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.

Emotional well-being

  • Making a card for Great-grandad
    • Child: Zachary

      Date: February

      Teacher: Mary

        A learning story
      Taking an interest “I’m making a card for my great-grandad,” Zachary told me.

      “He’s really sad!” I asked him why.

      “Because Great-grandma died. We go and see him and cheer him up.”

      “My great-grandma died before I was born.”

      “My daddy said when I’m a daddy, I might die, so I don’t want to be a daddy because I don’t want to die.

      I don’t want to grow up ...”

      (Monique was sitting listening to this wonderful chatting. She told him that everyone has to grow up!)

      Being involved
      Persisting with difficulty
      Expressing an idea or a feeling 
      Taking responsibility 

      Short-term review

      This was a wonderful way of expressing a feeling that he has picked up.

      His great-grandad is obviously very important to him and he wants to make him feel happy. He was able to talk in a very relaxed manner with little prompting from myself or Monique – very grown up! How important families are.

      Parent comment

      When I dropped Zachary off in the morning I mentioned to one of the teachers that it was Zach’s great- grandad’s birthday and we were going to visit him after crèche. I suggested to Zach that if he felt like doing a picture, he could make one for Great-grandad. The teacher suggested they make him a birthday card.

      When I arrived back at crèche to collect Zachary, I was told about the conversation he had had with Mary and Monique while making the birthday card. It was really nice to hear that he had been talking about Great-grandma, who died last year, and that he was talking about looking after Great-grandad. We talked about Great-grandma dying a lot after she died – what it meant for us and for Great-grandad. I was pleased to see that he seemed to have understood it and was comfortable talking about it.

      I was unable to catch up with Mary for a few days and then his learning story appeared in the portfolio with more details in it, which was very helpful. When I spoke with Mary it was also good to follow up with her about him not wanting to be a daddy because he would have to die. In a way the learning story has acted as a catalyst for discussion with the teachers about what is going on in Zachary’s life and his reactions to it.

      Because I was not able to catch up with Mary straight away, it was good to have the learning story there. It let me know what was said and it also served as a reminder to me to discuss it further with her. Having the story in Zachary’s portfolio really illustrates to me that the teachers are picking up on who Zachary is.

  • Finn’s dragonfly
    • May

      I approach you Finn as you are working at the art table; you are deep in thought and using a lot of concentration while you work. I wait quietly for a bit and then ask, “What are you doing there, Finn?” “A dragonfly.”

      Boy drawing a dragonfly Boy looking a dragonfly picture

      Finn, you have such attention to detail and you take time to study the book, which is open at the end of the table, before you go back to your drawing. I ask you if you have ever seen a dragonfly and you tell me, “At my friend Olivia’s, she lives away way in Tauranga. She always has a little dragonfly buzzing around her pool.”

      You go back to your drawing and your concentration on this artwork is amazing.

      “They are pretty special aren’t they – dragonflies?” I say.

      “Yes,” you say after some thinking.

      You continue to draw and then you talk to me about the green thing on your page and how you were going to draw a fish and then you decided to do a dragonfly. 

      Child's drawing of a dragonfly Boy drawing a dragonfly

      I ask you if it is hard to draw and you say, “Yes, I have to concentrate,” and I can see you concentrating on your artwork.

      I tell you that you are an artist and you say to me, “I do like doing art.”

      When I ask you why, you tell me, “I like doing it for my mum and dad. I think it is pretty hard to do in noise, once I did it in the quiet.”

      “Is it easier in the quiet?” I ask.

      “Yep,” you say.

      You continue with your drawing and then move on to outlining your dragonfly with PVA glue.

      Finn, I can tell from your face that you are not as happy with this part of your artwork as you were with the pencil drawing. Your face is so expressive that it is hard to hide disappointment. I tell you that I think it looks great and that we can still recognise your name, but I don’t think you are entirely convinced.

