Embracing different cultures

A story from Maungaraki Kindergarten

Earlier in the week it was a heartfelt encounter when a child dancing with a scarf, wrapped it around their head and likened themselves to Amal “I look like Amal.” The value and learning that has come as a result of this experience has been very meaningful following our priorities for learning to promote cultural value, celebrating and welcoming diversity in our kindergarten community.

Amal’s Mum, Natasha kindly offered to visit this morning and share with us their culture as Muslim from Malaysia. We opened our hui with the song Tutira Mai Nga Iwi, symbolising, as the song suggests, cultures uniting together.

Natasha read the story “Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns” where each page explores a colour and relevant Islam tradition and deen (way of life) including a red prayer mat, green hijab and brown dates just to name a few. Natasha brought along her items from the story allowing the children to have a hands on experience and explore the culture for themselves.

Following the story and trying on Hijabs we settled for morning tea where we tried some yummy dates. Whilst eating we listened to the song Kia Ora which celebrates how we welcome many different cultures here in New Zealand, just as we do here at Maungaraki kindergarten.

Thanks to Natasha for sharing her culture with us. This allows tamariki the opportunity to experience the stories and symbols of their own and other cultures and in doing so there are equitable opportunities for play and learning, irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity or background, celebrating, embracing and normalising “different”.

Anna Stratford, Head Teacher at Maungariki Kindergarten