Te Whāriki – Early Childhood Curriculum
All Kindergartens implement Te Whāriki, Aotearoa/New Zealand’s first Early Childhood Curriculum. Te Whāriki was launched in 1996 after a five year period of consultation with those working in the early childhood sector. Te Whāriki has received international recognition and acclaim as the world’s first holistic and bi-cultural early childhood education curriculum.
The final version was written by Margaret Carr and Helen May, from Waikato University, and Tamati and Tilly Reedy on behalf of Te Kohanga Reo National Trust, and has been used to guide the development of high quality early childhood learning and teaching practices for nearly ten years.
Te Whāriki is founded on the following aspiration for children:
To grow up as competent and confident
learners and communicators, healthy
in mind, body and spirit, secure in
their sense of belonging and in the
knowledge that they make a valued
contribution to society.”
Te Whāriki is woven around four broad principles; Whakamana – Empowerment, Kotahitanga – Holistic Development, Whānau Tangata – Family and Community, and Ngā Hononga – Relationships, and five strands or essential areas of learning and development; Wellbeing – Mana Atua, Belonging – Mana Whenua, Contribution – Mana Tangata, Communication – Mana Reo and Exploration – Mana Aoturoa.
The four principals provide the criteria against which all teaching and assessment practices are evaluated.
Empowerment - Whakamana
Early Childhood teachers view children as capable, competent learners. Any parent who has marvelled at the way in which their child persevered in developing their physical skills, in learning to communicate and talk, and in building relationships with family and friends will recognise the truth of this belief.
The early childhood curriculum builds on children’s own experiences, knowledge, skills, attitudes, and interests, empowering them to make their own choices and to take responsibility for their own learning.
Holistic Development – Kotahitanga
This principal recognises that the cognitive, social, cultural, physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of a child’s development are all interwoven.
Teachers value and foster the unique and diverse learning pathways of each individual child and therefore seek to provide an environment in which children have the opportunity to use all their senses and to engage in activities and experiences which encourage the development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes children require in order to attempt new challenges.
Family and Community – Whānau Tangata
Teachers value the wealth of information and understandings of their children that whānau, parents and extended family bring to the centre. Family members are welcomed and encouraged to participate in and contribute to the curriculum as much as they are able.
Relationships – Ngā Hononga
Children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people places and things. Children attending early childhood centres are encouraged to work cooperatively with adults and other children and to explore a varied range of resources and equipment.
If you are interested in learning more about Te Whāriki, New Zealand’s unique early childhood curriculum, the teachers at your kindergarten or early learning centre will be pleased to discuss it with you or lend you a copy.