Who am I?
Poipoia te kakano kia puawai
Nurture the seed and it will blossom
The discovery of who I am begins with the discovery of the physical self, and develops into what I can do, and what other people say I am (Reschke, 2019). The infant’s developing awareness of their own body progresses to the toddler’s explorations into what they can do as they develop their perception of themselves.
After self-discovery and exploring their capabilities, the third element of construction of self-identity develops from what other people say they are (Reschke, 2019). Aibileen Clark tells Mae Mobley “You is kind, you is smart, you is important,” (Stockett, 2009, p.396) and at Folkestone Infant and Childcare we believe this is true of every tamaiti. Kindness grows naturally as it is reflected in the words and actions of kaiako and tamariki at Folkestone.
Kaiako recognize smartness (gifts and talents) by applying Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Santrock, 2018) and acknowledging that intelligence is more than simply a measurement of IQ. While Gardner’s theory lacks empirical evidence, our observations of our tamariki reflect their interests and abilities in the linguistic, mathematical, musical, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal areas identified by Gardner. At Folkestone Street Infant and Childcare we have the privilege of observing these developing identities, and by acknowledging every interest and ability each tamaiti knows they are valued and important. Whether it is Leo, our fearless climber, Asher, our dog lover, or Izzy, our garden and lawnmowing enthusiast, their developing identities are nurtured.
Te Whāriki’s vision of tamariki as “competent and confident learners, secure in their sense of belonging,” (Ministry of Education, 2017, p.2) is achieved as kaiako respond to the unique identities of our tamariki, nurturing each seed to blossom beautifully.
By Tracy Cooke
Ministry of Education. (2017). Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa early childhood curriculum. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
Reschke, K. (2019). Who am I? Developing a sense of self and belonging. Zero to three. Washington DC, USA.
Santrock, J.W. (2018). Essentials of life-span development. (5th ed.). New York, USA: McGraw Hill.
Stockett, K. (2009). The help. USA: Penguin Books.