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.
- 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.