Whānau compare Kōhanga Reo vs Mainstream distance learning packs

updated By Taroi Black

Photos that are surfacing on social media comparing early learner packs between Kōhanga Reo and Mainstream has caused major woes.

Parents nationwide took to Facebook with their concerns regarding the 'different' packs that have been delivered during the Lockdown period to support distance learning.

An example of contents of a mainstream preschool pack consisting of a bucket of chalk, scissors, glue stick and a blow-up bouncy ball just to name a few, had parents of tamariki who attend kōhanga reo ask why they haven't received similar resources. 

One mother who raised her concerns regarding a level of inequity on social media, Maiau Houltham, received over a hundred messages from other parents who had a similar experience. 

"We all appreciate them immensely, especially during the lockdown. But when Mere asks why her pack isn't the same as Mary's, then what should we say?" 

Some parents on the thread had claimed 'structural racism' and 'gang kids in Māori medium will just tag the walls if they get some felts and crayons'.  

Early Learning and Student Achievement Associate, Deputy Secretary, Pauline Cleaver told Te Ao Māori News the Ministry of Education provided the early learning packs to all children who are at most risk of being disadvantaged, based on the funding they receive. This includes the majority of tamariki attending kōhanga. 

In a statement to Te Ao, the Ministry said, "The early learning packs are based on the analysis of the needs of children attending early learnings services eligible for Targeted Funding for Disadvantage, including most children in kōhanga."

Te Ao also understands that some parents have applied for the resources via the Ministry of Education website as access to similar resources was limited due to Alert Level 4 regulations nationwide.

The Ministry says, "More than 11,000 early learning packs have been despatched to children’s homes. We intend to ship more than another 50,000 over the coming weeks as we source the materials."

Te Ao Māori News has made contact with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust for an update on how their whānau are coping with resources as we move into Level 3 this week.

More to come.