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A place for home visits

Key points

  • Value of home visits
  • Prioritising relationships for learning

Tamariki playing the drums at a centre.

In a TLRI project, teacher-researchers adopted a funds of knowledge lens to analyse children’s interests and inquiries. One teacher reported visiting Hunter, a New Zealand-born child with dual Pasifika heritages, Cook Island and Samoan, and his family at their home.

At the visit she found out that Hunter lived with his mum and dad, his 9-year-old sister, and his two aunties, who are 11 year-old twins. Before the visit, due to Hunter’s dual heritages, the teacher had assumed that three languages would be spoken in the home. On the visit, however, she learnt that English is the main language spoken due to the parents’ belief that English was the best language to speak for a good education. It is only now that they are reviving some of their home languages and encouraging Hunter to learn these.

The teacher and parents discussed and increased their knowledge of Hunter’s interest in music, especially drumming. The funds of knowledge lens revealed that this capability and interest in music stemmed from music being a significant part of Hunter’s family and community life, particularly their church experiences. Hunter’s parents were so delighted that the centre had noticed and understood the significance of this interest that they bought Hunter a set of drums to play at home.

The teacher believes that “invisible barriers” were broken down by this visit. Although Hunter’s older sister had attended the same centre, his mother had come into the centre with her head down and would rarely communicate with teachers. Following the home visit however, the teacher noticed how much the mother’s demeanour had changed. She now smiled and communicated freely with all teachers. The visit highlighted the importance of home visits for counteracting assumptions and transforming relationships.


Hedges, H., & Cooper, M. (2014). Inquiring minds, meaningful responses: Children’s interests, inquiries and working theories. Final report to Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. Wellington: NZCER.

This story of practice is from the Parents and whānau page.