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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A lens based on Te Whāriki – He tirohanga mai i Te Whāriki

"[A child’s identity as a competent and confident learner is] mediated by: competence with artefacts that set up meaning-making devices and bridges between participants in a community; authentic connections to family; opportunities to take responsibility; and routines and conventions that engage children and structure their participation. It is about responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things, empowerment, holistic approaches, and the involvement of family and community … The artefacts in this project were not just those of ICT: computer, computer software, cameras, bookbinder, photocopier, telephones, fax machine, for instance. They also included assessment formats and a published curriculum. But the digital modes of communication were significant for these children and families …" 6

Learning outcomes in Te Whāriki that are relevant to the symbol systems and technologies of ICT are woven throughout the strands. The Exploration/Mana Aotūroa strand includes, under Goal 3, the learning outcomes that children develop:

  • confidence in using a variety of strategies for exploring and making sense of the world;
  • the ability to identify and use information from a range of sources;
  • a perception of themselves as “explorers” – competent, confident learners who ask questions and make discoveries;
  • the ability to represent their discoveries, using creative and expressive media and the technology associated with them.7

The Communication/Mana Reo strand includes, under Goal 3, the learning outcomes that children develop:

  • an understanding that symbols can be “read” by others and that thoughts, experiences, and ideas can be represented through words, pictures, print, numbers, sounds, shapes, models, and photographs;
  • experience with some of the technology and resources for mathematics, reading, and writing.8

The Te Whāriki perspective is that children will participate in the symbol systems and technologies of ICT for personal, social, and cultural purposes: for becoming confident and competent in culturally valued enterprises, expressing emotion, making connections across place and time, contributing their own abilities and viewpoints to the community, communicating with others (including appreciating the ways in which the available cultures communicate and represent), and making sense of their worlds.

At the same time, the possible pathways for learning that derive from the four principles in Te Whāriki (see Books 10 and 16) can provide a guide for identifying dimensions of strength as children become more interested in and involved with ICT. Learning associated with ICT practices becomes:

  • more strongly integrated as recognised patterns, regular events, and social practices over time. In the exemplar “The photographer at work”, Nissa observes the everyday practice of teachers documenting interesting episodes of children’s learning. She takes the initiative to pick up the camera and document an episode when the children are making pancakes. The teacher comments, “I wanted to take photographs but I couldn’t because I was just too busy.”
  • distributed or stretched across a widening network of helpful people and enabling resources. In the exemplar “Vinny learns to email”, Vinny’s competence with ICT becomes distributed across a wider range of resources. He takes photographs, uses WordArt™ computer software, takes the initiative to suggest email, and is keen to use the keyboard to enter his own “text”.
  • connected to a greater diversity of purposes, places, and social communities. In the exemplar “I wonder what this is?”, Leo has previously discovered that websites are available for finding out information. On this occasion, the teacher suggests that they email the curator at the local museum. Leo takes a photograph of the skeleton they want information about, and then they compose an email. The curator replies. The teacher strengthens this understanding that experts are often elsewhere by commenting that she does not know the answer and that Leo’s guess has been more accurate than her own (an aspect of mindfulness as well).
  • more mindful (as children begin to take responsibility and make up their own minds). In the exemplar “Tori’s PowerPoint® story”, Tori develops a story about herself and her friend Nina, helps the teacher to scan into the story the pictures she has drawn, types the story (copying the teacher’s print), records her voice for each page, and with the teacher’s assistance, puts it all together as a PowerPoint® presentation. Tori later assists another teacher to make a PowerPoint® presentation.