Manaaki - 1. (verb) (-tia) to support, take care of, give hospitality to, protect, look out for - show respect, generosity and care for others.
When you walk around Mairtown Kindergarten you see tamariki playing together, you hear the giggles of laughter and most of all you feel the warm loving nature which the tamariki bring when they walk in the gate in the morning; giving Mairtown Kindergarten the fun, exciting environment you see today.
One of the biggest characteristics and dispositions that is evident is the manaaki that the tamariki, whanau and kaiako show to one another. The tamariki don’t realise they do it but it’s visible in their day to day activities, like caring for their peers.
The tamariki at Mairtown are kind, caring, respectful, considerate, happy and friendly. They can adapt to play with and alongside others without a problem. Their manners are fabulous and they don't mind branching out to play with new people everyday. They are like one big whanau which is so nice to be apart of.
"The health and well-being of the child are protected and nurtured. Children experience an environment where: their health is promoted; their emotional well-being is nurtured; they are kept safe from harm.
Ko tēnei te whakatipuranga o te tamaiti i roto i tōna oranga nui, i runga hoki i tōna mana motuhake, mana atuatanga … Kia rongo ia i te rangimārie, te aroha, me te harikoa, ā, kia mōhio ki te manaaki, ki te atawhai, me whakahirahira i a ia me ōna hoa, me ōna pakeke." (Te Whariki 1996)
Manaaki comes in many different forms and one of the main components is Respect. The best way to teach respect is to show respect. When a child experiences respect, they know what it feels like and can begin to understand how important it is. Keep in mind the saying "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Respect is an attitude. Being respectful helps a child succeed in life. If children don't have respect for peers, authority, or themselves, it's almost impossible for them to succeed. A respectful child takes care of belongings and responsibilities, and a respectful child gets along with peers.
Aroha mai, aroha atu
Love received demands love returned.
It warms the heart when you see tamariki help a friend when they get knocked down, read them a book to cheer them up, to welcome and show around new tamariki to the kindergarten, or to give warm hugs when they feel another child needs one. Those kind gestures are all little glimpses of the types of manaaki that take place in Mairtown Kindergarten on a daily basis.
I asked the children what it is to be a kind and caring friend and this is what they said : "Caring is giving them hugs"..."To be sharing, pretty helpful and kind to your friends".. "Helping them on the swing".... "Being friendly"...."Showing new people around"... "Sharing a bag if they don't have one"... "Making new friends with new people"... Telling them they are doing a good job"... "Make them an aeroplane and give them a cuddle"..."To play with them".
Studies show that we feel better about ourselves when we practice kindness—toward our children, students, families, friends, and communities. Not only do good deeds make us feel better, but as David Brooks explains in the New York Times article 'Nice Guys Finish First', people who are kind and compassionate are often the most successful. When children learn to be caring and kind, they also benefit developmentally. Well-liked children display more positive, less bullying behaviours when they become teenagers and happier children are more likely to show higher academic achievement. Being kind makes you feel good about yourself and improves your outlook on life.
He toanga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata,
Goodwill towards others is a precious treasure.
It is humbling to be a kaiako in such a warm, caring environment. I’ve experienced manaaki first hand from the tamariki, whanau and kaiako when I was first welcomed into Mairtown Kindergarten with a beautiful mihi whakatau. I’ve come to build great friendships with the tamariki and whanau, and I’d like to thank you all for being so open and welcoming, it has allowed my transition into Mairtown to be easy one, you are all so lovely and it's great to be apart of such a wonderful community.
Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa
Let us keep close together not far apart.