The staff and I were fortunate to attend today’s launch of Asia NZ Foundation’s new report “Starting Strong: Starting Strong: Nurturing the potential of our Asian under-fives“. It was a good opportunity to meet others in an educational / early childhood / language space and hear about the report’s findings. All languages, not just Mandarin Chinese, are important and will be even more so in the future!
The report’s authors are Associate Professor Elsie Ho (University of Auckland), Vivian Cheung (National Advisor Asian Peoples for Plunket) and Dr Robert Didham (Statistics NZ, and also Waikato University research associate).
Did you know that in 2017, 18% of children under 5 were of Asian ethnicity, and people identifying with an Asian ethnicity make up the fastest-growing ethnic population in NZ?
Based on the research and Asia NZ Foundation’s own experience, the Foundation has listed these calls to action (which we at Ni Hao Children’s Community absolutely agree with):
- Recognising the benefits of having children with diverse languages and cultures growing up in NZ, and ensuring these cultural and language skills are not lost.
- There is widespread support for children speaking more than one language. A National Languages Policy would assist NZ to grow a languages culture. In the majority of countries around the world, children speak more than one language – so NZ is trailing behind.
- Development of a ‘languages in education’ plan through engagement with the community, ensuring language pathways, targeted funding and developing a quality language teaching force.