How do we build a culture of authentic respect?

authentic respect

It starts with the small details to build a culture of authentic respect, encouraging young children to celebrate difference, and see beyond their own perspective. To see the world not as a single story, race or colour, but as a place of variety, woven with perspectives and languages.

At Bear Park, we pride ourselves on a continual commitment to teaching with a bi-cultural lens, a concept that’s essential to New Zealand’s history, present and future. Both Maori and Pakeha traditions are an integral part of learning and discovery for us. As are the wider variety of cultures that our children bring with them when they arrive at Bear Park each day.[one_half]

“After all, this is what a healthy gathering is all about. Showing young people that there is value in difference.”

[/one_half][one_half_last] We pride ourselves on being a learning community which welcomes all languages, values and beliefs.

For some children, coming to Bear Park may be their first experience of venturing outside the family unit, so we think it’s essential that children learn to respect and care for others in their wider Bear Park whanau, or extended family.[/one_half_last]We demonstrate this through a bi­cultural curriculum. It is underpinned by both the Reggio Emilia educational project and the cultural values expressed through New Zealand’s Ministry of Education Te Whāriki principles. Combined, these two influences greatly inspire our teachers.

“For us it is important that we create a bicultural reality and that in doing so we are authentic within our daily programme. By being immersed with a richness of natural resources from Papatuanuku, our youngest children develop an understanding of the importance of Kaitikitanga (guardianship). Building upon this respect, our older children are able to retell their narratives through empermal compositions whilst the eldest children delve into the realms of Maori mythology and the wondrous values that lie within these.” ­

– Leigh Reddish, Bear Park

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Within Bear Park, we view not only our children but also our teachers as resourceful creative thinkers, so with this in mind, we have once