What is aroha and why is it important to teach children about aroha.

Today I want to talk about the word Aroha.  Aroha has many definitions to it and today I want to explore that and look at why it is important to teach children about aroha for they themselves are aroha too.

Aroha is a very rich word and has many meanings within the Māori world.  So I will create a list of meanings that I can think of.

Aroha  means:

to love

to show empathy

to cry

to be compassionate

to support

to care

to be kind

to show affection

to be peaceful

to nurture

to help

to be respectful

And the list can continue, maybe ask what aroha means to yourself and others and add to the list yourself.

Every day we must teach children aroha,  Why?  Well lets look at that now.

Aroha comes form a feeling within you.  It is a beautiful feeling that makes you feel good about yourself.  Children need to feel good about themselves.  They need to have confidence to go about their day and lives.  They need aroha to support themselves and others through the journey of life. Aroha helps to develop the brain.

An example of aroha.  A child comes to  your centre and cries when their Mum leaves.  You as a teacher will go see the child and comfort him/her and ensure that they feel good and support that child.  This is aroha.  The child is expressing their aroha for their mum through crying and you are expressing aroha through helping the child through this tough time.  Aroha is a two way system a means of communicating with others.

Aroha can be seen through actions words and facial expressions.  A smile is a great way to show aroha.  Laughing and enjoying the company of others expresses aroha.  Crying expresses aroha.

Suggestions for activities re: Aroha.

Why don’t you look at the word aroha with you colleagues, families and the children and see how much the word really means to people in your community.  You could create a giant poster for your wall and add to it daily.

You could ask the children to create pictures of aroha, kindness, how we share etc. and display on the wall.

You can learn songs about aroha in te reo Māori and other languages.  Te Aroha, Love is like a penny, I love you. you are my sunshine, me he manu rere etc.

You can make aroha/friendship bracelets.

There are many books that talk about aroha that you can read and learn more about aroha.  Here are some suggestions:

My Happy Place: A Book of Joy, Aroha and Generosity          Aroha's Way: A children's guide through emotions   Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain

Here are some Maori proverbs about aroha.

E iti noa ana, na te aroha.  A small ordinary thing, begotten by love.  Although the present is small, it is all love has to give.

Aroha mai aroha atu.  Love toward us, love going out from us.

The Raupo Book of Maori ProverbsI got these proverbs from this book ‘The Reed Book of Maori Proverbs’ that you may be interested in getting for yourself.

I hope that you have learnt something about aroha within my post.  Thank you and have a nice day.




The Treaty of Waitangi in early childhood education.

Let’s have a look at The Treaty of Waitangi in early childhood education.  Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  I am going to break this down into several parts as it is a huge topic and I just want to try and simplify it for you as an early childhood teacher.  You would have covered this through your teacher training in more depth treat this as a little revision.

What is the Treaty about?

The Treaty of Waitangi is basically an agreement between Māori Chiefs of  New Zealand in 1840 and the the Crown.  The English agreement was that the Crown could take over the sovereignty of New Zealand and that Māori would keep their lands, fisheries and treasures.  This is not so in the Māori treaty that says Māori did not give up sovereignty.  There was an English written Treaty and a Māori written Treaty. So their is a lot of differences that can be and are argued about today The Treaty is understood differently throughout New Zealand

Why do I need to know about it?

The Treaty of Waitangi is an important part of New Zealand’s history and is the founding document of this country.  It should be understood by New Zealanders and teachers need to know as they have to somehow explain this to future generations.  It is a conversational subject and your perspective is yours but the simplicity of it is that English and Māori have good relations with each other and we understand each others cultures and respect each other.  Ensuring the Maori language and the culture is entwined within your practice  is therefore relevant and you understand that relevance.

How do I implement it in my teaching practice?

How do we teach the treaty to young children?  Respecting both cultures is the most important thing to do.   Incorporating biculturalism into your practice meaning teaching both Māori and English cultures to children.  The languages, histories, ways of living, fashion, etiquette/protocols, values, food, games, etc…

It is not only the Māori culture that you should be concentrating on within your teaching but also the other cultures present within your centre.   Today we have a multicultural society thus these cultures should be present in your curriculum too. All cultures are important and children must learn this.

