Activity for ‘My Preschool: O La’u Ā’oga ‘Āmata’

My Preschool: O La’u Ā’oga ‘Āmata

by Tolo Pereira

Illustrated beautifully using bright, simple images, this book tells the reader about daily life in a Samoan preschool. The text is given in both Samoan and English, and provides the reader with descriptions of different parts of the day. Special features of the Samoan character of the preschool include worship time and mat time, where the children learn about different aspects of Samoan culture. The book is designed as a discussion point for children, where they can talk about the pictures and what they tell about going to a Samoan preschool. Teachers notes are also provided.

This book was nominated for its large, glossy presentation and because it promotes the language of Samoa. It was also nominated because it presents Samoan culture in a very accessible way, as well as presenting ideas which children can easily relate to.

Activity: LANGUAGES OF THE PACIFIC (Learning Languages)

Curriculum Level 1 (and at preschool level)(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies

  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • participating and contributing
  • relating to others



The text in this story is written in both Samoan and English, so provides an excellent resource for use in supporting the learning of a new language. It could also be used very effectively with young bilingual learners.

1. Invite older children or adults from the community, who are able to read and speak in Samoan. You may have students in the class who are able to read and speak Samoan – and are willing to do so in front of the class. Ask them to come and read the story (in both English and Samoan) and talk about the ideas presented in it. Children should be encouraged to

  • talk about the things that are the same about the preschool in the story and their own experiences
  • talk about the things that are different
  • at preschool level, use the pictures to develop opportunities to talk about colours, shapes, counting objects etc…

2. Re-read the story, just in Samoan this time. As you (or the visitor) read, stop along the way and ask children if they can recognize any of the words being read.

eg. “On this page, we are reading about meeting the teacher. Which word do you think might be ‘teacher’ in Samoan? Now as I read this next page, listen again for that word faia’oga/ teacher.”

Some helpful vocabulary:faiā’oga = teachertala = story

Tusi Pa’ia  =   bible

tusi = book

mea = sand

vai = water

uila = bike

polo = ball

sisiva =  dance

tasi, lua, tolu, tiū = one, two, three, four

3. Because interaction is an important aspect of language learning, involve students in an interaction task that allows them to practice reading and saying this new vocabulary.

They could each make a label for different things in the classroom, featuring both English and Samoan language, as well as a picture. Labels can be displayed around the classroom.

4. Ask the visitor to choose a short passage from the story. Have the words of this passage so that they are visible to all students, and have them learn how to read this passage, using correct pronunciation. Children could go away and practice with a buddy, then “perform” the passage to the class and visitor.

Curriculum Links Learning Languages Proficiency Descriptor

  • students can understand and use familiar expressions and everyday vocabulary (Level 1 & 2)


Selecting and using language, symbols and texts to communicate

  • understand and produce information and ideas (Level 1, 2 & 3)

Participating and contributing in communities

  • use cultural knowledge to communicate appropriately (Level 1, 2 & 3)

Language Knowledge

  • recognise and describe ways in which the target language is organized (Level 1 & 2)
  • compare and contrast languages (Level 1, 2 & 3)

Cultural Knowledge

  • recognise and describe ways in which the target culture(s) is/ are organized (Level 1 & 2)
  • compare and contrast cultural practices (Level 1, 2 & 3)

Links to other books in the PPBC

Watercress Tuna and the Children of Champion Street by Patricia GraceKa’akapera Tikai by Lino NelisiTane Steals the Show by Lino Nelisi

Sione’s Talo by Lino Nelisi

My School Bag, When I go to Church by Tolo Pereira

Upside-down Face by Lemalu Ros Afamasaga

O Le Fa’aipoipoga by Emma Kruse Vaai

The Woven Flax Kete by Angie Belcher

O Le Aso S Pa’eoa’e by Saron Aiono-Iosefa

– all of these books are available in dual or multi language versions, to support bilingual and new language learners.

Other ideas

  • Use the story as a model for children’s own writing about what happens at their own school or preschool (English)
  • This book could be used in class with Samoan language speaking students to develop their home language, as well as support their English language learning (Learning Languages)