Manaakitanga, or specifically hospitality is a value that is easily linked to the teaching practice. As a visitor to many different schools and early childhood centres it is an easy value to assess.

Some may argue that manaakitanga is just about manners or common courtesy but I like to think that it is deeper than this. Manaakitanga is a genuine expression of hospitality. When you break down the word manaaki it literally means to give mana. It’s about how that person feels. I believe that that makes the reciever of that hospitality the best judge.

I know that I feel much more welcome when I am introduced to others, offered a cup of tea in the staffroom and treated with respect. So it is important to remember this when I have visitors to our centre.

The group today made the link to this value very easily yet believe it is inherent in every culture. Perhaps it is but I wonder if it gets lost a bit in the cultural melting pot of schools?

The culture of a school is generally created by the leadership team so it may all depend on what values they have. I wonder then what this teaches children? Children and families need to feel welcome into school environments to help them achieve a sense of belonging. This in turn creates participation.. isn’t that what education is about?

Participation is a key value in the Reggio Emilia school of thought. They believe that participation is central to education and that it makes sure that children and families are invested not only in their education and learning but their community too.

Ah here is my own philosophy of teaching coming through here… relationships, community, manaakitanga…. I could write a thesis on this but I’ll leave it here to disect another time.