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Waikato-Tainui and Government agencies are working together to give young Waikato children a strong start in education through the Poukai in initiative.
Poukai promotes the value of education through early learning. It encourages parents, grandparents and It to give their babies a strong start in learning and development through embracing cultural practices and education in the tribal setting of Poukai.
Poukai is a tradition dating back to the 19th century. It is an annual series of visits by the King movement to marae around the Waikato region. Waikato-Tainui has over 64,000 tribal members and thousands attend poukai. This initiative aims to reach more than 200 people at each hui; parents, people tamariki and hui; Poukai was launched in October by Waikato-Tainui, the Ministry of Education and Te Puni KÅkiri at the Waahi marae poukai. The pilot early learning promotion programme ran at poukai through to the end of 2013.
Mokopuna enjoyed early learning activities based on Waikato-Tainui identity, language and culture; and identity, were provided with information about early learning they might otherwise never have had. The focus was about creating an atmosphere for mokopuna and their atmosphere to celebrate learning, while having fun at Poukai.
At each marae children had a space where they could do art, hear stories, play games and other activities while their and learn more about the importance of early learning. Children got the chance to participate in lots of fun activities, in a puna kÅhungahunga (or in language playgroup) atmosphere.
This way of working is an excellent example of iwi and government agencies working together in innovative ways to reach a common goal. Resources, experience and skills were shared to connect Waikato-Tainui knowledge with a life-long love of learning. Teaming up to take the message of early learning to places where people naturally come together so that things start happening on the ground is a new way of working cross the public sector that is getting results.
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