Kaiako provide activities and resources in response to children’s curiosity about their teeth.
Welcome to Menemene Mai (Smile) the Early childhood oral health toolkit for kaiako in Waitaha Canterbury. Here you'll find activity sheets, strategies, information about tools, key messages, brochures and posters to assist you in your inquiry process.
Kaiako provide activities and resources in response to children’s curiosity about their teeth.
Tamariki use a mirror to check their teeth and smiles. Kaiako talk with tamariki about how to keep their smiles bright.
Tamariki discover that animals like cats' and dogs' teeth come in different shapes and sizes.
Children discover how to look after their teeth and how they can keep their smiles bright.
Tamariki discover the difference tooth-friendly drinks and sugar-sweetened drinks have on eggs.
Take home activity for children to complete at home with a whānau member. Join the dots to create a tooth. Home activity also available in Māori, Samoan, Simplified Chinese, Tagalog and Tongan.
Games to strengthen oral health language and memory.
Tamariki draw a smile to take home to a whānau member. Home activity also available in Māori, Samoan, Simplified Chinese, Tagalog and Tongan.
Tamariki learn to brush their teeth twice a day and to brush teeth with whānau.
Children colour a bathroom door hanger. Hangers can be taken home to place on bathroom doors. Door hanger also available in Māori, Samoan, Simplified Chinese, Tagalog and Tongan.
Children sing songs together. Featuring new teeth themed lyrics alongside well-known tunes.
Tamariki discover how much sugar is in various drinks by counting out teaspoons of sugar.
Tamariki read a book together and talk about eating well (eating ‘kapai kai’)
Tamariki read books (with kaiako) to discover how to keep our lovely smiles.
Become familiar with how the Community Dental Service works. Staff may support whānau who have questions about their child’s dental care. Poster also available in Māori, Samoan, Simplified Chinese, Tagalog and Tongan.
Staff and whānau work together to develop Oral Health Guidelines/Policy.
Kaiako we spoke with in relation to this ‘Menemene Mai’ oral health toolkit, wanted strategies to use in their settings. Below are some ‘Top Pick’ Strategies.
We emphasise the following key messages in our mahi:
Frame oral health work within a Te Whare Tapa Whā model and/or Fonofale model, so discussed in an holistic context of whole body health, protecting our body dignity, connection between whole self, body and spirit- impact on wellbeing of good (and poor) oral health.
Snippets are key messages in a downloadable poster format. They are available here in Māori, Samoan, Simplified Chinese, Tagalog, Tongan and English.
They help me smile, chew and talk
Morning and night - with fluoride toothpaste
Brush teeth together with Whānau
Don’t rinse after brushing, spit!
And plain milk to drink
Choose Healthy Kai
Brush with a favourite toy...
Choose fluoride toothpaste
Brush when your child’s first tooth appears
Brush teeth together as whānau, after breakfast...
Choose tooth-friendly water and plain milk to drink
Help tamariki brush until they turn 8 years old
Change your toothbrush with the season
Get them checked for free each year...
Tamariki annual teeth check. It’s free.
View and download all snippets.
View and download all snippets in Māori.
View and download all snippets in Samoan.
View and download all snippets in Simplified Chinese.
View and download all snippets in Tagalog.
View and download all snippets in Tongan.
‘Teeth Tools’, is the first component of ‘Menemene Mai’, an early childhood oral health toolkit for kaiako in Waitaha/Canterbury.
It is a physical set of teaching tools and resources (in the photo to the right) that can be loaned to you from ‘CHIC’ (Community Health Information Centre), Community and Public Health.
To borrow 'Teeth Tools' (for free) contact email@example.com or phone 03 378 6721
The second component of ‘Menemene Mai’ the early childhood oral health toolkit, are the online resources found on the Activities and Brochures and Posters web pages at the following web address: www.cdhb.health.nz/menemenemai or www.cdhb.health.nz/smile
For any queries about teeth tools, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 378 6737
Note: You will need to sign a borrower’s form saying you agree to take care of this kit. Tamariki need to be supervised when using these teeth tools.
Contact: Sonya Donnelly, Awarua Whānau Services, Invercargill
Phone: 03 218 6668
Price: $150 + postage (approx. $15 to Christchurch)
Contact: Maree Lamerton, Northland District Health Board
Email: Maree.Lamerton@northlanddhb.org.nz (or email@example.com)
Phone: 09 430 4100 ext 60608 Mobile: 021 607 470.
Price: Each large, spiral-bound book is $17.25 (incl GST), plus courier (approx. $24.50 incl GST to Christchurch). $41.75 for one book, or $59 for both books, one in English, one in Te Reo Māori.
Other books may be purchased from a supplier OR are available from Christchurch City Libraries.
