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Making te reo Māori more visible in your environment and keeping it authentic.

Updated: May 26, 2023

If you have read past blogs then you will know that I use Māori Language week to set personal goals around te reo Māori and or Te Ao Māori. Please note you will find affiliate links in this blog.

This year I realised that I need to have more physical items in the environment to support me using te reo Māori but also to make it more visible.

As you all know by now I love story baskets and so my first step was to create some. I used what I had but was also thrilled to find so many favourite books now translated into te reo Māori. I also realised that I need to budget and that a new goal is that I will spend that budget a week or two before Māori language week to have new resources available in the week and then continue to use throughout the year.

So, where to start!?

I decided I would start this year with familiar books. The first story basket I did was where is green sheep. I had both books available for less confident Kaiako to start with and then just had the te reo Māori one with the basket after a week. This book is at a moderate to beginners level as the sentences and kupu are repeated.

I then went on to try ‘we’re going on a bear hunt’ and I soon found this was at a moderate to high level and struggled a little with the triple vowels. The story basket was popular and didn’t hinder the tamariki engaging with it. I made story disks with stickers from a book rather than story spoons.

The next three baskets are for the absolute beginner as they te reo Māori is scaffolded with a CD in English and te reo Maori in the book (and on CD). A bonus is that children love the books and catchy tunes. They are Twinkle, twinkle Matariki: Tane Mahuta has a forest and Row, row your waka.

I was lucky to find an out of print book and put together a story basket for it. It is a great hands-on way to learn about making a sandwich, he hanawiti.

All the above are books I have collected in recent years but now there are so many more on offer.

I have spent some time looking at available stories I don't have and these are the ones on my list to buy. I have had a basket for the wheels on the bus Aotearoa and will buy Nga Wira o te Pahi (The Wheels on the Bus Te Reo Maori edition I see that there is also Old MacDonald had a farm too Te Pamu o Koro Meketanara (Old Macdonald's Farm Maori edition).

I am always working on story baskets and this is my latest one the kiwi go marching one by one as it is bilingual and the children are loving CD's at the moment.

Here are some other books I want to check out Te Poti Ro Potae: Cat in the Hat (Maori Language), Kei Hea a Spot?, Hairy Maclary No Te Teri A Tanarahana, If you are a kiwi and you know it and Mahiara (Roadworks Maori Version). I often get them from the library first to see what the children think of them and to see what level they are at for te reo Māori.

OK so all the above is if you have a budget but what if you don’t?

Little to no budget solution.

Make your own. I have been lucky to see many DIY pukapuka over the years, my own, pre-service teachers and teachers in a variety of early childhood settings. Making your own is great way to get resources with no budget but not for the time poor as they do take time.

There are a variety of ways you can make them and here are some examples. If you can get your team on board and each teacher makes a pukapuka then depending on the size of your team you could have from 1 to 13 more pukapuka to use.

Here is a recent book by Katie Bloomfield. Her book transformed over time from being bound book to including Velcro dot animals make it more hands on and match them, to using the animals on a felt board. 3 resources in 1, very clever!

I have done ‘cards’ which is an unbound book as there are actions that can be done and children can take them around the setting and do them. The beauty of this is that the pukapuka is photographed in their setting and the child or children in it.

The last two books have been made by Kat Anderson. The first is the colour song ngā tae with a soft binding and small hand size for children. The next is bound with rings and these are easier to add to or remove pages. This is a counting pukapuka and Kat did the illustrations.

All these pukapuka are laminated for durability but if you want and alternative then using felt, material or wood are possibilities. Here is another Kat creation with farm animals in a touch and feel book for infants.

Making te reo Māori visible can be done in many ways, on different budgets and in other areas like maths, dramatic play and the outdoor environment. Which will it be next year?

Until next time.


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