Pasifika Futures supports Samoan Early Childhood Education Conference

Pasifika Futures supports the achievement of Samoan Early Childhood Education teachers, encouraging development and success for the learning outcomes of our Pacific children and families living in New Zealand.

Ia Maua’a I suiga talafeagai – Be bold with relevant changes. The theme for this year’s 35th Annual National Conference put on by the Sosaiete A’oga Amata Samoa I Aotearoa (S.A.A.S.I.A) at the Brentwood Hotel, Wellington from 29-30 September.

The purpose of the conference was to provide assistance towards the professional development of Samoan Early Childhood teachers who are preparing for careers in education.

Labour MP Aupito Su’a William Sio was present at the conference alongside the High Commissioner of Samoan H.E Leasi Papali’I Tommy Scanlan who touched on some of the core issues within Pasifika Early Childhood Education. He also offered encouragement saying that the A’oga amata should be proud of their performance so far.

20170929_104116 (003)On behalf of Pasifika Futures, Engagement Manager, Sieni Voorwinden spoke at the event presenting key findings regarding Pasifika Futures work, which extended insight and knowledge into lifelong learning through succeeding in education.

Pasifika Futures staff, Tasi Jahnke, comments on what was a powerful moment for her during the conference.

“Something that I took away from the conference was how the empathy of our Pacific people is real.”

“One of the teach­­ers spoke of families from different cultures, Chinese and Middle Eastern for example, who also enrol their children with a couple of the Samoan A’onga amatas. This is because they are new to New Zealand and the community, and are looking for not only a welcoming and friendly environment but also a safe-haven for their children to grow and learn.”

“What better place to start? I am so proud of our A’oga amata teachers and their support not just to our own but to others as well.”

“Something that stuck with me was when one of the teachers shared that some families enrol their children in their A’oga amata because they are new to the community, and are trying to adjust their children into a safe and friendly learning environment.”

Often when settling into new communities, families have no friends or family in New Zealand so they look for places where they can be accepted. It’s great to see the positive work our Pasifika people are doing in these communities with their welcoming ways.

20170929_123828 (003) SA'ASIA ConferenceAnother notable moment during the conference was when videos were presented of children speaking in the Samoan language. The touching presentation lead on to discussion around the importance of strengthening cultural values and language as well as spirituality within the A’oga amata.

Those who attended the conference were given the opportunity to self-review, assess and evaluate, bringing forward ideas around how to progress and strengthen the on-going work.

We look forward to seeing our Samoan early childhood teachers grow in confidence and wish them well going forward in their careers.