Laulōtaha; Tongan perspectives of ‘quality’ in early childhood education
Pau'uvale, Dorothy Lorraine
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In New Zealand policy discussions considerable emphasis is placed in achieving ‘quality’ in early childhood services. The use of this concept creates a significant amount of tension in Tongan early childhood centres, because there is disagreement as to what ‘quality’ actually means. This research study aimed at reclaiming an understanding of ‘quality’ from Tongan perspectives. In order to establish just what ‘quality’ might mean from a Tongan perspectives, I conducted sessions of talanoa (dialogue and discussions) over a period of four weeks. The participants were Tongan early childhood teachers and Tongan parents who are highly involved in various Tongan Language Nests in South Auckland. This thesis captures the perspectives and understandings of Tongan early childhood teachers and Tongan parents about the notion of ‘quality’ in Tongan Language Nests. No one term in the Tongan language translates ‘quality’ but there are several important Tongan concepts which make up a comparable conceptual framework. The research concludes with discussions on defining and measuring ‘quality’ in Tongan Language Nests. In this discussion I advocate the idea that defining and measuring ‘quality’ in this context requires depth of understanding and connectedness to Tongan culture, language, and epistemology.