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Building relationships with families in Fanau Pasifika Kindergarten

In this short video the teachers talk about how they widened the cultural lens to build strong relationships with families, and support the first languages of the children and their families. 

This video was originally part of a longer video in the "5 out of 5" leadership resource.

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    [Head teacher, Caryll, speaking to camera]

    Caryll Resink: Fanau Pasifika is a newly developed kindergarten and the vision for that was born really for a community need for having a place that Pasifika people could come, bring their children in our community and be engaged with their children’s education. When you’re working with different cultures, there’s not one-size-fits-all. So as a leader, it’s been my job to ensure that the cultural understanding has been widened and one of the very useful things for our team has been developing our philosophy so that there is that shared understanding of the values and the aspirations that the Pasifika families have for their children.

    [Kaiako, Rasela, speaking to camera]

    Rasela Fuauli: We ask the parents to take the ata puna puna home, have a look, they can come back, the feedback from the parents of what they think of the ata puna puna and that learning story that’s happening. Some parents can write it in their own language. Makaleta here can translate into Tongan for the team. It will stay in the portfolio in Samoan or in Tongan but we explain it to the team what it is about.

    [Parent, Sau, speaking to camera]

    Sau Atina: I know Elijah understands a few words in Samoan but he can’t speak it, so they did it in both languages so we can have a better understanding of what he has done at school and what he has learnt. They put in effort for the parents to understand more because I know some of us Samoan parents don’t really understand English so therefore they write it in both languages – English and Samoan.

    [Kaiako, Rasela, speaking to camera]

    Rasela Fuauli: I believe myself, if they are grounded, their foundation will be strong in their own language. I believe English as a second language will be very easy for the children to pick it up as long as they are grounded with that foundation. Here there are children who are immigrants from the islands and they come with a very strong Samoan and Tongan language. So my goal is for them not to lose that language. Yeah, they have to go with that language to school whatever other language that they learn, I believe myself, once that foundation is strong, they will fly.

    [Principal, Rachel King, speaking to camera]

    Rachel King: We value as the first language what the child brings to school. So if they are Samoan, or Tongan, or they’re Māori, then their first language is celebrated both in the kindergarten and into school. So children learn from their first language, we’re not reversing the wheel and trying to make these children all speak English.

    [Head teacher, Caryll, speaking to camera]

    Caryll Resink: One of the personal experiences I’ve had in working with the team to share a vision and philosophy has been about getting parents to come into the centre and be engaged in their children’s education. And for that to happen, it takes a very special way of working. You are encouraging people to come into your space, you’re working with their children in front of them, so it’s not like a drop your child off at school and pick them up at 3 o’clock.

    [Kaiako singing action song with tamariki and parents inside the kindergarten]

    Caryll Resink: You have people that are watching your teaching practice and role modelling really, looking at you as role models as they work with their children, and that takes a little while for teachers to get used to but once people are on board with that, it’s an extremely powerful way for us to become a community of learners.

    [Principal, Rachel King, speaking to camera]

    Rachel King: What they do fantastic is meeting their parents, finding out what the child likes, knowing the culture. So actually, I know that Caryll and the teachers take the time to actually understand the culture so we are learners, we are naturally learning, and we learn from others by listening to them. So Fanau Pasifika is about engaging, really as a huge spectrum, not just about a child, but as a community.

    [Tamariki singing with kaiako, reading a story with kaiako, and outside in a celebration for a birthday with a big cake, kaiako hug parents as they gather altogether]


Ideas to incorporate into your practice

In the video Head Teacher, Caryll Resink, talks about how as a team they developed a vision and philosophy together with families and that this took time.

  • How is your local curriculum responsive to all the families of your service?
  • How do kaiako in your team support first languages?