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Riariakina ō rongo hirikapo: Transitioning from kōhanga reo to kura

The University of Waikato researchers: Margie Hohepa (principal investigator), Vanessa Paki and Sally Peters;
Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka researchers: Tere Gilbert (tumuaki), Tirau Anderson and Te Manu Pohatu (kaiako-researchers)
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tōku Māpihi Maurea researchers: Laura Hawksworth (tumuaki) and Doris Anne Olliver (kaiako-researcher)

Project Dates: 2014 - 2016

Partnerships: Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tōku Māpihi Maurea

Transitioning from kohangaKo te kaupapa tonu, ko te whakatupu i te mahara o te hirikapo kia tiu ai ki te muri, arā, kia puta he whakaaro i pokepokengia nō roto tonu i ngā whakahekenga kāwai o ngā tūpuna o te tamaiti, kua maranga te wā e kaumātua haere ana te tamaiti, ngōna kanohi kua huaki, ngōna taringa kua pīkari, ngā whakaaro kua korikori, tōna wairua hīkaka kua ngawhā, ngērā kaupapa katoa o te tamaiti i taua wā o te tupu. Mā tēnei kōrero hoki hei kawe te taonga o te rongo hirikapo, arā, ngā whakaaro, ngā mahara, nāna ko te waha, nā te waha ko te kupu kōrero e makere iho ai i te ārero tarapepe. MORE >>

Heoi anō he tohutohu anō kei roto e kī ana, manaakingia ngā kai o te hirikapo o te tamaiti, he taonga. Ki te kore e tika te manaakingia e ngā mātua, tērā te wā ka ātitirauhea i te puāwaitanga o te rau. Ngērā kaupapa katoa.

This is a collaborative cross-sector research project involving kōhanga, kura and university researchers. It focuses on tamariki moving from kōhanga reo to kura classrooms and will examine the development of an 'akoranga whakawhiti', a transition programme that will be based at Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka in Hamilton.

The overarching research question for this project is: Pehea rā te āhuatanga me te kounga o ngā whakawhitinga mai i te kōhanga ki te kura mō ngā tamariki, whānau, kaiako me te hāpori? - What do effective transitions from kōhanga to kura look like, feel like, and sound like, for tamariki, whānau, kaiako and the community?

One of the new significant findings from the project pertains to sharing kōhanga reo learning information with kura, which has led to changes in uiuinga urunga ā kura (enrolment interview) processes and experience.

What changed?

There have been additions to our team including Kōhanga researchers Kara Sikisini, acting tumuaki Teina Hakaraia and new head teacher, Whare o Tōku Whakakai Marihi. Overall, our research activities have remained as initially planned.

Project highlights

Project highlights have included development and strengthening of relationships between kōhanga, kura and the faculty, our presentation at AERA and the consolidation of transition practices.

What was unexpected?

The changes in staffing at kōhanga provided a challenge for the project team.

What were the final findings?

Findings from this project reinforce that what has been learned thus far from national and international research on transition in the early years has relevance to, and resonates with, journeys in kaupapa Māori education. However, movement between kaupapa Māori early childhood and primary settings brings with it unique educational, cultural and linguistic imperatives and aspirations. Rather than conceptualising the journey of tamariki and whānau from kōhanga to kura as ‘transition', it might be better understood in terms of its significance to the ongoing growth, development, and evolution of a shared kaupapa.

Particularly evident in this project are the longstanding relationships across the kōhanga and the kura that, together, initiated this project. Also evident are expectations that relationships and accompanying roles and responsibilities do not disappear when tamariki move from the kōhanga to the kura. The importance of pōwhiri is but one example of how ongoing relationships might be nurtured. How ‘transition' is approached in such settings affects how well the continuation of these relationships is supported. The project also helped to highlight alignments and synergies between Te Whāriki and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa curricula.

Finally, our position is that ‘transition' within kaupapa Māori pathways is better understood as part of an educational journey predicated on language and cultural survival and regeneration. This journey not only encompasses tamariki but also their whānau and kaiako. In this project, understanding and enhancing their respective journeys has centered on Māori knowledge, values, and practices. Positioning cultural values and practices as fundamental to successful 'transition' in kaupapa Māori, and Māori medium education more widely, means that the relevance and applicability of transition research and theory in such settings can be critically engaged with, and interrogated, from within a Māori cultural-theoretical framework.

Project Outputs and Publications

Hohepa, M., Anderson, T., & Olliver, D. (2015. March 21). Ka rere ngā kuaka–from kōhanga to kura. Oral presentation at Pedagogies of Educational Transitions Symposium, hosted by the Early Years Research Centre, The University of Waikato, Hamilton.    
Hohepa, M., Anderson, T., & Olliver, D. (2015. April 18). Transitions and indigenous language settings. Paper presented at the American Education Research Association Conference, Chicago Ill.
Hohepa, M., Hawksworth, L., & Gilbert, T. (2015, June 30). Nau mai, whakawhiti mai: Enhancing transitions from kōhanga to kura. Oral presentation at He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research Conference, Claudelands Centre, Hamilton, New Zealand.