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.

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Playing with ICT tools and practices

The first forays into using ICT tools are frequently through play. Children, for instance, play at being a computer user, using the keyboard to “write” text or moving the mouse, as Tiari does in the exemplar “Tiari wants to draw” (see Book 17). In the exemplar “Exploring with iSight®”, the children play with a new ICT tool, trying it out to find out what it can do. At the same time, they are learning how to use a new tool for inquiry that will be practical for other explorations.

Charles publishes his stories

The Dinosaur Story by Charles Dougherty

Once upon a time there was a big king who was going through the forest and he heard a “bomb, bomb” noise, which was a dinosaur.

And suddenly he got his sword and cut the dinosaur’s stomach open, and sent him to jail.

Then the king ate a lolly and turned into a monster. “Grrrr” said the monster and suddenly he stamped his foot into the ground and there was his mum and dad.

So the monster ate a green lolly and turned back into a king and his mum and dad…

Engaging the body, mind, and spirit

The second image is about growth, development, and learning through the engagement of body, mind, and spirit.

Tipu kē ake koe
Me he horoeka
Torotika ki te rā
Whāia te māramatanga
O te hinengaro
O te wairua

So too does the cycle of life continue.
Grow up strong and gracious,
just like the proud horoeka tree,
confident and free.
Seek out the secrets of the
hidden well-spring of your mind
and know the sounds and
dreams of your spirit.

This holistic view of growth reminds us that development and…

Contribution – Mana tangata

"Opportunities for learning are equitable, and each child’s contribution is valued. Children experience an environment where there are equitable opportunities for learning, irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity, or background; they are affirmed as individuals; they are encouraged to learn with and alongside others.

Ko te whakatipuranga tēnei o te kiritau tangata i roto i te mokopuna kia tū māia ai ia ki te manaaki, ki te tuku whakaaro ki te ao … Kia mōhio ia ki ōna whakapapa, ki…

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, ho…

Te Aranga responds to a photograph

Tōku tipuna

Te Rangihaeata (ten months) sits on a whale during a recent trip back to his marae. It is one of the props from the movie Whale Rider, which was based in his home town of Whāngārā mai Tawhiti on the outskirts of Gisborne.

Te Rangihaeata’s pepehaKo Pukehapopo te Maunga, Ko Waiomoko te Awa, Ko Whāngārā mai Tawhiti te Marae, Ko Ngāti Konohi te Iwi, Ko Paikea te Tangata.

The legend of Paikea goes, in part, as follows: Paikea was the son of a great chief. One day, Paikea and his brothe…

Seeking children’s perspectives

Where assessments take a narrative approach in context, the assessments – and the notions of valuable knowledge and competence that they take as reference points – can be legitimised by calling on multiple perspectives.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which New Zealand signed in 1993, includes the child’s right to have a voice and to have it listened to and respected (Article 12). Respecting children’s views means that their views can make a difference.

Teachers who p…

I know, you could write all this down!

Child’s voiceChild: Olivia

3 September

Teacher: Judy

Olivia has just moved into a new home, which the family has been building up to for a few months. Olivia sat down next to me on the edge of the sandpit and told me all about her new house. After a while, she looked at me and said thoughtfully, “I know, you could write all this down!”

I went inside to get paper, pen, and clipboard. On my return, Olivia continued her story: “I’ve got one bed in my room and it is all white, and Tim has got tw…

Making connections between the early childhood setting and home

Including families and whānau in the early childhood centre’s curriculum and assessment enhances children’s learning. Families enrich the record of learning, reduce some of the uncertainty and ambiguity, and provide a bridge for connecting experiences. Early childhood settings can include families in their assessment and curriculum in many ways. Documented assessments that are sent home regularly invite and encourage families to take part in the learning community. As many settings have found, n…

Sharing portfolios with the wider community

This was Anna’s idea. She decided what she wanted to say and only needed help with spelling some words.

