logo

ChildForum Early Childhood Education Nationwide Network
Promoting quality, valuing knowledge, advancing thinking and working together for the benefit of children, services and the sector

Follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitteryoutube

Member Login

Member space

 

Bungle over new Early Childhood Education Curriculum

te whariki  2017 news release

A new early childhood curriculum replacing the current ‘Te Whāriki’ document has been published on the Ministry of Education website -- without prior announcement until its release today and near the eve of the long Easter weekend and the start of term break.

The curriculum’s draft revision faced strong criticism from many in the sector regarding content and presentation, and the Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools sought legal advice and wrote to the Minister claiming that the consultation process breached statutory and legal requirements.

Chief executive of ChildForum Dr Sarah Alexander says that the final copy is significantly better than the draft, the Ministry having obviously put in a large effort to get things right.

“However, there remain some major deficiencies that could have also been put right had the Ministry done more work on this.

“Many teachers were expressing a lack of ownership and sense of disempowerment owing to the way the Ministry consulted the sector over a draft revision and the short time frame just before Christmas,” says Dr Alexander.

Teachers were not given an opportunity to view and give feedback on another iteration of the draft following the pre-Christmas-rushed consultation to make sure it is the best it can be before the final copy was published today.

The lack of consultation and engagement in discussions with parents throughout NZ has also been disappointing given that children are not participating in formal compulsory education.

“The curricula of other countries were not reviewed and drawn on to make use of international knowledge and experience since it was first written 20 years ago. It also does not appear that the final document has had any independent international expert review, which is unfortunate”, says Dr Alexander.

Dr Helen Hedges, a writer contracted by the Ministry to re-write the curriculum, commented in a blog on the short time frame for revision saying, “I was honoured to be selected to be part of the writing team to update and revise the document – in an impossibly short time frame.”

In a video celebrating 20 Years of Te Whāriki, Professor Helen May, a lead writer of the original curriculum emphasised that curriculum should not be prescriptive.

“From the start, we had a vision of a fully qualified early childhood workforce. We did not put this in Te Whāriki but we did pitch it at a level that assumed teachers would have theoretical knowledge, the cultural knowledge, and the professional judgment, to weave the curriculum with their whanau, with the children, with their colleagues."

Dr Alexander warns that by the Ministry adopting the word ‘kaiako’ and defining it in a footnote explicitly as encompassing all qualified and unqualified teachers, instead of defining kaiako as teacher and leaving it at that, the path has been laid for the de-professionalism of early childhood teaching.

In the new Te Whāriki document, the Ministry also states:

“Although ECE services use a range of different terms, this document uses kaiako because it conveys the reciprocal nature of teaching and learning.”

Dr Alexander says that this may leave early childhood teachers wondering about the purpose of becoming qualified and retaining their certification and why they are referred to as ‘kaiako’ when all school teachers are not and teaching and learning is also reciprocal at school level.

According to Prof May, the original Te Whāriki was not designed to be a curriculum that told teachers what to do. At the time one large childcare chain operator even advised the writers they should “just make it easy for my girls so they’ll know what to do on Monday”.

The new Te Whāriki had been designed more towards telling teachers what to do and it outlines evidence to be collected on children’s learning and states what children must demonstrate to show they have achieved learning outcomes.

“There is now a real possibility of movement towards checklist teaching,” says Dr Alexander.

“Our young children must be able to have an unpressured early childhood with rich learning experiences and play. This is probably not the path that most parents and teachers would want to see New Zealand early childcare and education services take.”

  

See other news stories and articles

Questions hanging over the update of Te Whāriki pdfpdf

Consultation process for Te Whāriki claimed to breach statutory and legal requirements - read more  

Free E-Newsletter

Receive the free Early Childhood Alert.

captcha 

We hate spam as much as you, we will not sell your contact details to anyone.

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Read our Privacy Policy here.

Don’t miss out any longer, click the button below to join ChildForum

Testimonials

  • Preschool Leader

    Having heard a colleague talk about how useful she had found their material I joined. ChildForum's replies to my queries are prompt, extremely informative & with a genuine personal touch. I am impressed by the commitment to research & courage in tackling the hard issues like the risks of poor quality care for under 2s
    Val Morrison (Small is Beautiful)
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Join Us!

child-with-binoculars-small

 

Subscribe now for information you can trust, expert advice and research, as well as access to quality resources

We are confident you will be delighted to discover and experience the benefits of membership - so join now and make this message for non-members disappear from your screen. 

Membership Options

Individual
Member

Who is this for?
Any person who has an interest in early childhood education and care or who works directly with children.

$98.00 12 months from the date of joining
$60.00 6 months student-only

The membership belongs to you, and you only. Enjoy your own personal username and password.

ECE Service Organisation
Member

Who is this for?
Centres, home-based, hospital-based, playgroups ... established or newly licensed. Gives access to professional & research materials enjoyed by individual members PLUS service operation and management area. 

$198.00 12 months for a standalone licensed service
Special rates for organisations with more than 1 licence

The membership belongs to your whole organisation, team members and managers.

Library NZ-International Research
in ECE Journal Subscriber

Who is this for?
Universities, Polytechnics and organisations wishing to have online access to the NZ-Int Research in ECE journal (includes all past and current issues) 

$125.00 annual subscription, renewable in November each year

A username and password for your library users linked to your IP address.