Listen and share – clarify what matters

Initial contacts and meetings with mokopuna, whānau, educators and other practitioners are by invitation, which makes relational connections a higher priority than tasks. Whakawhanaungatanga provides opportunities to support positive and collaborative relationships, explore what is important, and help to co-construct aspirations and goals that continue to be revisited throughout the process.

How we build connections

We empower others as partners

We create opportunities to establish meaningful and respectful relationships to ensure that mokopuna, whānau and educators are empowered as partners. Team members can learn the kawa and tikanga that are important to the people they are partnering with.

We focus on strengthening adult capability

In systemic work, we strengthen adult capability by building relationships and connections with educators either within an individual setting or across multiple educational settings. Examples are:

  • supporting a cluster of schools with a project
  • training groups of educators in positive behaviour strategies, trauma informed practice, or Learning Language and Loving It Learning Language and Loving It
We gain informed consent to build trust

Discussions with whānau about informed consent include:

  • how they will be communicated with
  • who will be working with their mokopuna
  • how information will be collected and shared, where it will be stored and how it can be accessed.

Such discussions provide a good opportunity to begin a professional relationship with the whānau. During initial interactions with whānau, it’s important to give information on how to raise concerns or complaints they may have.

Read the Informed Consent Guidelines to learn more

We discuss how information may be shared

When working with groups of education settings and other service providers, it is important to give guidance on how information about mokopuna can be shared in a safe and appropriate way. This will help to build trust.

Read the Information sharing guide to learn more

We explore aspirations and goals to build connections

We build connections with mokopuna, whānau and educators as we identify strengths, analyse data and co-construct a plan to support the learning aspirations and goals of mokopuna and their whānau. An Outcome Measurement Tool can be useful to support this process. The nature of the support will vary depending on the identified needs and goals. Support may include advice and guidance, systemic or targeted supports, more individualised assessment, or upskilling of the adults and mokopuna.

We negotiate and agree on roles and expectations

Developing a service agreement is an important part of the process, so everyone is clear about their agreed roles and expectations, and how the team will communicate and share information.

Within a team, whānau will have the opportunity to negotiate who will be their lead practitioner. This person will facilitate the process of identifying:

  • key team members and their roles
  • the strengths, expertise and resources of mokopuna, whānau, and other practitioners.

When Ministry practitioners are working with whānau who identify as Māori, a cultural assessment can be offered by Kaitakawaenga. This opens doors and supports the safe pathway of support for mokopuna and their whānau. With a cultural assessment, the information gathered can be considered within the context of Māori values, beliefs, knowledge and ways of thinking. This also enables connections with whakapapa to be made.

Three adult women sitting together, one with a baby on her lap

Sustaining trusting relationships with educators and whānau throughout He Pikorua allows opportunities for difficult and challenging conversations to occur where necessary. Examples are where attitudes, values and beliefs differ, or if intervention approaches and levels of support are to change.

Examples of listening and sharing from practice

Fostering a shared understanding of PB4L School-Wide aspirations

Practitioners support the PB4L School-Wide (PB4L–SW) team (including mokopuna and whānau) to achieve a shared understanding of PB4L–SW and what results they are expecting to see as they implement it in their school. Practitioners make sure that everyone knows their actions and responsibilities, and what they are working towards as a team to achieve the agreed outcomes.

Learners expressing agency

In korero with a practitioner, a mokopuna has voiced that they cope better when they have warning just before they transition to other activities. The practitioner works with the mokopuna to communicate this idea to the educator who agrees this would be helpful for others as well. They negotiate a five-minute warning for mokopuna before transition shifts.

Whānau taking the lead when requesting support

A practitioner gets a request for support for a mokopuna. In listening to what the whānau need and want, all agree that it may be beneficial to involve other agencies, organisations or professionals. A plan is made with the mokopuna and their whānau to explore services that may be supportive.

Responding when a team is already in place

A practitioner gets a request for support for a mokopuna where there is already an established team and plan, and work is underway. The practicitioner clarifies what whānau want for the mokopuna, and what needs to happen to achieve that. The practitioner then engages with the other team members to understand what other work is already taking place, and agree what each person’s role will be, and how they can add value collectively to achieve the best outcomes. The team then identifies a lead practitioner.

Supporting a whānau to make connections

A paediatrician has suggested support for a whānau and their mokopuna who has developmental delay and communication needs. The whānau has asked for support with their mokopuna attending their local Kōhanga Reo. As part of whakawhanaungatanga, the kaitakawaenga contacts the whānau and meets them at their home. They spend time with the whānau talking about their aspirations for their mokopuna. Further supports are also discussed that include supporting a visit to the Kōhanga Reo, facilitating a cultural assessment, and co-working with other practitioners in the team along the educational pathway of mokopuna.

Collaborating to provide support to a cluster

Within a regional office, a group of PB4L School-Wide practitioners, RTLB and other learning support practitioners have collaborated. They have developed and delivered a package of support to a cluster of schools. The package includes facilitating workshops using the Teaching for Positive Behaviour book and the Understanding Behaviour, Responding Safely (UBRS) training. The work has given the practitioners the opportunity to co-present and provide consistent and timely support for several cluster schools in the first few weeks of the term.

Top tip

Top tip

Rehearse explaining about informed consent and making complaints

Before introducing the informed consent and complaints processes to a whānau, it can be useful to practice with your colleagues. Take the time to discuss the documents with the whānau, explaining how information will be shared. Agree how ongoing communication will happen. Use plain English and avoid acronyms and technical terms 

Introduction to the sharing information guide on