Parent’s voiceEmma got very excited one evening as I put her to bed. She told me she was visiting Warrengate Hospital the following day. I told her there probably wasn’t a visit, as I had not received a notice about it. When we arrived at kindergarten the next day, I spoke to the teacher, who told us the Warrengate residents were visiting the kindergarten a few days later. We counted down the…

Social roles and culturally valued literacies

As children learn, they explore a variety of roles and literacies and the skills and understandings that are allied to them. These roles and literacies may be valued nationally, or they may be specific to certain social or cultural groups.

In learning communities, children will have the opportunity to try out a range of sociocultural roles and their associated competencies, for example, tuakana, teina, friend, measurer, jam maker, tower builder, kaimahi, observer of insects, reader, citizen of…

Social roles and culturally valued literacies

Te Whāriki also suggests learning outcomes that relate to children’s need to explore social roles and literacies that are culturally valued. It reminds us that:

"Language does not consist only of words, sentences, and stories: it includes the language of images, art, dance, drama, mathematics, movement, rhythm, and music."

Te Whāriki, page 72

For example, language also includes the signs and symbols of kapa haka, waiata and mahi toi. In addition, Te Whāriki emphasises the importance…

I did it!

Hannah, Rena, and I went to Riccarton Bush this morning. On a previous visit, Hannah had to be carried over the raised walkways. She indicated that the gaps between the planks (and the fact that she could see down though them to the ground) were the issue.

Today, however, she dared to crawl across the first platform after watching Rena (seven years old) bound across. She moved very slowly as she looked down through the gaps to the earth below. Rena and I both supported her bravery with lots of…

George makes music

27 JuneGeorge took an interest in music today after I encouraged him to join in. He sat on my knee and gripped a stick puppet of a cow while we sang “Old McDonald”. He chewed on the cow’s leg and smiled at me. He really enjoyed it when I said “Moo, moo” quickly and loudly in a deep voice.

28 JuneGeorge became more involved in music today and danced to The Wiggles while standing and holding onto my hand. Previously, George has preferred to continue in solitary play during our music sessions, exp…

Copy cats

Child’s name: Ngaio and Izak

Date: 6 October

Teacher: Ginny

Examples or cues
A Learning Story


Mana whenua
Taking an Interest
Finding an interest here – a topic, an activity, a role. Recognising the familiar, enjoying the unfamiliar. Coping with change.

Izak came over to play from the Over 2's. Ngaio was watching him as he went inside and picked up a play phone from the toy shelves. Ngaio followed him and found a phone of her own. When Izak went outside, so did Ngaio. The…

A father's story

Joshua came home with a wooden paddle. He asked me, “Where wheels?”

On Saturday, Joshua again asked me, “Where wheels?”, so I asked Joshua to put the paddle “on my workbench”. We don’t have a real workbench, but Joshua clamped the paddle in the vice, all on his own.

Joshua then helped me to lay in the extension cable. He also helped me to remove the electric drill from its box.

Joshua held my hand when I turned the screws holding the wheels on.

When the first wheel was mounted, Joshua let ou…

Learning dispositions, dispositions-in-action, and learning stories

Many of the assessments in Kei Tua o te Pae (books 11–15) are learning stories. Learning stories integrate learning dispositions into a story framework and include an analysis of the learning. They frequently include Possible pathways or What next? suggestions. In the original research with teachers,17 five dispositions-in-action followed a story sequence: taking an interest; being involved; persisting with difficulty, challenge, and uncertainty; expressing a point of view or feeling; and taking…

A culture of success

Black and Wiliam comment that:

What is needed is a culture of success, backed by a belief that all can achieve.26

A culture of success should be promoted where every student can make achievements by building on their previous performance, rather than by being compared with others. Such a culture is promoted by informing students about the strengths and weaknesses demonstrated in their work and by giving feedback about what their next steps should be.27

Such a culture avoids the idea that the…

Belonging situated in routines, customs, and regular events

Routines, customs, and regular events from a range of contexts enrich children’s learning. Children learn that routines, customs, and regular events will be different in different places. They also learn that these routines can be considered and sometimes changed. Children learn strategies for coping with a moderate amount of change and transition.

The exemplar “Farewell to a taonga” documents a centre’s development of practices and customs around the departure of a staff member and her “being…