Engaging with Te Whāriki (2017)

A new ERO evaluation has found early learning services still have some way to go to fully engage with the updated Te Whāriki curriculum released last year.

The evaluation focused on the steps leaders and kaiako were taking to review and design their local curriculum and work with the learning outcomes to determine their priorities for children’s learning.

“We continue to see a high degree of awareness of, and growing confidence as services begin to engage with Te Whāriki with 92% reporting they were confident to work with the updated curriculum document and nearly half of these were already considering how to implement the updated curriculum,” said Sandra Collins, Senior Education Evaluator at ERO.

“However, confidence to work with Te Whāriki to support Māori children to enjoy educational success as Māori continues to be an area where leaders and kaiako report they need further support.”

Uptake of professional learning and development (PLD) continues to be high, 82% of services reported they had accessed PLD from the range of opportunities available. This is commendable.

However, the evaluation findings highlight considerable variability in understanding of what it means to review and design (weave) a local curriculum for children based on the framework of principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes in Te Whāriki.

“While some were beginning with a review of their philosophy, many leaders and kaiako were unsure about what to do and where to start.”

The findings highlighted wide variability in understanding and practice in working with the 20 learning outcomes in Te Whāriki as part of assessment, planning and evaluation.

ERO recommendations include some questions for leaders and kaiako to ask themselves as they engage more deeply with the updated curriculum.

“What are our curriculum priorities? What really matters for the children in our service?”
“What do these learning outcomes look like in terms of children’s progress and learning in our service?”
“What do we know and understand about kaupapa Māori theory?” What expertise do we have to increase our understanding of practices that enable Māori children to experience success as Māori?
“What are our next steps as we engage with Te Whāriki? What support do we need to take these steps?”