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

Literacy goals in Te Whāriki are woven throughout the strands, although they are predominantly in the Communication/Mana Reo strand, where the goals are that children experience an environment where:

  • they develop non-verbal communication skills for a range of purposes;
  • they develop verbal communication skills for a range of purposes;
  • they experience the stories and symbols of their own and other cultures;
  • they discover and develop different ways to be creative and expressive.5

At the same time, there will be “a commitment to the recognition of Māori language – stories, symbols, arts, and crafts – in the programme”,6 and outcomes include an appreciation of te reo Māori as a living and relevant language.

The Belonging/Mana Whenua strand includes the learning outcomes:

  • Children develop awareness of connections between events and experiences within and beyond the early childhood education setting.
  • Children develop connecting links between the early childhood education setting and other settings that relate to the child …
  • Children develop the confidence and ability to express their ideas and to assist others.
  • Children develop the ability to disagree and state a conflicting opinion assertively and appropriately.7

The Contribution/Mana Tangata strand includes the learning outcome:

  • Children develop an increasing ability to take another’s point of view and to empathise with others.8

The Exploration/Mana Aotūroa strand includes the learning outcomes:

  • Children develop increasing confidence and a repertoire for symbolic, pretend, or dramatic play.
  • Children develop the ability to identify and use information from a range of sources, including using books for reference.
  • Children develop familiarity with stories from different cultures about the living world, including myths and legends and oral, non-fictional, and fictional forms.9

The Te Whāriki perspective is that children will participate in the symbol systems and tools of literacy 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 literacy. Learning episodes associated with literacy practices become:

  • more strongly integrated as recognised patterns, regular events, and social practices over time. In the exemplar “Looking back through your portfolio”, Alice is participating in a routine literacy practice in this early childhood setting. She is “reading” her portfolio. She comments on how her name writing has now become more secure: on one page is an early story of her beginning to write her name and she comments, “I do it now … I know how to do it.” At the same time, she is recognising continuity or progress in her learning from past to present – and perhaps this rereading will introduce a challenge for Alice to achieve in the future.
  • distributed or stretched across a widening network of helpful people and enabling resources. In the exemplar “Hikurangi”, the meaning-making illustrates relationships with a wide range of people, places, things, and enterprises, and a range of literacy: karanga, waiata, whaikòrero, pòwhiri and visual literacy forms.
  • connected to a greater diversity of purposes, places, and social communities. In “The Snipe and the Clam”, a complex process and outcome are illustrated: Samuel and his mother reconstruct a traditional Chinese story with drawings and in both English and Mandarin. When the story is told to the other children, Samuel provides the Mandarin words and the gestures.
  • more mindful, as children begin to take responsibility and make up their own minds. In the exemplar “Shai-Li makes a friend”, the children are experts in their own home languages: sharing vocabulary and teaching each other.

Two children looking at books Two children looking at books