Education Minister Hekia Parata is inviting teachers, parents and anyone with an interest in the early learning sector to help refresh its curriculum framework for the future.
“Te Whāriki has long been recognised as world leading and continues to be an important tool for delivering quality early learning for our youngest New Zealanders,” says Ms Parata. “However it is now 20 years old. I want to ensure the curriculum remains relevant and robust for our children in years to come, so it is time for an update.
“The aspirations and vision for learning will not change in this update. Rather the curriculum will simply better reflect today’s New Zealand, developments in education and make stronger links to school, kura Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako.”
Peter Reynolds of the Early Childhood Council has praised the Government’s decision to consult on Te Whāriki.
He said he was hopeful "a creative dialogue between government and the early childhood education sector will produce the best possible outcome for children." Reynolds described the curriculum document released today as "a very good draft" but with "some issues those in our sector will be examining over the next few weeks".
The Auckland Kindergarten Association has also applauded the move towards consultation.
Association CEO Tanya Harvey says there is "deep affection" for the existing curriculum and she and others in the early childhood education sector "appreciate and applaud" the Minister’s decision to consult more widely on how it was to be changed.
The consultation will also focus on clarified and condensed learning outcomes on ways to make the document easier to use, a refreshed ‘look and feel’.
The refresh has been led by the Ministry of Education with a team of writers from the sector, all practitioners and academics. The original writers of Te Whāriki have also been involved and consultation with sector representatives has taken place. This picks up on the work carved out by the Advisory Group on Early Learning which reported in 2015.
The consultation runs from 4 November to 11 December and includes hui around the country, meetings with key sector groups and an online survey. The consultation document and other information is available at www.education.govt.nz/te-whariki-consultation/
However, despite the positivity around the curriculum refresh, there is still unrest in the sector about the funding and quality of early childhood education. NZEI Te Riu Roa is launching a new campaign next week calling for the restoration of funding and quality to ECE.