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The power of "be and become" questions

Key points

  • Improving communication using plain English
  • Learning about parent aspirations

Kaiako at Big River Educare, are undertaking an internal review of how effectively they encourage whānau involvement in the programme. As part of this, they made a point of viewing Te Whāriki webinars and discussing them as a team.

The webinar “Deciding what matters here” highlighted for kaiako that while their relationships with parents/whānau were very good, these seldom extended to in-depth talk about children’s learning. In particular, kaiako identified that their method of inviting parents' aspirations prior to a planning meeting often left parents feeling stuck for an answer or going along with what the kaiako suggested.

During the webinar, kaiako learned how another service successfully sought parents' aspirations by asking some very specific plain English questions. Inspired by this, Big River Educare kaiako decided to trial their own version of these and placed them in the hallway where parents/whānau pass. Their questions were:

  • What do you value at Big River Educare?
  • What is important for children to know and do?
  • What do you want your children to be and become?

An analysis of the data suggested that overall parents/whānau found these questions easier to answer. It also highlighted that parents/whānau valued dispositional learning, something kaiako had not expected but were pleased to see and support.

Since the hallway survey, kaiako have trialled these same “be and become” questions when talking to individual parents/whānau and developing plans for each child’s learning. Early monitoring of this trial indicates that using these questions is leading to more “learning conversations” with parents/whānau, which in turn is making the curriculum more responsive to children’s life experiences and interests.

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

A child smiling with a toy and parent standing behind.