Contact: Modern Teaching Aids, Auckland
Phone: 0800 80 80 44 Mobile: 021 607 470
Price: $67.79 + GST + freight (approx $14.84 to Christchurch)= $82.63 incl GST
Contact: ‘Teacher Talk’, Plimmerton
Phone: 04 232 7858
Contact: Tracy Dunn, Ezy Ed Aotearoa, Christchurch
Mobile: 021 162 2006
Note: Quoted prices as at May 2019.
Many oral health teaching resources are available to download or order on the Community Health Information Centre (CHIC) website.
You can also print and use the CHIC order form below:
A list of downloadable oral health resources available from the Menemene Mai website.
Image of resource
Baby teeth matter
Health Promotion Agency & Ministry of Health
Encouraging tamariki to be proud of their smile
Choose Water or Milk first
Encourages tamariki and their whānau to choose water of milk to drink
Spit don’t rinse
Message for tamariki and whānau to spit toothpaste out after they brush, but no need to rinse their mouth with water.
Dental care provided by the Community Dental Service (CDS327)
For parents and caregivers. Explains where their child will have a free dental check and the type of care that is provided. Includes contact details for the Community Dental Service
Tips for a healthy smile
For tamariki and whānau. Explains how to keep your smile healthy. Activity on opposite side – ‘Send a Smile’.
This download contains tips in 7 languages: English, Te Reo, Tongan, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Tagalog.
The use of this whakatauākī, is to indicate what the teeth are and how they contribute to the well-being of an individual. Used in this context the teeth contribute to the strength of the shark, as the strength of the shark is its teeth.
Under Te Whare Tapa Whā, the four cornerstones of Māori health, oral health comes under Te Taha Tinana, however, the other three Taha are also encompassed within Te Taha Tinana. Te Taha Tinana becomes the vessel for which health is epitomised, and the teeth are a healthy reflection of the individual.
by Ruru Hona, Pou Whirinaki, Canterbury District Health Board
Menemene Mai has been created for and with kaiako of early childhood education settings in Waitaha/Canterbury. Menemene Mai supports kaiako promote oral health so that children (with their whānau) are increasingly capable of:
This purpose aligns with the role of kaiako in Te Whāriki Strand 1, and in Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo.
Menemene Mai is a collaborative response by Community and Public Health (CPH) and Community Dental Service (CDS) to:
Good oral health supports not only physical health, but also psychological and social wellbeing. The models of health below illustrate this holistic approach.
 Dr Mason Durie's whare tapawha model compares hauora to the four walls of a whare, each wall representing a different dimension: taha wairua (the spiritual side); taha hinengaro (thoughts and feelings); taha tinana (the physical side); and taha whanau (family). All four dimensions are necessary for strength and symmetry. (Adapted from Mason Durie's Whaiora: Māori Health Development. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1994, page 70).
Establishing good oral health habits in the home early, benefits children over their whole lifetime. Developing good oral health practices in early childhood will increase the likehood that they will be maintained into school age and continue in the home environment.
Sadly, some oral health statistics don’t make happy reading. 37% children (59% Maori, 68% Pacific) aged 5 in Canterbury DHB region have dental caries. They have an average of 1.7 (3.0 for Maori, 3.8 for Pacific) decayed, missing or filled teeth.  www.health.govt.nz/nz-health-statistics/health-statistics-and-data-sets/oral-health-data-and-stats/age-5-and-year-8-oral-health-data-community-oral-health-service
Menemene Mai is designed to support your inquiry processes as kaiako, providing some ‘top picks’ as starters for the particular focus you, your tamariki and whānau want to take.
We would like to thank tamariki, whānau and kaiako at Early Childhood Education settings in Waitaha Canterbury for their energy, patience, and guidance in developing Menemene Mai, in particular Aratupu Preschool & Nursery, Kidditech Early Learning Centre, Kidsfirst Kindergartens Edmonds Smith Street, Hagley Community Pre-school, New Beginnings Preschool, Tino e Tasi Preschool and Rangi Ruru Pre-School.
Particular thanks to tamariki, whānau and kaiako from Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Whānau Tahi, Tino e Tasi Preschool, Aratupu Preschool & Nursery, and BestStart Montessori MonaVale who generously gave their support and permission for these photos to be used in Menemene Mai. We think you’ll agree they are stunning advocates for smiling and taking good care of our teeth!
Kia ora also to Awarua Whānau Services, Toi te Ora Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, Te Wahaora Roopu (Northland Oral Health Promoters Group), and South Canterbury District Health Board for sharing their oral health education materials.
The Menemene Mai Toolkit was designed for and with kaiako in Waitaha/Canterbury New Zealand. Kaiako in other places are welcome to download the activities and use the site, but please do not copy or reproduce the Menemene Mail toolkit content without permission. Email: Community Dental Service and Community and Public Health.
Page last updated: 7 September 2022
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