Could playdough be insensitive to Maori?
Sat, 25 Aug 2012 6:18p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
Playdough is considered one of the best educational tools by some people, but early childhood centres are being warned to think first before using it.
The warning comes from Maori educators, who say it is culturally insensitive. They also question whether playdough, potato prints or macaroni necklaces should be used when some families cannot afford to put food on the table.
Meg Moss of Minimarc Childcare Centre says though that playdough is a great learning tool for young children.
“I haven't found anything that quite replaces it for helping children develop manipulative skills and it's fairly economic compared with commercial products,” she says. It's much easier for very small children to use, much easier than clay.”
But Judith Nowotarski of the New Zealand Educational Institute says playdough is a waste of perfectly good flour that could be made into bread.
“I don't think any culture intentionally goes in and says it's ok to play with kai, it's ok to play with food or play with ingredients. I don't think anybody does that in this day and age. We've got to think about sustainability,” she says.
Ms Nowotarski says some kohanga reo have stopped using food, including playdough, as a play tool because it's culturally insensitive and a waste.
“We removed things like pasta and so on for threading and baking for that reason,” she says. “There are families out there who struggle.”
But parents 3 News spoke to at an Auckland playground were happy for their children to play with food.
“It's cool, it's all fun and games and play and stuff for them,” says one.
“I don't see any problems with it whatsoever,” says another.
And while macaroni necklaces and potato prints have come off the play menu, Ms Moss says that at her centre playdough is here to stay.
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13/11/2012 9:42:01 a.m.
Stop killing creativity! wrote:
Saying that playdough is culturally insensitive toward Maori is implying that all Maori are poor. playdough has nothing to do with Maori culture. And saying that no one plays with food.... That is stupid. You make bread with your hands, baking is playing, making cakes with fondant animals.
Stop trying to kill imagination and creativity in the classroom!!
28/09/2012 9:27:08 a.m.
i can understand the view point of some of the poorer children not having the luxury to use food as a learning tool. that is understandable. however, i think that using those natural resources is a great, holistic way to enhance all areas of child development (and when we look at Maori philosophies they all encourage living holistically). especially like senses, to touch, smell, taste, learn. i am of Maori descent myself and am very involved in my culture and whanau. i can understand the view as well that we should not play with our food. however, if we consider it as scaffolding process teaching our children how to use those natural resources in a way that benefits them and their family. these are skills they will have for life and when they get older utilise and teach their own young
11/09/2012 4:45:45 p.m.
I read this a couple of weeks ago.... Utterly ridiculous... When does it all end ? Im so sick of this PC crap Will this now be the legacy we leave our kids ... NO PLAYING.
9/09/2012 5:56:49 p.m.
If the centers don't buy the flour, salt, oil, potatoes of the macaroni wouldn't it still be sitting on the shelves in the supermarket?
7/09/2012 9:54:12 p.m.
I can't believe this stupid woman is being given the time of day.
7/09/2012 1:18:15 p.m.
PC gone mad!!! Ridiculous....
4/09/2012 4:02:01 p.m.
Omg talk about going over board. This is getting silly as a kid I grow up with a single mother and we struggled but she made me play doh and macroni necklaces because they were so cheap and keept me happy. It was all we could afford this is so stupid! And I bet that the people that are actually struggling will more then likely think it's stupid.
3/09/2012 3:57:43 p.m.
I believe it is insensitive to use flour, oil, macaroni, potato etc for play when people go hungry.
2/09/2012 11:50:57 a.m.
I think Judith Nowotarski has been drinking too much of the political correctness cool aid. It's not cultural sensitivity as it's a sheer lack of humanity by a government that lets children go hungry.
1/09/2012 4:34:00 p.m.
WOW!!! What is this world coming too? Are parents not allowed a choice? I think it's fine for children to play with pasta and play dough. It helps there learning. I agree with Lisa who mentioned about the Aussie's banning hand stands in school! Come on it's pathetic. Are we going to become a nation or a world that needs to control everybody, in what we do or maybe even down to what we're allowed to say. I think there is too much PC here.
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