ERO releases final report on implementation of Te Whāriki, NZ’s early childhood curriculum

ERO has released its final report and recommendations on implementation of Te Whāriki, New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum.

Since Te Whāriki was updated in 2017 ERO has undertaken a series of evaluations focusing on kaiako (teachers’) and leaders’ awareness and implementation of the early childhood curriculum.

ERO’s final report, Te Whāriki: Awareness towards implementation, summarises the series and includes the last two focus areas for the curriculum – how services decide ‘what learning matters here’ and how well they were developing learning-focused partnerships with parents and whānau.

The latest evaluation found that leaders and kaiako in:

  • half of the services surveyed were not yet focused on deciding ‘what learning matters here’ (i.e. how the curriculum should be applied locally) as they implemented Te Whāriki
  • most of the services had positive relationships with parents and whānau, but these were not always learning-focused partnerships.

“Some progress has been made on implementing the curriculum,” said the Chief Review Officer, Nicholas Pole, “but we still have a way to go.

“Most of the services reviewed had participated in professional learning (PLD) and development about Te Whāriki, including the webinar series, workshops, and internal PLD such as staff discussions and team meetings, but for many, this did not lead to shifts in practice.

“And while relations with parents and whānau were generally positive, many services 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.”

To support improvement Te Whāriki: Awareness towards implementation provides examples of what did ‘doing well’ looks like. These are based on the key findings of this and ERO’s earlier evaluations of Te Whāriki.

To help support services to improve their design and implementation of a local curriculum for children, in partnership with their parents and whānau, ERO is also:

  • 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.

The report also recommends that the Ministry of Education work with the sector to provide exemplars, resources and guidance to support providers to develop local curriculum in partnership with  parents and whanau.