Appendix 2: Partnership with Whānau in ECE Services Evaluative Framework


Investigative Prompts

Best Practice Indicators

Evaluative Question 1

To what extent does this service understand and value the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau particularly when the child and whānau transition to the service?

4 =to a great extent

3 = to some extent

2 = limited extent

1 = none

  • How does the service ensure that children and whānau feel welcome? Consider transition practices
  • How does the service welcome Māori children and their whānau?
  • How well does the service understand the concept of whānau in a Māori context?

First impressions are welcoming. Māori language and culture is highly and meaningfully visible in the physical environment.

Welcoming protocols are decided upon with whānau Māori and practised in a Māori appropriate way.

Educators spend significant time talking with and listening to whānau.

There is a space in the centre where whānau can sit and talk, be with their child and be with adults.

Educators listen (deeply) to what whānau are saying.

Educators give whānau time to feel comfortable to want to talk about their child.

Educators understand that transition is a process.

Educators and managers review and reflect on their transition practices and seek to make improvements for the benefit of whānau and their child/children. They gather narrative evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of transition procedures for Māori children and their whānau. Identifying and removing barriers to successful transition is evident.

The service has documented expectations and systems for managing positive transition processes.

  • What does the service know about the success of its transition practices?
  • How have they responded?

Educators demonstrate warm, respectful relationships with Māori children and their whānau.

Educators suspend judgement about whānau engagement.

Educators recognise that their role is to ensure that the mana/prestige of the child is maintained.

Educators seek to build relationships with whānau Māori and their child/children.

Whānau express a strong sense of belonging and feel valued for their contributions to the service.

Whānau report that there is a good match between the values in Māori homes and the ECE setting.

  • What does the service know about the child’s pepeha, whakapapa, hapū and iwi connections?

Educators find out about the Māori Child (whakapapa, context and connections).

Educators know, understand and acknowledge what is important for Māori.

Educators share their whakapapa, context and connections with whānau.

Educators value and respect what Māori children and whānau bring to the service.

Educators understand the place of the Māori child within his/her wider whānau.

Educators understand that Māori children come from diverse backgrounds and contexts.

Educators maintain an holistic view of the Māori child and his/her whānau.

Evaluative Question 2

To what extent have managers and educators built relationships with whānau of Māori children?

  • How does the service demonstrate responsive and reciprocal relationships?

Educators allow time and space for Māori children and their whānau to develop good relationships with educators.

Educators are building their understanding and awareness of biculturalism and strategies for developing reciprocal relationships.

Educators use self review to examine and improve their practice for building and sustaining responsive and reciprocal relationships with Whānau Māori. They know what the barriers are to building relationships with Whānau Māori and address them. They recognise how relationships are negotiated and developed (“power” concept is understood).

There is an absence of deficit thinking among educators.

Educators do not trivialise or demonstrate tokenism.

Educators have a good understanding of local contexts, whānau and iwi histories.

Educators and whānau express a shared responsibility for education and care.

Educators relate to Māori children and their whānau in consistent, constant and constructive ways.

  • How does the service include whānau in making decisions about children’s learning and the programme?

Educators use a diverse range of communication strategies.

Educators find ways to include and involve whānau in planning for and assessing children’s learning and development.

Educators move beyond “Pākehā” ways to engage with Whānau Māori in ways that foster a climate of collaboration and genuine power sharing.

Educators plan and implement programmes that respond to the needs and aspirations of Whānau Māori.

Whānau are visibly present in the service. There is mutual trust and confidence between whānau and educators.

Intergenerational involvement of whānau is evident. For example Nanny, Koro, Aunties, Uncles etc.

An atmosphere of mutual respect and valuing of Māori is present in the service.

  • What does the service know about its community?
  • How well positioned is the service to encourage and support Māori participation in the service?

Managers and educators have a good knowledge of their community.

They have well developed policy and procedure for appropriately supporting the induction and orientation of Māori children and their whānau into the service.

Evaluative Question 3

To what extent does the service work in partnership with whānau of Māori children?

  • How has self review been used to enhance partnership with Whānau Māori?

Managers and educators regularly review centre practices and challenge their own assumptions. They also review the impact of strategies on Māori children and their whānau, and make changes as a result.

Educators ensure that whānau have equitable opportunities to be involved in the service.

