Thelma Chapman, Awhi Whanau Early Childhood Centre (Auckland) - Carew Is My Cousin, and A Practice at Home
"Tena koutou katoa, Ko Thelma Chapman taku ingoa.
I am passionate about teaching and learning. I have a BEd, a Dip Tchg (Primary) and Dip ECEd and have been involved in education for over 40 years. I have a particular passion for Maori education, as my husband is Maori and we have 4 children and 8 grandchildren who share in a Maori heritage.
I believe that relationships are key in order for teaching and learning to be effective. I love seeing potential being unleashed as new understandings occur, the joy and sheer delight on children’s faces in achieving and the quiet satisfaction in knowing that new “heights” have been gained even though it was a struggle.
I currently share 2 jobs. I am the Kaihautu at Awhi Whanau Early Childhood Centre which I co-founded in 2006 and am the National Co-ordinator for Christian Early Childhood Association of Aotearoa, (CECEAA). In my spare time I speak & give presentations and in my spare, spare time I try to indulge in being creative with my craftwork."
Lynn Rupe (ELP) shares her reflections after attending Thelma's workshop Stories that Reveal a Glimpse of Who I Am at the Celebrating Learnig Stories conference:
"Thelma reminded us all of the importance of allowing children to ask questions about matters such as life and death. Thelma shared her own families' personal journey of loss and the questions this raised for her family. It was through these times that the children learnt about making sense of the real world and the cultural practices/permissions around tangi.
From the anecdotes that Thelma shared we could see how children made connections to family through the stories of family members' past and relationships with those in the present. Acknowledging and valuing of children’s whakapapa gives everyone a deeper sense of belonging. Thelma reminded us all of the importance of whanaungatanga - how children all connect to family in the past and the present and this means that they bring with them funds of knowledge that shape them as learners.
Sir Ken Robinson talks about culture as a set of ‘permissions’. We set the stage for the cultural permissions within our settings - permissions that will allow children to express, question and talk about deep emotional/spiritual events in their lives."