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Preschool grows on Samoan values

TAO LIN
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014
Samoan Values

EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLE: Staff member Mulufuaina Taulia reads to the children at Samoan immersion early childhood education centre Fetu Taiala Aoga Amata, one of only five early childhood centres profiled for excellent practice in a report by the Education Review Office.

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An ambition to encourage more Samoan children to connect with their culture has seen a Mangere early childhood education centre catch the eye of the Education Review Office.

Fetu Taiala Aoga Amata is a full immersion Samoan language early childhood centre and it was one of only five centres out of 387 nationwide profiled by the ERO in its Priorities for Children's Learning in Early Childhood Services: Good Practice report.

The Government-run organisation reviews and reports on education and care of students in schools.

It selected five early childhood centres based on excellent practices for developing and responding to priorities for children's learning.

Centre manager Lanuola Moe-Penn says Fetu Taiala is founded on strong Samoan values such as respect, love, service and most importantly the Christian faith.

"The delivery of the curriculum is rich and aligns well with our vision which is to maintain our Samoan values and beliefs, so when our children grow up they will develop a sense of belonging and identity in New Zealand.

"It is also about working closely with parents and the community to ensure that their needs and aspirations are being catered for."

She says ERO reports should be understood by all parents and communities as they can help parents make well-informed decisions on enrolling their children.

Mrs Moe-Penn's own inspiration for early childhood education comes from her mother, Vaitavae Moe, who started up Fetu Taiala Aoga Amata and now works on the centre's board.

Mrs Moe was a nurse for 25 years before switching to a career in education.

She studied and worked at the same time to gain her qualification while helping to support her family.

"I had two young children at play group and wanted them to know their language and culture," she says.

"Our language and culture are very precious to us. We want our children to grow up to be confident and competent, to be proud of their heritage and to respect and value themselves and others."

Fetu Taiala Aoga Amata is run by Tava'esina Trust. Go to tavaesinatrust.org.nz for more information.

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- Manukau Courier

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