers who were able to be together when they wanted to be and the teina had the emotional support of knowing his ‘big bro’ was there and the tuakana was happy to see his brother content. Good for the soul, for their wairua and mauri. Comforting for the whanau as well. I was reminded of my own grandchildren several years ago attending childcare. Their Mum who is Maori, and myself both wanted the same thing, to have all three siblings being able to be together, the youngest was a baby and the oldest would have been just over three years old. The distress that would have been felt by any one of these children if they had been apart was something we wouldn’t accept. We found a centre where children could mix from birth to school age and the values had been thought through deeply by Management and kaiako.
Keeping siblings together is an example of whanaungatanga or connectedness and Manaakitanga: Caring, sharing, displaying kindness, supporting others, ‘being a friend’ and reflect aroha in it’s true sense and as we weave Our Standards through our practice and our appraisal we can explore deeply and widely our assumptions and beliefs about practice. When we think about sociocultural practice where children learn within their families and community they are not separated so in centres where age groups are separated is there allowances made for when a child needs comfort from a sibling?