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.

Reciprocal and responsive relationships – Ngā whakawhanaungatanga

Reciprocal and responsive relationships contribute to infants and toddlers developing a sense of security and competence. Assessment, both undocumented and documented, takes place within reciprocal and responsive relationships. In the context of such relationships, teachers can contribute to constructing meaning with and between infants or toddlers. They can do this by listening and watching attentively and being alert to modes of communication such as vocalisation, facial expressions, gestures, and expressive body movements. Often this means noticing, recognising, and responding in several ways, using encouraging body language and an attentive presence, as much as more overt interactions.

Responsive and reciprocal relationships extend widely for the Māori child. Two of the fundamental principles outlined in A Draft Charter of the Rights of the Māori Child (Early Childhood Development, 2002) are:

"Whanaungatanga. The Māori child descends from a unique culture and history based on strong genealogical links and relationships, and has the right to be respected within the full context of those links and relationships.

Ngā Hononga. The Māori child exists within a society of extensive relationships, and has the right to know, contribute positively to, and benefit from those relationships."

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Joint attention and guided participation

The following is an example of guided participation in action:

"I had set up the drums. Lily was beating them with her hand and a drumstick. I got out Ten in the Bed by Penny Dale (a favourite book). I sat by Gemma and started reading. Every time I said “roll over”, I beat the cymbal on my knee. Lily copied the sound and rhythm on the drum. What next? Lily came over to me and took the book over to the drums. She beat the drum with the book, singing, “Roll over, roll over.”"

Excerpt from a child’s portfolio, 2003

Assessment is itself a cultural practice. If infants and toddlers are learning through observing and listening in on assessment in action, they are, in effect, being inducted into this cultural endeavour (Rogoff, 2003). Children who observe others taking photos, recording, revisiting, and discussing learning may learn enough of the tasks associated with assessment that they eventually see themselves as able to contribute to this practice in some way.