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Manukau Family Literacy Programme (MFLP)

The Manukau Family Literacy Programme (MFLP) is a unique, effective intergenerational literacy programme that provides both parent and child with real learning benefits and tangible outcomes. Working alongside both teachers and their children, parents are able to not only affect their child's learning, but simultaneously improve their own education.

A new programme based on MFLP was developed called Whanau Ara Mua

Research clearly demonstrates that the impact of having parents actively involved in their child's learning should not be underestimated; the effects are deep and far reaching and MFLP was developed with this top of mind.

It is a free, full time, one year programme divided into four components:

  1. Adult Education - Delivered by an accredited tertiary institution on the school site. The adult education programme runs for approximately 20 hours per week (plus additional self-directed learning) and focuses on developing literacy skills. Adult students work towards gaining a Certificate in Introduction to Early Childhood Education.
  2. Parent Education - Woven throughout the Adult Education Programme, this component of MFLP works to strengthen the parents' role as 'first-teachers' and build family literacy.
  3. Child's Education - as delivered by the school or early childhood education centre.
  4. Parent and Child Time Together (PACTT) - A pivotal part of MFLP. PACTT gives the adult student an opportunity to actively engage in their child's school or early childhood activities. There are three types of PACTT:
    • Tahi PACTT – Each day the adult student spends approximately 10-15 minutes in their child’s classroom working one-on-one with their child.
    • Roopu (Class) PACTT – Once a month, adult students and PACTT children engage in a planned literacy experience such as a library visit.
    • Whanau PACTT – Once a term, whanau and extended family are invited to join thegroup for a shared event such as a quiz night or a barbeque.

Click to see a short video on MFLP.  

The challenges for community wellbeing in Manukau are these:

  • Adults with few or no qualifications
  • Low participation rates in early childhood education
  • Student achievement in schools
  • Family and community engagement with schools
  • Positive family/whanau relationships.

According to the Social Report 2006 (Ministry of Social Development), in the year ended June 2005, 62% of Maori and 50% of Pacific adults aged 25-64 years held a secondary school qualification above School Certificate equivalent (compared to 79% of European New Zealanders).

In the Mangere, Otara, Papatoetoe and Manurewa wards of Manukau City, there are 37,365 working age adults with no qualifications, and 15,765 adults with only fifth form qualifications.

  • Otara (43% of all working age adults)
  • Mangere (41%)
  • Manurewa (43%)
  • Papatoetoe (40%)

There is a high correlation between children with literacy difficulties and parents with low literacy levels and few qualifications. Research demonstrates that by working with parents simultaneously with children there is potential to break this intergenerational cycle. While the programmes focus on the adult learner, in her/his role as both a future employee, as parent and family decision-maker, and as a community member, the Manukau Family Literacy Programmes also seek to build the engagement of families in schools.

In the programmes currently operating in Manukau, the families come from Pasifika, Maori and other cultural backgrounds. Working with parents simultaneously with their children provides opportunities for individual and family learning and strengthening of intergenerational relationships or whanaungatanga, which is fundamental to positive whãnau advancement.

Integration of curriculum for adult learning and children's learning has taken place through Stories Together, a shared project for site partners.

 The Manukau Family Literacy Programmes (MFLP) are designed around the following elements;

  • Credit Value - The tertiary partner delivers a programme which provides the adult learner with valid credits for ongoing learning or future employment. The credit value offers a pathway out of poverty for families: the PricewaterhouseCoopers report valued this at over $200 per week for a family.
  • Inclusiveness - All four components must be balanced and included in the programme.
  • Intensity - The programme is full-time, or of sufficient intensity to make a significant difference to families.
  • Duration - The programme is long enough to sustain early outcomes over time.
  • Integration - The programme is delivered on one site, or adjacent sites, by partners working together in an integrated manner.
  • Goal-directed - Goals for the programme are related to education and/or employment outcomes for the adult; to literacy development for the child/children, and social well-being for the families within their community.
  • Flexibility is required to provide a "wrap-around" learning environment which also meets health and social services needs for the family.
  • Holisitic - The learning needs of the adults will prepare them for their roles as workers and parents and community members.
  • Professional cross-sector action -The tertiary lecturer/teacher works with the early childhood and school teachers to ensure that the programme is delivered to meet the needs of the whole family.
  • Co-ordination - COMET does not deliver the teaching components of the programme, but provides the co-ordination needed amongst the education sector partners.
  • Works to enhance the curriculum that already exists - The children's education component will be structured around current curriculum, eg. Te Whaariki, National English Curriculum, etc. The adult education component is negotiable at each site. Six programmes on Manukau sites in 2007 will deliver the Certificate in Introduction to Early Childhood Education offered by AUT. Appropriate courses will usually be offered at Levels 2, 3 and 4 of the Qualifications Framework. However, a wide range of literacy skills are presented by the learners, and literacy development is a key purpose for the programme.

Research and Resources

The MFLP programme development has been accompanied by evaluations of outcomes, commissioned from the University of Auckland and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and the preparation of resources to support policy developmnent and share programme design.


Final integrated report COMET evaluation March 2005

Children's/Family Centres: An Integrated Approach to Supporting Families with Children