By Theresa Tupuola-Sorenson
PKL Education Director
Whose job is it to open the door of opportunity to our young Pacific children? And who will listen to them anyway? At Pacific Kids’ Learning, we decided a long time ago that we would aspire to create a platform where young Pacific children would not only be represented but also consulted, included and elevated to the highest level. It is important to us to allow young learners to become decision-makers, design-thinkers and truth-tellers. COVID has greatly impacted our physical presence in schools, which only reaffirms to us that our duties in the digital space are so crucial. Recently, we have included the work of young children through various projects, by encouraging their participation in written and oral storytelling, teaching them basic stop-motion skills to produce and direct their own digital stories, making musical decisions that express the mood and tone of a narrative, as well as narrating and recording their own voice overs. We’ve also invited children to record and produce music that we look forward to making available for educational use in the classroom or at home. Experiential learning in real-world contexts not only increases engagement for our participants but also nurtures a sense of agency and brings great satisfaction when they see their work completed and enjoyed by others. It allows them to actively participate and contribute their cultural talents while maintaining sovereignty over those valued contributions.
Learning-by-doing can be seen and heard in our newly released story Put Love First. Please meet the voices behind the virtual curtain: Erikka Sorenson, 7 years old from the Gold Coast, Australia. Veisinia Afu, 8 years old from Kolomotu’a in Tonga and Tuesa Finau of Vaivase Uta in Samoa. Here are 3 Oceanic narrators, selected to be the voices of Pacific children across the diaspora who see themselves authentically represented in the language, images and sounds of Put Love First. This story reminds adults and children alike, that the discernment and enactment of unconditional love start first and foremost, in the home. Erikka, Veisinia and Tuesa practised and rehearsed relentlessly at home to build the confidence needed to literally and figuratively amplify their voices. We are so proud of their efforts and look forward to welcoming more young talent across the Moana to our Pacific Kids’ Learning platform, to design, create and profess their truths.
The voices behind Put Love First
Tālofa! My name is Erikka Talalelei Sorenson and I live in the Gold Coast, Australia. I am 7 years old and am in Year 3 at Marymount Primary School. I have a lot of cousins who I love to spend time with. I play touch rugby, I love singing but my favourite hobbies are drawing and art. My little sister’s name is Sāvali and she’s 3 years old. I read books to her because she can’t read yet. I’m very lucky because my nana lives with our family. She teaches me Sāmoan songs and I learn Sāmoan siva at my VASA dance group. My favourite subject at school is Art. When I grow up I want to be a teacher or a designer.
Mālō e lelei Veisinia:
Mālō e lelei! Ko hoku hingoa ko Veisinia Linda Afu. I’m 8 years old and live in Hala’ovave, Kolomotu'a in the friendly islands of Tonga. Last month, there was a big volcanic eruption which was very scary, we were all very afraid. Thankfully my family and I are safe. My parents are ‘Okalani and ‘Oto’ota Afu and I have six siblings: Katisa, Naw Ruz, Sione, Moana, Teau and Hautau. My dad is working in New Zealand as a butcher with the seasonal work program. My favourite subject at school is English and my hobbies are art and drawing. When I grow up, I want to be a teacher or a nurse.
Tālofa lava! My name is Tuesa Luana Finau and I live in Vaivase Uta in Sāmoa. I am 10 years old and am now in Year 6 at Apia Primary School. I come from a family of 7. My parents are Selby and Kuinimeri and I have three sisters and one brother. I’m the youngest of my siblings. I love to read, solve maths problems and learn more about people and places so my favourite subjects are English, Maths and Social Studies. During my spare time, I play cards and watch cartoons or Kdrama with my family. I also love to shop, swim and travel. In the future, I want to become a lawyer or a doctor and help many people in need. That is why I am doing my best in school so I can achieve my goals and make my family proud.