“The image of the child in Reggio Emilia is one that places the child within the context of history—both personal, lived history, and the heritage of one’s culture and society.”
Building an awareness of our bicultural reality encourages our tamariki to explore and see the world from multiple lenses. Over the past month, Bear Park has used ritual and celebration to mark the passage of time and acknowledge Matariki (the Māori New Year) as part of the unique traditions that are deeply rooted in New Zealand culture.
Symbols and language are bearers of culture and represent its values and beliefs. Our tamariki learned that Matariki symbolises the closing of the lunar year and is a special time to gather together with parents, whanau and friends. Therefore, we marked this occasion by inviting parents and whanau into the centre to share in food, fun and festivities as we collectively explored the meaning of Matariki.
The children participated in cultural experiences with waiata (song) and kanikani (dance) and parents engaged in these rituals by sharing their aspirations for their children and whanau.
Each year, we also incorporate our own tradition of harvesting the food grown in the centre’s garden. We make a special effort during Matariki to gather the “fruits of our labour” and use the produce to make food for meal time. The alignment of our harvest with Matariki symbolises new beginnings as we start again to re-sow the seeds so our tamariki may care for the plants until the next harvest.
As a significant part of our Bear Park identity, we are proud to collectively celebrate Matariki each year with our tamariki, parents, whanau and wider community.