I know a lot of teachers are worried they have not done enough Māori in their practice but look I can tell you that if you have some knowledge of the Māori values you  will be practicing this every day without even knowing it.  For example do you greet your children and family each day, do you encourage family participation in the centre?  Well this is incoporating a Māori value of whanaungatanga – working together for a shared vision, a sense of family connection, kinship.  I will look at Māori values in future posts.


Here are some good reads that may also assist you.

.Waitangi Day: the New Zealand Story     The Treaty of Waitangi Te Mana O Te Tiriti : The Living Treaty 

  • https://www.hekupu.ac.nz/article/living-treaty-waitangi-through-bicultural-pedagogy-early-childhood  This is a journal article written by Orlene D’Cunha published in He Kupu a free online journal.
  • https://tewhariki.tki.org.nz/en/teaching-strategies-and-resources/local-curriculum-and-tuia-matauranga/   An article about Tuia 250 published in Te Whāriki online.

Dispositions linked to Te Whāriki.

What are Dispositions?

Dispositions are the developing skills and  attitudes and the characteristics of children  and how they are learning.

Within the New Zealand curriculum for early childhood there are five strands.  I  have linked the learning dispositions to the strands.  These are useful for using within your learning stories you write for children.

Mana Atua

Well Being

Learning to have trust

learning to have playfulness

learning to show innovation

learning to participate

learning to be involved

learning to have a go

learning to apply past knowledge

learning to be tolerant

learning to contribute

learning to be kind

learning to share

Mana Whenua


learning to show curiosity

learning to be courageous

learning to be secure

learning to show an interest

learning to devlop friendships

learning to be confident

learning to believe in ones self

learning to value ones own belief

learning to be at peace

learning to have a sense of humour

Manga tangata


Learning to show responsibility

learning to negotiate

learning to be independent

learning to think critically

learning to show empathy

learning to pursue social justice

learning to care

learning to demonstrate flexibility

learning to be respectful

learning to love and be passionate

learning to show mindfulness

learning to manage impulsiveness

learning to strive for accuracy

learning to inspire others

learning to help others

learning to be useful

Mana Reo


learning to show confidence

learning to express ideas

learning to question

learning to consider consequences

learning to listen actively

learning to express and create

learning to be a reader

learning to converse

learning to debate

learning to problem solve

learning to ask questions

learning to be assertive

learning to think and communicate with clarity and precision

learning to display initiative

learning to use technology

Mana Aotūroa


Learning to  take up challenges

learning to show perseverance and persistence

learning to respond to uncertainty

learning to wonder and imagine

learning to develop theories

learning to explore

learning to take risks

learning to problem solve

learning to be resilient

learning to think creatively

learning to research

learning to have determination

learning to gather data through all senses

learning to experiment

learning to be creative

These dispositions are seen within teachers as they work alongside children,  Through my experience i have noticed that in order for children to learn a lot of these dispositions they must also see them within the people that surround them.  Teachers, parents, grand parents, caregivers and siblings engaging with children help these dispositions to develop.  Modelling dispositions through our behaviours is important.







Māori Bread – yummy!

Māori have made their own bread for a long time.  Takakau is the word usually used for bread made with flour and water only.  Today I will give you a Māori flat bread recipie that I have followed with success for many years.


6 cups of flour

6 teaspoons baking powder

500 ml milk

pinch salt


Turn oven on to 200 degrees celcius.

Sift flour and baking powder together.

Add salt.

Lightly mix in the milk.

Turn mixture onto a floured surface and knead lightly.

Flatten with hands or a rolling pin.

Place onto a greased oven tray.

Place in oven for twenty minutes

Once bread is cooked remove from oven and place into a damp teatowel.



This is an easy recipie and is great for children to help make.  Ensure they have clean hands before joining in.