September 22, 2022

Tāfesilafa’i celebrates the achievements of phase two and looks ahead to expansion in phase three

Recently, the people from the Tāfesilafa’i Community of Care enjoyed a night of celebration, highlighting the initiative’s achievements centring the Samoan Worldview in early learning and looking forward to phase three and the expansion to South Auckland Aoga Amata.

The event was also an opportunity to share key findings from the evaluation of phase two for Tāfesilafa’i, available for view here. The report evidences the strengths of the Tāfesilafa’i initiative in:

  1. Providing a space for faiaoga to create and share culturally centric educational resources which are critical in enabling these unique learning environments to thrive
  2. The value of culturally centred professional learning and development which leads positive outcomes for faiaoga and
  3. Establishing and strengthening relationships to enhance the early learning environment for the benefit of faiaoga and aiga

“Tāfesilafa’i has provided us with knowledge and skills, particularly from our own Samoan ‘Fa’amalama o le Tofāmanino’ (worldview). Now we feel confident and empowered to use our own pedagogies that are fundamentally grounded on our Samoan values, language, culture, and spirituality.” – Faiaoga

On the night, Tāfesilafa’i members were thrilled to share the Tāfesilafa’i approach with Hon Aupito William Sio, Minister of Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Education and Health. When asked if he had any words to share with everyone, Aupito spoke of being so moved by the event speakers that he chose to scrap his prepared speech in favour of speaking from the heart. He commended the initiative’s value with particular focus on its collaborative design, the critical role of equitable partnership, and the importance of elevating faiaoga (teacher) experiences and perspectives – as they are the experts.

The indispensable role of SAASIA (Sosaiete Aoga Amata Samoa Incorporated Aotearoa) was highlighted for its ongoing work supporting Aoga Amata and faiaoga, along with the opportunity it presents to expand Tāfesilafa’i nationally. Irene Palea’i-Foroti, Fa’atonusili (Director), continues.

“We know the Tāfesilafa’i approach works for faiaioga and aiga. We can see it in the Aoga Amata. In a time when early learning centres (mainstream and language nests) attendance is in decline due to the ongoing ramifications of COVID-19, the Aoga Amata attendance levels have increased. The continuing support from the stakeholders, who have been instrumental in establishing this initiative, to enable our aoga amata, teachers, children and parents to dream their dreams, to grow and to achieve what they may never have thought possible before. Faiaoga share the children are happy and engaged in their learning, and we are the living evidence, our children, parents and communities – this is all the evidence we need to see to know Tāfesilafa’i is working.”

Tāfesilafa’i is now entering phase three, which will see the network expanded to South Auckland with 5 Aoga Amata joining the network. Tāfesilafa’i will continue to explore ways to work with the Education Review Office and the Ministry of Education’s Pacific Team to trial culturally appropriate ways to review centres, which is currently structured in a western framework.