I am UK trained and began teaching in NZ 5 years ago. I speak some Welsh after growing up in Wales, so appreciate the need to support a language that has the potential to disappear if it is not used.

I am very much in the basics stage of learning Te Reo myself and languages do not come easily to me, I lack some confidence in this area. So I am pushing myself to learn alongside my students (so the fact I have a New Entrant class is very appropriate!). In this post, I am going to start logging my own Te Reo journey and what I’m doing in class with my little ones.

A couple of my NEs have more Te Reo than I do, so an important start place is to build an understanding that we are all learning this and I enjoy learning from them. Here is a list of things we do daily/weekly in class:

  • Greetings/farewells – I greet them each morning with ‘Tena koutou tamariki ma’ and they respond with ‘Tena koe’. We say ‘kia ora’ during the roll, and at the end of the day we say ‘Ka kite ano’.
  • We say a karakia at the end of the day (we have one for the start of the day too, but I forget this most days with all the business at the start!).
  • numbers for our daily calendar – I can now count beyond 10 in Te Reo and the students are learning to count to 10 and beyond.
  • colours – we play a colour game where I call out a colour in Te Reo and they have to point to it (or stand on it on the tiger turf). I want to make a colour bingo set to add another game to this.
  • body parts – we play a game to learn the names of different body parts (head, shoulders, ears, nose, mouth).
  • commands – we use e noho, e tu, titiro mai, whakarango mai, haere mae, haere atu.

Next steps/thoughts:

I would like to sing more waiata in class. The children sing songs in kapa haka and assembly, but I don’t know them very well myself yet. If we sang them in class too, it would benefit us all.

Focus for Term 2 is the classroom, so we will gradually label different aspects of the classroom each day, turning it into a game. The important thing for me is to ensure I am truly learning alongside the students – I must make sure I am working to remember the new vocabulary too (e.g. as opposed to reading off a sheet each time!).