All ECE services are expected to be implementing the revised Te Whāriki. The Education Review Office has started to undertake an evaluation of how well ECE services are implementing it.
This is despite the revised Te Whāriki having just been released in April this year and known problems with teachers and service providers getting access to professional development and a lack of paid teacher release time.
Mystery continues to surround the reduction in the number of outcomes and what this will mean for future assessment of children's learning. There are fears in the sector that early childhood education will be expected to mirror primary school national standards. The government has just announced plans for primary schools to introduce ongoing assessment of children's learning of what they are taught as well as continuing with national standards.
When the former Minister of Education Hekia Parata decided she would be stepping down, the Ministry of Education undertook a revision of Te Whāriki with a rush and roar and ensured that a revised Te Whāriki was released in time for her signature. Concerns with Te Whariki remain, including about the process and the loss of opportunity for proper time and research to be put into the revision to ensure that Te Whāriki (2017) would actually be the best and at the cutting edge again of curricula internationally.
ERO is emailing a questionnaire to all services scheduled for review with 10 questions covering:
- service provider's and/or the teachers' awareness of Te Whāriki (2017),
- professional learning and development that has been accessed by the service provider and teachers to implement Te Whāriki (2017), and
- challenges in implementing it.
The questionnaire is expected to be completed before ERO visits, and the reviewers will discuss the service provider's or manager's responses when they visit as part of the evaluation. ERO says it will share this information with the Ministry of Education so they know how services are progressing towards implementation of Te Whāriki (2017).
ERO says that this is the first stage of its evaluation of Te Whariki (2017) in services and it will be planning to do more, following this first phase.