AUCKLAND – Pacific Kids’ Learning (PKL) is taking the village online with the launch of the Pacific Digital Library – a pioneering streaming platform dedicated to creating and sharing Pacific-inspired content for children, parents, and educators. The safe, ad-free platform features hundreds of Pacific cultural songs, dances, stories, and educational animations and resources in nine Pacific languages and English.
In an era where Pacific languages are endangered and cultural knowledge gaps are widening, social enterprise Pacific Kids’ Learning – recipient of the 2023 Sunpix Pacific Education Award – exists to revitalise and strengthen culture and identity in children and young people. Designed with children in mind, the Pacific Digital Library – free for a limited time – marks a significant milestone in cultural preservation and digital education in the global Pacific, including diaspora.
Theresa Tupuola-Sorenson, co-founder and Education Director of PKL said: “We know firsthand the importance of trying to preserve our Pacific cultures in a world of competing priorities. Busy families don’t often have time to share their traditions with their tamaiti.
“By marrying technology with tradition, we can help bridge the cultural knowledge gap while creating entertaining and mana-enhancing content for our kids.”
The launch of the Pacific streaming service is the culmination of years of knowledge collection, community collaboration, and care from the PKL team and partners. Drawing upon the expertise of educators, elders, cultural and language experts, composers, and content creators across the Pacific region, the platform offers a vibrant library of animations and resources tailored to the diverse cultures of Pacific children.
“As we raise our children in the digital age, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that the village voice is present online to strengthen their connection to culture, language and identity – anytime, anywhere,” Tupuola-Sorenson said.
“It’s our mission to empower Pacific children, families, and educators with knowledge, skills, and pride in their culture, and provide a platform for wider audiences to learn and love the richness of Pacific cultures of which there are many.”
The values-driven, culturally affirming content includes world-first innovations that combine the beauty and grace of Pacific music and dance with motion-capture technology and animation, continuing PKL’s work of merging traditional culture with new technology.
“For Pacific people, dance is traditional storytelling and it’s another way that children can experience their stories and languages – through movement and music,” Tupuola-Sorenson said.
“The library shows how stories are shared traditionally across the Pacific – through song, dance and intergenerational storytelling. By using the medium of animation, we are able to sit in the crossroads of education and entertainment, or “edutainment”.”
The launch of the Pacific streaming service comes at a time when the demand for diverse, safe, and inclusive educational content and resources is greater than ever. As families navigate the challenges of remote learning, protecting young audiences online, and seeking engaging content for their children, PKL provides a valuable resource that celebrates cultural diversity and fosters cross-cultural understanding.
The self-funded platform is aimed at ECE and primary school-aged children. A teacher subscription, free for a limited time, comes paired with lesson plans, activity sheets, and other supporting materials to help educators guide young learners on an educational adventure and upskill teachers in cultural competency.
Some content has previously been made with the support of the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Creative New Zealand, and other funders. As a social enterprise, Pacific Kids’ Learning uses any profits to continuously grow its content library to ensure that children have access to high-quality content that reflects their cultural heritage.
The free trial is for a three month period. Subscribers will be able to upgrade to a premium account featuring new and exclusive content, and there will always be some free content for families to enjoy. For more information about Pacific Kids’ Learning and to start streaming original Pacific content today, visit pacificdigitallibrary.com.