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Te wāhi ki ngā kaiako i te ako i te reo ā-waha

Kaiako responsibilities in oral language

Ka moumou ki te takoto mātaotao ki te pukapuka. Whakahokia mai ki te arero, ka whakamahi ai.

Language is wasted, lying neglected within books. Return it to the tongue, and then use it. 1  

 Kaiako telling story with a tamariki.

"Kaiako are the key resource in any early learning service. Their primary responsibility is to facilitate children’s learning and development through thoughtful and intentional pedagogy" (Te Whāriki, page 59).

Intentional teaching practice cards

Intentional teaching

Intentional pedagogy refers to “teachers’ planful, thoughtful, and purposeful use of knowledge, judgment, and expertise to organise learning experiences for children” in everyday play activities, routines, and transitions.2 The quality of kaiako talk and interactions plays a key role in converting intentional pedagogy into actions.

Intentional teaching includes planning for tamariki to hear and participate in a range of oral language rituals. For example, formal mihi, greetings, karanga, talanoa, humour, debates, planning discussions, and stories.

Talking together, Te kōrerorero supports kaiako to adopt intentional teaching practices. It provides information about how children learn and progress as they become increasingly capable of understanding and using oral language. Knowledge about how children learn and progress helps kaiako to identify teachable moments. It leads to tailored learning experiences that deepen and strengthen children’s oral language learning.

Cultural responsiveness

"Children are more likely to feel at home if they regularly see their own culture, languages, and world views valued in the ECE setting" (Te Whāriki, page 31).


Cultural responsiveness requires kaiako to think about their own beliefs, values, biases, and wellbeing, ensuring these support bilingual and multilingual language learning pathways.

As kaiako learn about the cultures and languages represented in their service, they can initiate and support changes to oral language and literacy practices. This includes promoting the benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism.

Increasing kaiako proficiency in the use of te reo and tikanga Māori helps all children to learn and develop capabilities in te reo and tikanga Māori. 3

Inclusive practice

Inclusive practice recognises that each child is unique, and their development is responsive to a variety of sociocultural, ecological, and biological influences. Reflecting on the connection between children’s communication and the whole picture of a child’s wellbeing and development is important. Making links between children’s communication and behaviour can help kaiako consider appropriate ways to respond to and support oral language learning.

Some children may require more focused or intentional support for their oral language learning. Talking together, Te kōrerorero will help kaiako plan for and support every child to progress. Kaiako have a role in learning how to effectively use a range of technologies with tamariki who have augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. In some cases, kaiako may need to draw on external services of a speech and language therapist or other specialist help. The approaches and practices discussed in Talking together, Te kōrerorero will help support children’s progress towards any individual plan goals related to oral language.

The Ministry of Education resource Much More Than Words provides information on typical communication development and how to make a referral to Learning Support when a whānau and early learning service have some concerns about a child’s communication learning and development.