Te Whāriki: Awareness towards implementation

We will soon be releasing the final report in our series of evaluations focusing on kaiako and leaders’ awareness and implementation of Te Whāriki (2017). ERO began this series of evaluations shortly after the release of Te Whāriki (2017), with a focus on kaiako and leaders’ progression from awareness and engagement with Te Whāriki, through to implementation.

This report summarises the key findings from the previous reports in the series, looking at how well leaders and kaiako in early childhood services focused on deciding what learning matters here and learning‑focused partnerships with parents and whānau as they went about implementing Te Whāriki (2017).

Service leaders and kaiako need to decide what learning matters in their service, to inform their local curriculum design and implementation. This, along with learning‑focused partnerships with parents and whānau, supports services to provide rich, meaningful learning experiences for children, to support their development.

We collected information about how kaiako and leaders focused on deciding what learning matters here from 290 early childhood services as part of their regular reviews through Term 4, 2018 and January 2019. Information about kaiako and leaders’ learning focused partnerships with parents and whānau was collected from 133 services as part of their regular reviews in Term 1, 2019.

Leaders and kaiako in half the 290 services were not yet focused on deciding what learning matters here as they implemented Te Whāriki (2017). While many services had taken steps to identify priorities for their service, few reflected these in their local curriculum, and the learning outcomes in Te Whāriki were not always included in their planning. Many had accessed professional learning and development (PLD). However, the PLD did not necessarily support their focus on deciding what learning matters here.  Internal evaluation, when it occurred, did not sufficiently relate to what learning matters.

Leaders and kaiako in most of the 133 services had positive relationships with parents and whānau but these were not always learning-focused partnerships. Leaders and kaiako did not always develop a plan with parents and whānau to support their child’s learning and progress. Many did not understand how to design a local curriculum in partnership with parents and whānau, and there was variability in how well leaders and kaiako were using internal evaluation to evaluate and improve engagement. A lack of learning-focused partnerships meant children’s learning experiences were not consistently linked with what parents and whānau knew about their child, or their aspirations.

Across the series of evaluations, ERO found approximately half the services in each evaluation had taken some steps to engage with Te Whāriki (2017), Many services struggled to design and implement a local curriculum. Children in these services were not participating in a curriculum that was meaningful in their context and learning opportunities were not maximised.

We want to support services to improve their design and implementation of a local curriculum for children, in partnership with their parents and whānau.

To help with this, ERO is:

  • developing a new approach to evaluating quality in early childhood services, supported by recently updated indicators of quality
  • supporting services to implement robust internal evaluation and associated quality improvement planning that sets out the actions being taken to improve quality, using the indicators of quality
  • focusing on the impact of improvement actions for children, and their progress towards the learning outcomes in Te Whāriki.