New Zealand: Working with Maori extended families
About one in five students in New Zealand’s education system is identified as Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The Parents, Families and Whānau (extended family, in Māori) team was established to work with whānau, which includes parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents, in target communities to help them become actively engaged in their children’s education.
Working with other government and non-government agencies, the PWF team provides whānau with information about the benefits of early childhood education, the roles and responsibilities of whānau and teachers concerning the National Standards (the expected outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics after eight years in compulsory education), how to support literacy and numeracy development at home, what is required to earn the National Certificate of Educational Attainment, the main secondary-school qualification, and the opportunities available through the Youth Guarantee, an initiative to increase the educational achievement of targeted 16- and 17-year-olds by making the education system more responsive to their needs.
The Ministry of Education also promotes the Reading Together programme among whānau. Through this programme, whānau learn the reading strategies that teachers use to teach children how to read and are introduced to literacy resources available in their community. By improving the extended family’s understanding of how children learn to read, they will be in a better position to work in a learning partnership with both their children and their children’s teachers and schools.