Song and dance for language

Sing it out ... Children from Carisbrook School and several pre-school centres raise their voices...
Sing it out ... Children from Carisbrook School and several pre-school centres raise their voices yesterday in celebration of Samoan Language Week at Carisbrook School. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
About 150 young Dunedin children ``gave it their all'' during a colourful celebration of Samoan Language Week yesterday.

The event, organised by Pioneers (formerly known as Dunedin Community Childcare Association) and hosted by Carisbrook School, involved singing and movement performances by groups of young children. Forty of them were 5-year-olds from the school's junior class, the other 110 were from several preschools and kindergartens around the city.

Most of the children wore colourful national costumes and many were accompanied by parents and teachers from the various centres.

Among the groups celebrating were Punavai (Samoan Language Centre preschool), Pine Hill's Tino e Tasi Preschool, Andersons Bay Community Kindergarten and Pioneers Russell St preschool.

It was the third time the Dunedin event had been hosted at Carisbrook School, and ``it's getting bigger every year'', Pioneers director Penelope Pask said.

Most of the school pupils had come through Pioneers preschool centres, including Punavai.

Carisbrook principal Ben Sincock said his school was probably an appropriate venue as 15% of its pupils were Pasifika, there were 16 different ethnicities at the school and 32 former refugees. ``We celebrate all the different ethnic groups, Mr Sincock said.

Yesterday's event began with everyone - children, parents and teachers - singing the Samoan national anthem, led by Punavai.

Former school teacher and Presbyterian minister Alofa Lale then led the rest of the singing, encouraging the children in their performances. And she showed them several traditional Samoan cultural items before the event ended with a celebratory morning tea.

Samoan Language Week is held annually, nationwide. It aims to support cultural diversity and inclusion, and enhancing the language in schools.


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