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Children Driving Force in Learning Cook Island Māori

Children Driving Force in Learning Cook Island Māori

Grace Drollèt has a renewed focused on learning her mother tongue.

The Auckland mother and PORSE Educator hopes to one day have a conversation with her children in Cook Island Māori.

“My mother spoke it to me as a child. When I was eight she passed away and with that, my chance of ever learning my mother tongue,” she says.

“With the help of my children’s father, I’m also learning to speak it with my children – the children are my driving force to learn and teach them more.”

This week is Cook Islands Language Week (Te epetoma o te reo Māori Kuki Airani) which celebrates the identity, language and cultures of students from the Islands. It also helps New Zealanders journey towards a shared cultural understanding.

By learning the language and sharing it with her children, Grace is helping preserve it for generations to come.

Ruby-Lee, two, and Rangimaoateatua, known by his middle name Elias, are also being spoken to in Cook Island Māori by their surviving grandparents.

Grace is also passionate about teaching the children sign language so they gain a deeper understanding for all languages.

“I encourage my children daily to sign and speak. This has greatly improved the communication barrier between myself and my children.”

Grace recently left a corporate career in banking to become a home-based educator with PORSE allowing her to spend more precious time with her children as well as care for other children.

“There’s nothing like it. Just being able to be there for my children, it has really made a difference, to myself and the children.

“Since being in her own home environment with mum around, Ruby-Lee has really grown into herself and is a lot more confident.”

Grace and the children spend their days building obstacle courses, taking regular trips to the Auckland Botanical Gardens and practicing their language skills.

To get the most out of her career change, Grace signed up to do the Level 3 National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care through PORSE.

“I’ve always been interested in Early Childhood Care and now I am backing up what I do every day with a qualification.”

Life is certainly busy for Grace, balancing her studies with caring for children and learning a new language with them. But she is fortunate to be sharing a special part of their heritage with them.

Cook Islands Language Week (Te epetoma o te reo Māori Kuki Airani) takes place this year from 30 July to 5 August.

This year's theme is`Ei rāvenga nāku i te tuatua i tōku reo Māori Kūki ’Āirani ka anoano au i te turuturu ā tōku ngutu`are tangata `ē te matakeinanga. An encouraging home and community environment is what I need to build my love and my confidence to speak my reo Māori Kūki ’Āirani.'

If you, like Grace, want to enjoy the comforts of working from home as an educator call PORSE today 0800 023 456

Photo caption: Grace Drollèt is learning Cook Island Māori along with her children, Ruby-Lee, 2 and Rangimaoateatua, known by his middle name Elias, 20 months.

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