Te Whariki is the learning curriculum that we follow at Aukilani Kids. A whāriki or woven mat, is the symbol used to represent the NZ early childhood curriculum. The whāriki acknowledges that many aspects must come together to fully develop the potential in a child. The whāriki image is unfinished which symbolises that there is always more to learn, and a weaver can always weave in new strands of harakeke (flax) to expand their whāriki.
Te Whāriki has the expectation that the early learning environment is a partnership between Kaiako (teachers), parents, whānau and community. The NZ curriculum seeks to empower children to become lifelong learners.
Te Whāriki provides a framework of principles and strands. These are woven together in the ECE setting to achieve the vision of children who are 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.
There are four principles and five strands that teachers, parents, and whanau weave together in a curriculum specifically designed for their children.
THE PRINCIPLES of Te Whariki at Aukilani Kids
empowerment | whakamana
holistic development | kotahitanga
family and community | whānau tangata
relationships | ngā hononga
These principles are the foundations of curriculum decision making and a guide for every aspect of pedagogy and practice within our Centre.
Empowerment | Whakamana
To learn and develop to their potential, children must be respected and valued. This means recognising their rights to have their wellbeing promoted and be protected from harm and to experience equitable opportunities for participation, learning, rest and play. Perspectives on empowerment are culturally located, hence kaiako need to seek the input of children and their parents and whānau when designing the local curriculum.
Holistic development | Kotahitanga
Holistic development means teachers must consider all aspects of a child’s life. Intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual, social and cultural. These dimensions need to be viewed as closely interwoven and interdependent. Children need a broad and rich curriculum that enables them to grow their capabilities across all dimensions.
Family and Community | Whānau tangata
The wellbeing of each child is interdependent with the wellbeing of their kaiako, parents and whānau. Children learn and develop best when their culture, knowledge and community are affirmed and when the people in their lives help them to make connections across settings. Children’s learning and development is enhanced when culturally appropriate ways of communicating are used and when parents, whānau and community are encouraged to participate in and contribute to the curriculum.
Relationships | Ngā hononga
Parents and whānau trust that their ECE service will provide an environment where respectful relationships, encouragement, warmth and acceptance are the norm. It is through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things that children have opportunities to try out their ideas and refine their working theories. For this reason, collaborative aspirations, ventures and achievements are valued. Connections to past, present, and future are integral to a Māori perspective of relationships.
THE STRANDS of Te Whariki at Aukilani Kids
wellbeing | mana atua
belonging | mana whenua
contribution | mana tangata
communication | mana reo
exploration | mana aotūroa
The strands are 5 areas of learning and development, where the focus is on supporting children to develop the capabilities they need as confident and competent learners.
Wellbeing | Mana atua
Children experience an environment where their health is promoted, their emotional wellbeing is nurtured, and they are kept safe from harm. Over time and with guidance and encouragement, children become increasingly capable of keeping themselves healthy and caring for themselves. They can also manage and express their feelings and needs as well as keeping themselves and others safe from harm.
Belonging | Mana whenua
Children and their families experience an environment where they feel comfortable with the routines, customs, and regular events. They know the limits and boundaries of acceptable behaviour and they know that they have a place. Connecting links with the family and the wider world are affirmed and extended. Over time and with guidance and encouragement children become capable of making connections between people, places and things in their world. Children take part in caring for the childcare centre and understanding how things work and adapting to change. Respect for kaupapa, rules and the rights of others is shown by all.
Contribution | Mana tangata
Children and their families experience an environment where there are equitable opportunities for learning, irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity or background, they are affirmed as individuals, and they are encouraged to learn with and alongside others. Over time and with guidance and encouragement children become capable of treating others fairly and including them in play, recognising and appreciating their own ability to learn, and use a range of strategies and skills to play and learn with others.
Communication | Mana reo
Children and their families experience an environment where they develop non-verbal communication skills for a range of purposes, followed by developing verbal communication skills for a range of purposes. They experience the stories and symbols of their own and other cultures as well as discovering different ways to be creative and expressive. Over time and with guidance and encouragement children become capable of expressing their feelings and ideas using a wide range of materials and modes. Recognising mathematical and print symbols and concepts and using them with enjoyment, meaning and purpose. Enjoying hearing stories and retelling and creating them.
Exploration | Mana aotūroa
The child learns through active exploration of the environment where play is valued as meaningful learning and the importance of spontaneous play is recognised. The child’s exploration involves all aspects of the environment: natural, social, physical, spiritual and human-made. Children gain confidence in and control of their bodies. There are opportunities to explore both outdoors and indoors in a safe and stimulating environment where objects and furnishings are suitable and appropriate for the child’s stage of development.
How do we Measure the Te Whariki Curriculum at Aukilani Kids?
Assessment is both informal and formal. Informal assessment occurs as kaiako listen to, observe, participate with and respond to children who are engaged in everyday experiences and events. It leads directly to changes in the teaching and learning environment that will help children reach immediate and longer-term goals.
More formal, documented assessment takes place when kaiako write up observations of children’s engagement with the curriculum. They may also take photographs, make audio or video recordings and collect examples of children’s work. By analysing such assessment information, gathered over time, kaiako can track changes in children’s capabilities, consider possible pathways for learning, and plan to support these.
Identifying the learning, progress to date, possible next steps, and whether additional support is required are the core elements in a formative assessment process. The goals and learning outcomes in Te Whāriki provide a sound basis for formative assessment, planning and evaluation.
Planning involves deliberate decision making about the priorities for learning that have been identified by the kaiako, parents, whānau and community of the ECE service. All children should have opportunities to learn across all five strands of the curriculum and to pursue their strengths and interests in depth. When planning, kaiako draw on their own pedagogical knowledge and on their knowledge of the children in their care. This is gained from informal and formal assessments, dialogue with parents, whānau and others working with the children and from other sources such as parent surveys and internal evaluation.
The purpose of evaluation is to enable systematic improvement in the ECE setting. Evaluation can be internal or external. An internal evaluation is undertaken by Aukilani Kids and will sometimes involve children and their parents and whanau. Internal evaluation considers how effectively the service is providing for the strengths, interests and needs of all children and how their learning is progressing. It may focus on the teaching and learning programme, the service’s priorities for learning, or other elements of the ECE service directly impacting on learning and teaching. Kaiako discuss, reflect upon and evaluate how effectively their curriculum planning and implementation is supporting children’s learning interests and progress. An external evaluation is undertaken by an individual or agency that comes in from outside the service (ERO or MOE).