14 May 2012

'Tough' for pre-schools to adopt Maori culture

6:31 am on 14 May 2012

The body representing some Maori language pre-schools says their mainstream equivalents face a tough job trying to fully embrace Maori culture.

Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board is commenting on an Education Review Office report which has found pre-schools needs to considerably improve the way they work with whanau.

It states Maori are not acknowledged in a way that promotes their unique place as tangata whenua.

The Trust Board says it is very hard to look at one culture and apply it to another, such as the mainstream centres adopting kaupapa Maori (Maori philosophy).

Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board co-chair Tina Olsen-Ratana says Maori pre-schools have a similar struggle absorbing Western principles.

She says there has a been a long-running argument over the cultural context that kohanga has been forced in to and the impact that has had on an indigenous model such as Maori pre-schools.

Tina Olsen-Ratana says there is much the early childhood education sector could learn from kohanga reo, but says the mainstream centres cannot be kohanga reo.