Barriers and challenges

The barriers and challenges in this evaluation largely reflect those reported by ERO in July 2018, with the main barriers to implementation related to time and variable levels of kaiako understanding within a service.

Time to engage with Te Whāriki and in PLD is a significant barrier to implementation for leaders and kaiako in many services as they begin to work with the updated curriculum document.

Getting everyone on ‘the same page’ was a recurring theme in the findings of this evaluation. Leaders and kaiako were at different stages of their own learning and understanding about Te Whāriki and how to engage with it. They also have different experiences of working with Te Whāriki. This variability was impacting negatively on the consistency of assessment, planning and teaching practice in some of the services.

We also found different levels of enthusiasm and commitment to ongoing learning in some of the services. For example, some leaders and kaiako were finding it difficult to move from the familiarity and comfort they had with the 1996 version of Te Whāriki to the updated 2017 document. PLD providers were needing to change mind-sets of some leaders and kaiako and shift quite fixed ways of working with Te Whāriki. Turnover of leaders and kaiako and changes to service ownership were also factors negatively impacting on engagement with Te Whāriki.

Leadership (or lack of it) was a challenge, especially where leaders did not have the knowledge, enthusiasm or commitment to lead engagement with Te Whāriki. Where services had their pedagogical leader involved in Ministry of Education-funded PLD, concern was expressed that the PLD was too focused on the online component rather than face to face.

Barriers also included issues of access to PLD and the quality of PLD available, especially in relation to the workshops. For some services, PLD needed to be better tailored for teams with different strengths, knowledge and understanding. In other services leaders and kaiako were waiting for PLD to be advertised rather than being proactive and seeking out what was available, for example online. Other barriers included isolation and access to PLD for unqualified staff.

Challenges for services included finding ways to familiarise parents and whānau with Te Whāriki and encouraging them to contribute to their child’s assessment and learning. Leaders and kaiako commented that it wasn’t easy to help parents and whānau understand what’s different in
Te Whāriki and they wanted more resources for parents and whānau. In a few services, leaders and kaiako commented that shifting thinking and practice from self review to internal evaluation and what that meant for practice was quite challenging and an area for further support.