Te Whāriki highly regarded by educators
Head Teacher Stacey Tatton
New Zealand’s ECE curriculum Te Whāriki is recognised worldwide for its progressive and empowering approach to early learning.
With a strong bicultural foundation, the curriculum celebrates cultural differences, aiming to support all children to develop a positive awareness of their own and other cultures.
NZ Education Minister Hekia Parata believes all children deserve to grow up as confident learners who are strong in their identity, language and culture - a concept that is reinforced throughout Te Whāriki.
“[Te Whāriki] has shaped early learning in New Zealand for the past 20 years and is world-leading,” says Parata.
“All children are born with immense potential. Quality early learning helps our children to realise that potential, and builds a strong foundation for later learning and for life.”
Covering broad principles that encourage children to learn in their own ways with the support of kind, patient and understanding adults, early childhood professionals are drawn to Te Whāriki’s unique approach to education.
Learning about the curriculum is a key element of New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC)’s programs. Throughout their studies, student teachers actively develop their knowledge and understanding of Te Whāriki, as they are supported with ideas and practices which enable them to draw on its teachings in their ECE centres.
NZTC graduate Rou Ai Loo finds Te Whāriki’s emphasis on child empowerment particularly important.
“Tamariki are encouraged to act according to their own ideas and to make their own decisions, and play is respected and valued as an educational experience.
“As someone who grew up in a teacher-directed learning environment, this is significant to me because children’s voices are being heard.”
ECE Head Teacher Stacey Tatton says she values the holistic nature of Te Whāriki, which is inclusive of all children regardless of their background, gender or ability.
“The curriculum is designed to ensure that every child who belongs to an early childhood centre has the opportunity to become a confident and competent lifelong learner.
“In our centre, we especially love Te Whāriki’s belief in building strong reciprocal relationships between tamariki, whānau and kaiako. This is extremely important to us and enables our kindergarten community to feel a strong sense of belonging and aroha.”