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Mana, a notion reflecting empowerment, is a central concept in te ao Māori, the world views of the indigenous culture in Aotearoa New Zealand. Mana forms a key component within Aotearoa New Zealand’s bicultural early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki and Māori early childhood assessment framework Te Whatu Pōkeka. Lenses of these culturally responsive frameworks are applied to verbal interactions amongst Indigenous Canadian children playing in school. Play was utilized to empower the children’s ideas and oral language towards richer storytelling. We argue that it is important for all teachers to consider and work with local and culturally responsive frameworks relevant to their context to empower children’s voices.
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