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.

Different ways to be creative and expressive

  • Harriet’s mermaid
    • Girl playing Girls playing

      Harrie came to me today and said she wanted to make a mermaid pool. She had painted her face and was a mermaid. She had wonderful ideas – the pool was to have glitter and flowers and water! So we went on a hunt for the items required and soon lots of other children joined in – excited by her idea.

      What next?

      Harrie wants to make a mermaid outfit

      Girl making mermaid outfit Girl making mermaid outfit with adult

      Harrie told me she wanted to make her mermaid outfit. “OK – it would be a good idea to draw a plan – so you know how you want it to look,” I suggested. She soon returned with her fabulous plan. We went on a material hunt and got started. Harrie drew a perfect circle on the fabric after first assessing her chest. “It’s got to be big enough to cover my nipples!” she said. Then she carefully sewed on beads, bells and straps! What a top!

      Harrie’s mermaid outfit has been an inspiration to several other girls – now lots of children are wanting to make lovely costumes!!!! Harrie was very capable – I held the material and did the knot to start and end – otherwise the work was all her own.

      She wore her gorgeous top all morning – and was the belle of the ball!

      I think the next chapter will be working on the tail – now I bet that will really be something special!

      Harrie you are so clever and so creative!

      Once Harrie had finished her wonderful outfit she said “Now we could make a movie about it!” “Fantastic – let’s do it,” I said. We sat down together and I wrote down Harrie’s script ideas – fantastic story – she has a clear idea of story structure – the beginning, middle, and end – some conflict and resolution.

      Child's chalk drawing of a mermaid  Girl dressed as mermaid

      Harriet’s movie idea

      “A magical mermaid was swimming in the water – but she had never been seen. One day she found a fine mermaid to play with and they became friends. And then one day – the mermaid who was her friend died – she got eaten by a shark – she was her best friend – she felt very very sad. (This could actually be a true story!)

      Elizabeth – the magical mermaid – she found a magical crystal ball – with lots of dots on it – then she found the shark and she made a magical spell and the shark died and the mermaid came out – and she just came right the same – and they lived happy again.”

      It was raining but that didn’t put us off – the camera crew took shelter under an umbrella! I followed Harrie around with the camera – the movie unfolded without any direction from me – Harrie knew what she was doing! She was great – she took her role on fully and I loved the part where Elizabeth the magical mermaid was sad about her friend being eaten by the shark – fabulous acting!

      Harrie joined me at the computer for a while – watching as her movie was downloaded. What a fantastic project this has been!!! I have so enjoyed being part of Harrie’s crew! She has great ideas and is a joy to work with.

      Parent’s voice

      Bridget and I are so delighted with all the learning and fun Harrie is having at kindy, all beautifully documented here, evidenced when we drop in, and related to us by a happy Harrie. Loved the movie! Many thanks to all at kindy.

      Later ... Today Harrie told me she wanted to make a cat costume!!! I suggested she draw a plan – she drew an AMAZING plan and off she went to find the materials she needed – WOW –

      I wonder what will evolve out of this – CATS! – THE MOVIE?! FANTASTIC – I can’t WAIT!

      Cat costume

      Child's drawing of cat costume Girl wearing cat costume Girl wearing cat costume Girl making cat costume Girl wearing cat costume

      Harrie drew this wonderful picture. It’s a plan for a cat costume.

  • Jorjia’s imaginary turtle
    • Child's name: Jorjia 2.2yrs

      Date: September

      Teacher: Caroline

        Examples or cues

      A Learning Story


      Mana whenua
      Taking an Interest

      I was sitting down by the reels, writing in the infants’ daily books. Jorjia came over. Jorjia: “See my turtle.”

      Caroline: “You’ve got a turtle,” as she carefully laid “the turtle” in my hands.

      Jorjia: “Look, my turtle.”

      Caroline: “What shall we do with your turtle?” Jorjia: “Put it here,” pointing to the plank.

      I placed it down carefully.

      Jorjia: (excited) “Look, it’s running.”

      She ran alongside the plank. “Going fast.”

      Jo came over to invite Jorjia to go for a walk to the toddlers’ centre around the corner. Jorjia carefully scooped up her turtle and we looked for a pocket to put it into. Jo suggested that it could go under her shirt and she carefully tucked it inside, holding it there with her hand and off she went! When she returned, I asked about the turtle.

      Jorjia: “I left it there,” and in a matter of fact way went off to play elsewhere.


      Mana atua
      Being Involved

      Mana aotūroa
      Persisting with Difficulty

      Mana reo
      Expressing an Idea or a Feeling

      Mana tangata
      Taking Responsibility

      Short-term review

      We had a lovely time as Jorjia drew me into her imaginary play. It was a delightful interaction, particularly watching Jorjia gently care for her “turtle”. I’m left wondering how/what Jorjia knows about turtles. Mum/Dad, are there home experiences that you know about for us to build on?

      Query? Are we seeing wider examples of Jorjia involved in imaginary play?