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Universities ‘must include Pacific culture in teaching courses’

Greater recognition of the importance of Pacific Islands culture in early childhood development must be included in New Zealand tertiary education courses, a University of Auckland academic has said.

Meripa Toso, who is of Samoan descent, has called for preschool teachers to be trained to acknowledge and respect Pacific languages and culture. She said this included correct pronunciation of names and awareness of spiritual beliefs.

“Teachers need to understand that infants and toddlers come from homes where their aiga and kainga (the wider family) give time for infants and toddlers to explore space,” she writes in an editorial posted on the university’s website.

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