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Te whàriki: Early childhood curriculum

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Government of New Zealand. Ministry of Education.
government document
Publication Date: 
1 Jan 1996

Excerpt from the foreword:

This statement is an exciting new development for education in New Zealand. It is the first national curriculum statement for the early childhood sector.

This curriculum statement provides the basis for consistent high quality curriculum delivery in the diverse range of early childhood services in New Zealand.

Over the past century, early childhood care and education services in New Zealand have been established to meet the particular needs of children, parents, and communities, as well as those of society as a whole. Today early childhood services are jointly involved with families in the socialisation, care, and education of children.

It is especially significant that this curriculum has been developed in response to initiatives from the early childhood sector. While services are diverse in terms of structure and philosophy, early childhood education personnel have worked together to develop a common curriculum on which to base their programmes. It has been developed from, and builds on, experience of curriculum development within the different early childhood services, together with findings in research, international literature, and the shared knowledge and agreed understandings that have emerged in New Zealand over the past two decades. Feedback on the draft document has clearly demonstrated that the many and diverse services in the sector have accepted the central principles and the framework of this document. This curriculum statement takes into account the many responses to the draft statement that were received , as well as findings from exploratory studies and the pilot professional development programmes.

This is the first bicultural curriculum statement developed in New Zealand. It contains curriculum specifically for Màori immersion services in early childhood education and establishes, throughout the document as a whole, the bicultural nature of curriculum for all early childhood services.

The importance of the social context within which children are cared for and learning takes place is one of the foundation stones of the curriculum. It is clearly acknowledged that the relationships and the environments that children experience have a direct impact on their learning and development.

This curriculum statement covers the education and care of children from birth to school entry age. Coverage of this age range is innovative and clearly reflects the concept of learning as a life long process that begins at the very start of life.