This blog post is written by Kelly Ann, Senior teacher at Te Whare Whai Hua in Gisborne, New Zealand.
Our early learning centre is located on a local high school premises, and we were established alongside a Teen Parent Unit to care for their young pepi (babies) as they continue their educational journey at a secondary level. As time progressed we managed to expand our building facilities which meant we could open our services to our local community.
We believe that Te Whare Whai Hua has a two-fold task:
- To provide a friendly support base for young parents as they pursue their education and life journey. The values of aroha (love), manaaki (support) and whanaungatanga (kinship) are deeply embedded into our way of life here.
- We believe that our tamariki (children) are uniquely special and aim to provide quality education and care to all those in our whānau (extended family).
It has been a huge challenge to ensure that we were able to implement these tasks to the highest quality levels. Surveys revealed that our parents were more likely to read a learning story or share comments on social networks as opposed to the templates we provided them here at the centre. We reviewed our practice and decided that e-portfolios could assist our kaupapa (purpose).
We have previously struggled to implement Te Whatu Pokeka: Kaupapa Maori Assessment into our assessment programme. But with Storypark we have used the Te Whatu Pokeka learning tags to document, highlight and celebrate our tamariki’s participation in our local kapa haka festival. We were able to share this journey online with our entire whānau (extended family), and use these learning tags to link our children’s characteristics of confidence, leadership, pride, inner strength, sharing of knowledge, working through difficulties, whanaungatanga (kinship), whakapapa (genealogy/lineage), exploration, risk taking, displaying their cheekiness and having fun.
As Maori these are what we value as a culture and understand that these are real characteristics our tamariki display through their personalities and play, and that they have been handed down to our tamariki through our Atua (ancestors), Maui-Tikitiki a Taranga.”
Storypark provides exactly what we were looking for as an e-portfolio service. Its aesthetics ensure that our tamariki were highlighted and celebrated as the websites colour scheme is not over powering. The Apps are accessible and friendly. The support from the Storypark staff is of a high quality standard – it’s a real collaborative service.