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.

Empowerment – Whakamana

Effective assessment practices enhance children’s sense of themselves as capable and competent learners.

What to look for

  • Assessments that refer to children setting their own goals. 
  • Children developing their own criteria for assessing achievement. 
  • Teachers’ criteria for assessment that are transparent and accessible (and that may be negotiated by older children). 
  • Children being consulted about what they will do next. 
  • Children being consulted about what will be recorded or collected.

Reflecting on our practice

  • Discuss the occasions when, in our setting, assessments have referred to children setting their own goals. (For example, see “George gets to where he wants to be”). 
  • Have there been any occasions in our setting when children set a new goal because they were involved with an assessment? (For example, see “Aminiasi sets himself a goal”). 
  • How can children initiate or take a role in deciding what will be recorded or collected for their portfolio? (For example, see “Write about my moves!”). 
  • What strategies within our programme enable teachers to document children’s words? (For example, see “Those are the exact words I said, Mum!”). 
  • What opportunities are there in our setting for children to revisit their assessments?

  • Those are the exact words I said, Mum!
    • Parent’s voice

      Damien loves to “read” his portfolio. He is so enthusiastic in searching out the stories he loves the most that I have to hide away on my own to read the stories carefully and thoroughly. That way I can make sure that I am not constantly interrupted and asked to look at the next one. When we look at it together, he turns the pages over and over until he gets to his favourite story about the dinosaurs T Rex and Long Neck. He reads out the words that are written about T Rex eating Long Neck, and he says, “Those are the exact words I said, Mum! That’s exactly what I said!”

      "Five weeks after Damien left for school, his mother commented that his portfolio is still one of his most loved books."

      Robyn (ECE teacher)

  • Aminiasi sets himself a goal
    • Today, Aminiasi came to me and said, “I want to make a kite.”

      “You can,” I replied.

      “I can’t,” Aminiasi replied.

      “You can,” I replied.

      “I can’t,” said Aminiasi.

      “Shall we look at some books and see how to make a kite?” I asked.

      “Yes,” Aminiasi agreed.

      We read the story “The Wind Blew”. We talked about the shape of the kite and what kites need to help them fly.

      Aminiasi then chose his materials and set about creating his kite, working independently. The pictures below tell the story about the process Aminiasi worked through to reach the goal he had set himself: to make a kite. 

      Child's drawing of kite Child making kite Child making kite
      1. Aminiasi drew triangle shapes for his kite and then folded the corner of the kite into a triangle shape. 2. Aminiasi sticky-taped each corner into place. 3. Aminiasi stopped folding the cardboard kite and went to the shelf to choose some paper to use. He then set about folding each corner in to form a diamond shape.
      Child making kite  Two children making a kite  Child making kite 
      4. He attached yellow crepe paper for the tail and wrapped the end around a cylinder, which was the handle.  5. As Aminiasi was walking outside, the tail broke. He returned to the table and reattached the tail.  6. Aminiasi gave the tail a pull to test that it was attached. 
      Child flying a kite  Child flying a kite  Child fixing a kite 
      7. Aminiasi flew his kite.  8. Oh, no! The tail broke again! Aminiasi headed back inside to fix his kite.  9. More sticky tape was needed to fix the tail into place. 
      Child fixing a kite  Child flying a kite   
      10. Aminiasi kissed his kite.  11.The wind blew, and Aminiasi flew his kite. The kite ducked and dived as Aminiasi ran around the playground with it trailing behind him.   

      Child's voice

      Aminiasi talked to Heather about his kite: “I want to go and fly it!... The tail is to fly ... Paper for making the kite ... Sticky-tape to stick it ... More sticky-tape ... The tail is yellow.” 

      Short-term review

      Today, Aminiasi set his own task and was able to ask for help when he needed it. At first, he doubted his own ability, but after reading a book about kites and discussing shapes, Aminiasi began his project. This story shows incredible persistence (a very important disposition for learning) as Aminiasi had to mend his kite many times but didn’t give up until he had some success! During Aminiasi’s kite- making project, he was also exploring which shapes and materials are best for kites (for example, he changed from cardboard to paper). [“Te Whāriki”, Exploration, goal 3.4]

      What next?

      I read Aminiasi’s story with him, and then we printed it. Together, we put it in his file. I asked Aminiasi, “What do you think your next project will be?” “A butterfly kite,” came the reply.

      We will support Aminiasi in his next project by:

      • exploring more books about kites
      • encouraging Aminiasi to plan his project, going through each stage – drawing plans, collecting resources, and trialling the final product
      • involving Aminiasi in constructing the Chinese butterfly kite we have just purchased
      • fostering Aminiasi’s disposition of persistence.

      Child holding up a print-out

      Aminiasi watched his story come off the printer, looking at each page with delight as he discovered each picture.

      Aminiasi was able to retell his own story to me from reading the pictures.

  • George gets to where he wants to be
    • We have observed that George (12 months old) has a long concentration span. He will continue trying out a new skill he has developed over and over. If he is having difficulty with a toy, he will persevere until he succeeds, taking just a few goes or days or months to achieve his goals.

      George’s parents, Fiona and Chris, also notice this perseverance. The attached message was written by Fiona in George’s home-centre notebook and illustrates their recognition of George’s strong desire to walk, how he “didn’t give up”, and how achieving his goals has changed George’s experiences.

      George has had a wonderful summer break. Just before Xmas, he started to walk and never looked back. He tried, and tried, and tried, and didn’t give up. Walking has given him a new angle on life that has been really exciting for him. Lots of games of chasing and hide and seek around the house. His interactions with other people – especially children – have been wonderful to watch. George loves to be with other children.

      Another example of George’s perseverance was evident when he was trying to crawl up the slide. From the time George started crawling at eight months old and he discovered the slide, he attempted to crawl up it. After nearly five months of persevering, it finally paid off when he crawled all the way up the slide.

      Infant on a slide

      When I told Fiona the story of George climbing the slide, she said that during the weekend, George and his family had visited a family who had a slide. George had managed to crawl up the slide there.

      Infant on a swing Infant on a swing Infant on a swing Infant on a swing

      Infant on a swing Infant on a swing Infant on a swing Infant on a swing

      Two days after George climbed the slide at the centre, he climbed into the swing on his own. As with the slide, George got into the swing independently after months of attempts. He would regularly walk over to the swing and put half his body on it, rocking back and forth, either because he liked the movement or to indicate to the teachers that he wanted a swing. The swings at the centre are low to the ground, but it takes a certain amount of co-ordination and balance to climb into this moving object. Gradually, George overcame the difficulties and managed this tricky task.

      As we watched this event unfold, we soon realised he could probably conquer the challenge by himself, so we deliberately kept our distance and observed George, not wanting to interfere.

      George displays this task persistence and long concentration span in several different aspects of his play. Examples are when he is playing with blocks or when he dismantles a suction toy off the window, putting the toy together again before putting it back on the window and repeating this several times.

  • Write about my moves
    • “Write about my moves! I keep wriggling to keep it moving ...  When it goes low, I have to go faster, see?”

      Lachlan shows me how fast he has to go to keep the hula hoop turning. “See, it’s on my hips? When you start moving, it goes faster.

      Sometimes it goes slow when I move my body fast, and the hula hoop goes down.”

      One child with green hoola hoop Children playing with hoola hoops

      Short-term review

      Lachlan is so good at using the hula hoop, I can see why you’ve got one at home, Moira.

      It takes a lot of skill to get a hula hoop to move, and I think Lachlan would have to be the “king of the hula hoop” at kindergarten! And just look at the interest that was sparked in other children when Lachlan started to move!