Services’ preparedness to implement Te Whāriki

This section provides an overview of ERO’s key findings for ‘well‑prepared’, ‘preparation‑underway’, and ‘not‑prepared’ services. It is based on the rubric used by ERO review teams to make an overall “best-fit” judgement about preparedness in the services evaluated (see Appendix 1).

Only a small percentage of services were well prepared to implement Te Whāriki

Services well prepared to implement Te Whāriki (2017) displayed the following characteristics:

Leaders and kaiako are engaged in PLD to build their capability to implement Te Whāriki

Leaders and kaiako were engaging in a mix of externally‑provided and internally‑led PLD. This included attending workshops and accessing online webinars and resources. In many of these services leaders were accessing internal and external PLD to build their own capability to lead the  implementation of Te Whāriki.

Through PLD, leaders and kaiako are building a shared understanding of Te Whāriki and they are clear about the implications of this updated curriculum for their practice

PLD was helping to build shared understandings and a sense of everyone ‘being on the same page’ with Te Whāriki. PLD was increasing the confidence of leaders and kaiako to work with Te Whāriki. It resulted in shifts in practice such as more intentional teaching, rich discussions about children’s learning, and increased reflection on practice.

Appraisal processes are supporting leaders and kaiako to implement Te Whāriki

In most of these services, leaders and/or kaiako had appraisal goals linked to Te Whāriki. Some of these goals were more specific and explicit than others. In a few services, the goals provided a focus for kaiako to reflect more deeply on their teaching practice and outcomes for children.

Leaders and kaiako have reviewed their service’s philosophy to align it to Te Whāriki

These well‑prepared services had recently reviewed their philosophy to align it with Te Whāriki. Most services had involved parents and whānau in the consultation process. The review of their philosophy was triggered by many factors including review of strategic and annual planning, and changes such as new team members, owners or leaders.

Leaders and kaiako have reviewed and designed their local curriculum to reflect the learning valued in their service (priorities for children’s learning)

In these services the concept of local curriculum was shifting from previous ways of planning to thinking about their priorities in relation to the learning outcomes in Te Whāriki and the aspirations of parents and whānau. Leaders and kaiako were able to talk about the factors influencing their local curriculum.

We still found variable understanding of what is meant by the concept of a ‘local curriculum’ even in these services, resulting in varied practices.

Similarly, we found varied understanding of the concept of priorities for children’s learning and what informs these priorities. The nature of the priorities also varied, ranging from very broad to specific for individual children. 

Leaders and kaiako have identified their next steps for implementation in relation to Te Whāriki

These services were generally clear about the steps they needed to take to implement Te Whāriki. Steps largely focused on further PLD, engaging in ongoing internal evaluation around specific topics, or evaluating their implementation progress.

Just over one‑third of services had begun to prepare to implement Te Whāriki

Leaders and kaiako with preparation underway had begun to take steps such as engaging in PLD, reviewing the service’s philosophy and/or identifying priorities for children’s learning. They were developing confidence in working with Te Whāriki. Some were in the early stages of engaging with PLD. Others were not engaging with Te Whāriki deeply enough to make the required shifts in the thinking and practice necessary to be well prepared to implement Te Whāriki. They were in the early stages of knowing about the impact of PLD, and needed to consider how to make more deliberate use of appraisal to support their implementation.

More than half of services were not prepared to implement Te Whāriki

ERO found a variety of factors that contributed to these services not being prepared to implement Te Whāriki. Common factors included the need for PLD for the whole team, or for further PLD that moved beyond awareness to deeper engagement with the expectations in the updated curriculum document. A lack of leadership and/or confidence to work with Te Whāriki was an issue for some of these services along with having more pressing priorities. Some of these services had experienced considerable staff change. One‑fifth of these services had a change of owner, one‑quarter had changes of manager, supervisor or head teacher, and nearly one‑third had other staff changes.

Playcentres were more likely than other service types to be ‘not prepared’ to implement Te Whāriki.[4] Of the 29 Playcentres in the sample, 23 were found to be not prepared. Issues for Playcentres reflected common factors for other ‘not‑prepared’ services. However, restructuring at national and regional levels had also impacted on the quality of support available to individual Playcentres.[5]

The following provides an overview of ERO’s findings in the ‘not‑prepared’ services based on ERO’s rubric.

In nearly half of the ‘not-prepared’ services leaders and kaiako are yet to engage in PLD to support them to implement Te Whāriki

Nearly half of these services had either not engaged in any PLD or PLD had been limited. Where engagement in PLD was limited, it was because the only PLD accessed was the Ministry‑developed webinars and/or only leaders or some kaiako had engaged in the PLD.  In the services that had engaged in PLD it was often limited to increasing familiarity with Te Whāriki and not going deeper into the curriculum intent.

In many ‘not-prepared’ services leaders and kaiako are yet to review their service’s philosophy to align it to Te Whāriki

Over half of these services had not taken any steps to review their philosophy to reflect the updated Te Whāriki. The remaining services had started to review their philosophy or had just reviewed it.

In most ‘not-prepared’ services leaders and kaiako are yet to review and design their local curriculum to reflect their priorities for children’s learning)

In just over three‑quarters of these services, leaders and kaiako had not taken any steps to review and design their local curriculum. This was largely because they either did not understand the concept of a ‘local curriculum’ and/or had not realised this was something they needed to do.  Leaders and kaiako in most of the remaining services in this group had started work on their local curriculum, sometimes in a ‘business as usual’ way through planning for groups and individuals. For others, their local curriculum was very much driven by their philosophical approach. 

In just over half of these services, leaders and kaiako had not yet taken steps to determine their priorities for children’s learning.  Some had not yet considered doing this and others did not realise this was something they needed to do. Limited understanding of Te Whāriki coupled with a lack of knowledge about how to determine their priorities contributed to this.

In some ‘not-prepared’ services leaders and kaiako needed more support to identify their next steps for implementation of Te Whāriki

Although next steps had been identified in two‑thirds of these services, in some the next steps were identified as part of the service’s ERO review. Common next steps to support the implementation of Te Whāriki included the need for further PLD and for ongoing internal evaluation to help teachers reflect more on Te Whāriki in practice and outcomes for children.

Some leaders and kaiakowere not confident to implement Te Whāriki

We found varying levels of confidence in the services ‘not prepared’ to implement Te Whāriki. In some, leaders and kaiako were at an early stage of starting to engage more deeply and in others there were issues that limited confidence building. These were generally related to poor leadership, lack of time, lack of knowledge about the shifts in Te Whāriki,and a lack of engagement in any PLD.

 



[4] Differences in ratings between service types were checked for statistical significance using a Kruskal-Wallis H test. Playcentres were less well prepared than other service types to implement Te Whāriki. The level of statistical significance for all statistical tests in this report was p<0.05. 

[5] See Appendix 4 for the characteristics of services in the three preparedness categories.