21 Jan 2014

Child safety at kohanga criticised

7:08 am on 21 January 2014

An audit has highlighted significant safety, supervision, care and protection flaws at a Maori language pre-school in Taranaki.

The Education Review Office (ERO) audited Te Kohanga Reo o Manaia and found there had been whanau disputes in front of children, that pupils were managing to reach the road outside without adults noticing and that there was poor use of high chairs to control and restrain the youngsters.

Its two full-time kaimahi [staff] were overwhelmed with managing the diverse learning needs of tamariki [children], it found.

Whanau had been told to develop effective management and leadership of the kohanga reo, and ERO had raised its concerns with the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust district office.

The report did give the pre-school some credit, saying it was next to the local marae, which supported the children's learning and development.

As well, the children had chances to share their pepeha, or tribal proverbs, with one another, and tikanga and kawa, or protocol, were reinforced through formal opportunities for children to learn on the marae.

Te Kohanga Reo o Manaia could not be reached for comment.