Educators involve whānau in meaningful and appropriate decision making processes. Māori aspirations and expectations are evident in the guiding document of the service. Eg Philosophy, strategic and annual planning, self review.

  • What does the service know about whānau aspirations for their child/children?

Educators make time to talk with whānau to find out about aspirations and expectations.

Educators understand that whānau aspirations are personal and they suspend judgements.

Educators know about and value the aspirations of Whānau Māori.

Educators demonstrate knowledge that meaningful relationships embedded are at the heart of pedagogical practice.

  • What does the service know about the attendance of Māori children?
  • What does the service know about Māori children who leave the service before turning five?

How has the service responded to the information?

Managers and educators analyse and review attendance data for Māori children. They identify trends and patterns and seek to understand these.

Managers and educators use attendance data analysis to inform their self review of their relationships and partnership with Whānau Māori.

  • What opportunities do whānau have to participate in conversations about their child’s learning and development?

Educators involve whānau in assessment in meaningful ways, co-construction of learning outcomes is evident.

Educators reflect on Māori children’s cultural identity when assessing learning and development.

Educators demonstrate that they know about and use Māori pedagogy.

Educators involve teachers, whānau and the child in assessment.

Educators develop collaborative approaches to working with whānau.

Educators value what whānau bring in meaningful ways.

Educators provide a variety of entry points for whānau to participate in assessment, they minimise barriers.

  • How does the service include whānau in the programme?
  • How does the programme reflect Māori language, culture, history, values and practices?

Educators involve whānau (eg. Kaumātua) in the programme.

Educators are open to the expertise of others and value listening and face to face communication.

Educators and whānau decide on appropriate contexts for learning together.

Educators support whānau to contribute their skills and knowledge.

Educators demonstrate a good understanding of Māori values, beliefs and practices.

Educators are aware of and value the specific language, identity, roles and responsibilities of the tangata whenua in their area.

Educators listen and accept Māori children as they are – non-judgemental. They are respectful of what Whānau Māori want for their children and respond accordingly.

Educators encourage whānau to take leadership roles where appropriate.

Whānau have a strong sense of belonging and contribution to the service.

Resources used to inform indicators

  1. The Philosophy of Te Whatu Pōkeka – Rita Walker(Ministry of Education, 2009)
  2. Whakawhanaungatanga: partnerships in bicultural development in early childhood education and care –Jenny Ritchie and Cheryl Rau(Ritchie & Rau, 2005b)
  3. Te Puawaitanga: Partnerships with tamariki and whānau in bicultural early childhood education and care - Jenny Ritchie and Cheryl Rau(Ritchie & Rau, 2005a)
  4. Strengthening responsive and reciprocal relationships in a whānau tangata centre – Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips and Margaret Carr(Phillips & Carr, 2006)
  5. Pages 5-27 Success for Māori children in Early Childhood Services May 2010 (Good practice)(Ministry of Education, 2009)
  6. Pages 45-49 and 55-58 of Success for Māori children in Early Childhood Services May 2010
  7. 7. Pages 40-43 and 54-63 Te Whāriki(Ministry of Education, 1996)
  8. 8. Poipoia te tamaiti kia tū tangata: identity, belonging and transition (Ritchie & Rau, 2010)
  9. 9. Weaving Te Whāriki (Nuttall, 2003)

References for Indicators

Ministry of Education, T. (1996). Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mā ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa. Early Childhood Curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education, T. (2009). Te Whatu Pōkeka: kaupapa Māori assessment for learning early childhood exemplars. Wellington.

Nuttall, J. (2003). Weaving Te Whāriki: Aotearoa New Zealand's early childhood curriculum document in theory and practice. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Phillips, J. C., & Carr, M. (2006). Strengthening responsive and reiciprocal relationships in a whānau tangata centre: an action research project. Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. Retrieved from

Ritchie, J., & Rau, C. (2005a). Te Pūāwaitanga - Partnerships with tamariki and whānau in bicultural early childhood care and education. Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. Retrieved from

Ritchie, J., & Rau, C. (2005b). Whakawhanaungatanga-Partnerships in bicultural development in early childhood care and education. Retrieved from

Ritchie, J., & Rau, C. (2010). Poipoia te tamaiti kia tā tangata: Identity, belonging and transition. The first years: Ngā tau tuatahi. New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education, 12 (1), 22.