This week I was thinking about the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi : protection, participation, and partnership. I wanted to take some time to think about what applying these principles would look like in my practice.
Protection: I think that in my practice the principle of protection looks like not discriminating in any way against children/staff/parents and whanau of Maori or any other descent. It means having high expectations for Maori learners, that ensure that they will succeed academically, as this benefits their family and community in the long run. It means upholding tikanga practices and respecting Maori ways of being. I think it means continuing to use Maori language, so that the language does not become extinct. I think it means respecting the land and not abusing it, keeping in mind that we as Europeans are manuhiri, and that the Maori are tangata whenua- we should respect them and their tino rangatiratanga over Aotearoa by being respectful and treating the land well, just like we would be respectful of other people's possessions if we were experiencing someone's hospitality in their home.
Participation: I think that in my practice the principle of participation looks like everyone being involved in using Maori language, and taking part in Maori waiata and games. I believe that taking part in tikanga and kaupapa Maori is beneficial for all children, staff, parents, and whanau, regardless of their cultural heritage. This is consistent with Te Whaariki, which informs us that "curriculum in early childhood settings should promote te reo and ngā tikanga Māori, making them visible and affirming their value for children from all cultural backgrounds. "
Partnership: I think that in my practice the principle of partnership looks like parents and teachers working together collaboratively, sharing knowledge and strategies that will lead to the best outcomes for children. I think it means involving the local community, iwi, and kaumatua in our centre life, such as inviting them to our centre events. I think it also means teachers partnering with children, empowering children to take responsibility for their own learning. Finally, I think it means teachers working together as a team, with everyone contributing their strengths, to provide the best learning and environment possible for the children.
Some of these things I already do (such as singing Maori waiata with all the children at mat time), but I want to carry more of an awareness within myself about why I do these things- keeping the principles of Te Tiriti in mind as I work with the children during the day. I think that mindfulness about why we follow tikanga and practice partnership shows that Maoritanga is important to us, and that we respect it.
I will continue to uphold the principles of Te Tiriti in my practice. I will also share my thoughts from today's reflection on my blog and on a facebook early childhood page, and welcome discussion, feedback, and any articles they might like to share with me. In this way, I can actively contribute to the professionial learning comunity by sharing my knowledge and understanding, and also gain new knowledge, understanding, and feedback from other members of the learning community. I can then read and respond to their comments and/or articles. (I can take a screen shot of this in a week or so, to give time for people to respond, as evidence, and I can take copies of the articles and highlight/comment on them and put them in my portfolio).
Links to Registered Teachers Criteria: