Kei Tua o te Pae

Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars is a best-practice guide that will help teachers continue to improve the quality of their teaching.

The exemplars are a series of books that will help teachers to understand and strengthen children's learning. It also shows how children, parents and whānau can contribute to this assessment and ongoing learning.

We are making improvements to our download-to-print functionality. So if you want a printed copy there are PDF versions available at the bottom of the main cover page.

Listening to children

One way of responding to the inevitable uncertainty is to get to know the children well, to listen and observe carefully, and to respond appropriately. This enables us to stand higher up the mountain so that we can see more of the horizon in order to provide continuity in their learning. Book 4 includes exemplars in which children comment on their own learning, set their own targets, and do their own assessing.

Philippe Perrenoud (1991), writing on assessment in schools, warns that it:

" ... would be absurd to proceed with formative assessment without first calling into question the teaching methods and without seeking, as a priority, to make the teaching situations more interactive and richer in spontaneous feedback.

Tēnā kupu, āe, tuhia!

In this example, Hinepau is dictating text for a book. During the discussion, the kaiako introduces the word “hīnaki” and Hinepau responds that “hīnaki” is a good word, instructing the kaiako to write it down.

Children fishing Children fishing


Kei te tiki tuna mātou.

We are going to get some eels.


Kei te tiki ...

Going to get ... 


Kei te harikoa nā te mea i pupuri ahau i ētahi tuna.

I am really happy because I held some eels. 


I pupuri koe i te hīnaki?

You held an eel trap? 


Āe, i pēnei au. E, kei ahau [nana i whakaatu].

Yes, like this. Oh, I have it [demonstrates]. 


Nō reira ka taea e koe te kōrero, i pupuri ahau i te hīnaki?

Therefore, can you say, “I held the eel trap”? 


Āe, i pupuri au i te hīnaki. Āe, tēnà kupu, āe – tuhia!

Yes, I did hold an eel trap. Yes, that word, yes – write it!

This is a good example of reciprocal noticing, recognising, and responding, with Hinepau both motivated and empowered to have a say in what is written down about a collective event that involved all the children (catching an eel).

Another example from conversations between Hinepau and the kaiako illustrates the rich and complex learning of a bilingual child. It is an example of word invention that illustrates Hinepau’s growing metalinguistic awareness that language is fluid and flexible enough to be creative with and, indeed, that “words” symbolically represent “things”.

In response to a comment by the kaiako about the transliteration of the word “drawer” (toroa) being inappropriate because a “toroa” was a magnificent bird, the albatross, Hinepau made up the alternative word “toroapa”.

The kaiako looked it up in the dictionary to check that it did not have another meaning, and then it became the word used in the centre for “drawer”.