Good leadership essential for successful uptake of updated Te Whāriki

A new ERO report, Awareness and confidence to work with Te Whāriki (2017) reaffirms the importance of good leadership for a successful uptake of Te Whāriki across our Early Learning Services.

New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki was updated in April 2017. ERO is undertaking a series of evaluations focused its implementation across early learning services.

This initial evaluation explores how early learning services are engaging with the updated Te Whāriki, what support leaders and kaiako had accessed, the perceived barriers or challenges to implementation, and what further support leaders and kaiako need in order to implement Te Whāriki.

ERO’s findings highlight the importance of pedagogical leadership for successful implementation.

The evaluation also highlights the need for ongoing Professional Learning Development (PLD) to address variability in kaiako knowledge and understanding of the curriculum in general.

"Pedagogical leaders need to have the capability to build kaiako knowledge and understanding of Te Whāriki and what it means for their intentional teaching practice," said Sandra Collins, Senior Education Evaluator at ERO.

"Leaders need to think about what PLD they need for their early learning service and why. Who needs PLD and when?"

Key findings:

- leaders and kaiako reported a high degree of awareness of, and growing confidence to begin to work with Te Whāriki with 81% reporting they were confident to work with the updated curriculum document and just over half of these were already considering how to implement the updated curriculum

- confidence to work with Te Whāriki to support Māori children to enjoy educational success as Māori was not as high, 31% of services indicated they were not at all confident, or somewhat confident to work with Te Whāriki to support Māori learners

- uptake of PLD was high, 81% of services had accessed PLD from the range of opportunities available.

ERO has made some recommendations for leaders of early learning services for realising the vision Te Whāriki has for all learners:

- identify their professional learning and development priorities to better target PLD to individual leader and kaiako needs

- give priority to allocating time for kaiako to build their capability and capacity to effective implement Te Whāriki.

ERO visited 290 early learning services as a part of this evaluation.

ERO is continuing to evaluate the awareness and confidence of service leaders and kaiako as they begin to implement Te Whāriki. The next phase continues to focus on awareness and confidence. A further evaluation report will be published later in 2018 on the findings of the next phase of this evaluation.