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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Book 9: Inclusive assessment – Te kāhui aromatawai

Introduction - He kupu whakataki

"Te Whāriki is designed to be inclusive and appropriate for all children and anticipates that special needs will be met as children learn together in all kinds of early childhood settings. The programmes of each centre will incorporate strategies to fully include children with special needs."

Te Whāriki, page 11

This book represents national work-in-progress, as teachers, whānau, and early intervention specialists explore inclusive assessment practices for children with special learning needs within the context of Te Whāriki. The exemplars highlight some of the assessment issues that are specific to children who require the extra resource of an early intervention team to support their learning. The challenges these children face may arise from a physical disability, a sensory impairment, a learning or communication delay, a social, emotional, or behavioural difficulty, or a combination of these.

In New Zealand, there is debate about how we can include children with special learning needs within the same curriculum and the same assessment practices as other children while at the same time responding to their individual ways of learning (for example, Carr and Dowson, 1995; Dunn, 2000; Purdue, Ballard, and MacArthur, 2001). Many of the exemplars in this book come from a project that explored ways of integrating the four principles of Te Whāriki with more traditional methods of early intervention assessment (Dunn and Barry, 2004). The book also draws on Chris Lepper, Denise Williamson, and Joy Cullen’s research (2003) into ways in which learning stories can help all participants in the early intervention process to have a say and to contribute their expertise. Like all the books in this series, its purpose is to promote discussion and encourage participants to reflect on and develop their practice.

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