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Connections  . . . National Party Maori education spokeswoman Jo Hayes (fourth from right) and Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon (third from left) visited teachers and pupils at He Manu Hou bilingual preschool at Te Aitarakihi Multicultural Centre on Friday afternoon. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

Teachers and children at He Manu Hou bilingual preschool were visited by National’s Maori education spokeswoman last week.

National’s Christchurch East-based list MP Jo Hayes visited the Washdyke preschool, which is based at Te Aitarakihi Multicultural Centre, on Friday afternoon.

Her visit was one of several to South Canterbury education providers, as part of the Opposition’s community engagement stage of re-working its education policies.

The Timaru preschool, which opened earlier this year, is the first bilingual preschool in the district, teaching children in both English and Maori.

He Manu Hou manager Anna Buckingham said the centre was going well, and they had room for more pupils.

Ms Hayes said the establishment of the centre was really positive for South Canterbury and the families wanting their children to grow up bilingual.

She said even non-bilingual schools were doing well at incorporating te reo into the school day.

This had been demonstrated by a visit earlier in the day to Barton Rural School, where a non-Maori teacher had been doing waiata (song) practice with the pupils, with correct pronunciation, she said.

“They’ve got it sussed.”

For more information on Te Manu Hou or to enrol a child, visit the He Manu Hou Facebook page for more details or call Anna Buckingham on (021)83-99768.