Early Childhood Education Tutor Excited About Whakatane Option

06 Aug 2014

Rawhia Te Hau-Grant is passionate about teaching Early Childhood Education Waiariki. Now with the news that the Diploma in Early Childhood Education, Level 5 will be available for the first time in Whakatane come 2015, we sat down with the energetic lecturer, to find out what she feels that means for the people of the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

"It is definitely exciting to bring the Diploma to Whakatane" Rawhia smiles. "It is really good to be able to get into the smaller communities and be able to make a difference with teacher education, especially early childhood."

"We do have the free bus service over to Mokoia now, for people living in Whakatane who currently want to study Early Childhood, but from past experience, when we have taught out in other smaller community areas, it’s the relationships that the students build in these areas and the relationships and bonds they form with each other in their own communities, that is really advantageous for the students themselves."

Highlighting that the qualification helps students understand themselves as the course content is delivered, as well as what Early Childhood Education actually is, Rawhia feels learning to educate children at play takes the various personalities of the students in the class on a journey from being carers to teachers.

"I love teaching out in the regions and the reason for that is that they are different. The students come from a different kind of community. A lot of them have had struggles to get where they are to today. Some of them didn’t have positive experiences at school, so having them able to contribute in class and their community, so when they have practicum they are able to go out to their early childhood centres and have placements there, means they can stay a part of that community."

With that student growth and the development of the students' passion the most enjoyable aspect for Rawhia, we thought the time was right to ask what she feels makes the ideal early childhood student?

"I actually ask my students this question (laughs). The attributes that make a good early childhood educator are relationships, being able to build those relationships - and in terms of early childhood it's not just with the children, it's with their whanau, with the community as well. It is providing an environment where people feel they can come in, sit, just be and become a part of, so it is like a big family."

"One of the other important things is we’ve got to be energetic, children will pick that up. It's not just energy in terms of those students that are loud, you need a whole range of early childhood teachers. Teachers that are a little quieter and the more confident, louder type of teacher. The third aspect which I think is really important is that they are able to see learning. It's really important for early childhood teachers to be able to see what learning is taking place in play."

And finally, Rawhia has a little advice to encourage those with a natural gift in relating to children. "My suggestion is if you want to learn a little more about yourself or the education of children and you are passionate about nurturing our pēpe - our babies - so that they are ready for school and all the other challenges that come on board, then come to Waiariki and learn how to be an early childhood teacher."

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Page last updated: 02 May 2017