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.
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Links to Te Whāriki – Ngā hononga ki Te Whāriki
The metaphor of weaving in Te Whāriki illustrates that “each early childhood service can weave the particular pattern that makes its programme different and distinctive” (page 28). In the same way, multiple meanings of competence and multiple ongoing learning pathways will develop. However, all assessments should take a considered approach to competence, with Te Whāriki in mind. Te Whāriki also emphasises Māori perspectives within the curriculum framework:
"In early childhood education settings, all children should be given the opportunity to develop knowledge and an understanding of the cultural heritages of both partners to Te Tiriti o Waitangi."
Te Whāriki, page 9
The three aspects of competence discussed in this book are intrinsic to Te Whāriki.
Personal goals, interests, and working theories
In Te Whāriki, learning outcomes (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) are summarised in the following comment.
"In early childhood, children are developing more elaborate and useful working theories about themselves and about the people, places, and things in their lives. These working theories contain a combination of knowledge about the world, skills and strategies, attitudes, and expectations."
Te Whāriki, page 44
The principle of empowerment emphasises children’s rights and their need to pursue their own goals and interests as a base for developing working theories.
"The early childhood curriculum builds on the child’s own experiences, knowledge, skills, attitudes, needs, interests, and views of the world within each particular setting. Children will have the opportunity to create and act on their own ideas, to develop knowledge and skills in areas that interest them, and to make an increasing number of their own decisions and judgments."
Te Whāriki, page 40
Empowerment is also about providing children with bicultural tools to extend the complexity of their learning. The curriculum can provide authentic opportunities for children to engage in learning experiences that allow them to understand Māori language, values, beliefs, and practices.
"Ka ako i ngā tikanga e tuku kaha nei ki te hinengaro … . Ka ako i ngā whakamārama o te Ao Māori Tawhito mō te Taiao, mō Te Pō, me Te Kore. Ka ako i ngā whakamārama o Te Ao Hou mō ngā Whakangaromanga Ao, mō te āhua o ngā wā o mua, me muri nei, ā, mō ngā wānanga hoki mō tōna āhua ake, me te take i whānau mai ai ia ki tēnei ao."
Te Whāriki, page 34
Many personal interests and goals come from the family and are fostered through relationships that are significant to children.
Learning strategies and dispositions
Te Whāriki also summarises learning outcomes “as dispositions – ‘habits of mind’ or ‘patterns of learning’” (page 44).
"Dispositions to learn develop when children are immersed in an environment that is characterised by well-being and trust, belonging and purposeful activity, contributing and collaborating, communicating and representing, and exploring and guided participation."
Te Whāriki, page 45
Relationships are a key factor in helping children to develop dispositions to learn.
"This curriculum emphasises the critical role of socially and culturally mediated learning and of reciprocal and responsive relationships for children with people, places, and things."
Te Whāriki, page 9
"Kia mōhio ia ki ngā kārangaranga whānau … . Kia mōhio hoki ki a Ranginui rāua ko Papatūānuku, ā rāua tamariki, me ngā kōrero mō rātou."
Te Whāriki, page 35
Social roles and culturally valued literacies
Te Whāriki also suggests learning outcomes that relate to children’s need to explore social roles and literacies that are culturally valued. It reminds us that:
"Language does not consist only of words, sentences, and stories: it includes the language of images, art, dance, drama, mathematics, movement, rhythm, and music."
Te Whāriki, page 72
For example, language also includes the signs and symbols of kapa haka, waiata and mahi toi. In addition, Te Whāriki emphasises the importance of encouraging children to explore a variety of roles regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, ability, or background. (See pages 66–67). Te Whāriki also helps us to understand that children belong to different communities and that these communities are sources of learning.
"Each community to which a child belongs, whether it is a family home or an early childhood setting outside the home, provides opportunities for new learning to be fostered: for children to reflect on alternative ways of doing things; make connections across time and place; establish different kinds of relationship; and encounter different points of view."
Te Whāriki, page 9
These relationships may refer back to the past to seek the roles and literacies that earlier generations have developed. Culturally valued roles and literacies are a major aspect of competence in Te Whāriki. For example,
- "kia mōhio ia … ki ōna marae, ki ngā pepeha hoki o ōna iwi."
Te Whāriki, page 36
- "ka mōhio rātou ki tō rātou reo, ki ā rātou tikanga Māori, ki ō rātou tūrangawaewae ...
- ka mōhio rātou ki ō rātou whānau me ō rātou ao."
Te Whāriki, page 40
This reminds us that whanaungatanga underpins much that is socially and culturally valued.
Future books in this series will further exemplify the three aspects of competence discussed in this book within the curriculum strands of Well-being/Mana Atua, Belonging/Mana Whenua, Contribution/Mana Tangata, Communication/Mana Reo, and Exploration/Mana Aotūroa.