       Boy drawing a dragonfly Boy drawing a dragonfly

      Finn, as I have said before, you have the ability to persevere with tasks that you set for yourself until they are completed. This learning story reminds me of two that I have written for you previously: the one about the woolly jumper that you made – do you remember how long it took you to make that piece of artwork? And more recently you were very interested in drawing a map to show the way to the zoo. I noticed then your technique of looking closely at the map and then drawing a bit and then having another look at the map on the wall. This is exactly what you were doing today when you were drawing your dragonfly. I like being able to have conversations with you Finn. I really enjoy hearing your thoughts on different things and I especially like that you are able to answer my questions: “Is it hard to do?” and “What do you like about art?” and so on. You are so right that it is hard to do artwork when it is noisy, and today was a very noisy day inside the kindergarten! I think you did really well. And I do think you are an artist.

      Finn, you tried so hard not to get that sleeve of yours in the PVA glue and when I looked at the video (don’t forget to have a look at this yourself), it wasn’t until the very end that you got your sleeve in that glue!

      This is a three-step process and you have completed two of the steps. When your artwork is dry you might like to do the next step and paint different coloured dye over your drawing. 


  • Caroline spreads her wings
    • 20 May: I’d like Caroline to have a sense of independence – i.e., not always needing to be with me or her caregiver – time alone, or with other children and no caregiver close by would be good. Not sure how to develop her independence but I don’t want to have created a “clingy” baby either!! Jennifer.

      Margaret and the other teachers at the centre had noticed that Caroline preferred to be held by adults and Jennifer agreed that this was not a new issue for Caroline. Jennifer and Margaret also discussed their observations of Caroline’s expanding locomotor skills as well as her increasing social play.

      Some of these observations by teachers were recorded in Caroline’s profile book. 

      19 March: Caroline is making more of an effort to move when on her tummy. Today she succeeded in moving backwards a short distance.

      23 April: Caroline crawled at home for the first time!

      30 April: Caroline has been crawling today! July: Caroline and Brecht were determined to get the toy out of the cot.

      1 August: Caroline is trying very hard to stand unaided, letting go of her support for a few seconds.

      2 August: Caroline and David played in and out of the tunnel laughing at each other as they met in the middle – then one would turn around and they’d follow each other through the tunnel. This play lasted at least 5 mins.

      24 August: Caroline has mastered standing unaided and she can also climb in and out of the car – she is really proud of her accomplishments.

      3 September: Caroline is learning to walk. She investigated the ride-on bike, but eventually chose the trolley, which offered stability and support as she walked. Caroline spent a lot of her time pushing trolleys about as she practised walking.

      Infant pushing herself up

      Caroline using her legs to push herself up.

      16 October: Caroline was determined to get onto the spring bug today despite someone else being on it already. She became quite frustrated, threw herself backwards for a few seconds, then got up, looked at the child on the bug and walked away to another toy. She kept an eye on the bug though and as soon as it was free, she went back to it and climbed on. 

      Infant girl pushing a toy trolley Infant girl pushing a toy trolley

      Caroline wanted the trolley to face the other way so she manoeuvred it around.

      Infant girl pushing a toy trike Infant girl pushing a toy trike

      23 October: Caroline is learning to assert herself when she wants a toy. Today she and William both had hold of the teeter totter. They both wanted it and were quite vocal to each other.

      In the end Caroline walked away with a frown. Later she wanted to stand on a crate next to Allen. She got up on the crate and successfully moved Allen along until there was enough room for her to be comfortable.

      Caroline seems to be taking time to assess a situation before acting or reacting, which is enabling her to attain a positive rather than negative result.

      Plan – to note such moments and praise the positive interactions.

      Infant girl standing

      December: Caroline has become very confident and competent on her feet and is in control of her body. She can climb onto and off the small chairs with no difficulty. 

      Several months after her note to Margaret, Jennifer recognises a number of significant changes in Caroline:

      Learning story text

  • Pōwhiri for the new principal
    •   A learning story

      Mana whenua

      The centre was delighted by the invitation to attend the pōwhiri for the new principal.

      Significantly we sat at the front, reflecting that we are valued.

      The kaupapa of the centre – to encourage respect and understanding of Māoritanga – was evident in our children who sat quietly, stood to waiata when required and remained respectful throughout the hour-long pōwhiri.

      Two children who were tired simply leaned against adults and fell asleep – no grizzling, no testiness.

      The kaumātua for the tāngata whenua and the kaumātua for the manuhiri acknowledged the children as taonga of the college.

      As usual our children maintained the wairua of the occasion through their exemplary behaviour.

      The essence of the kaupapa and kawa were retained.


      Mana atua

      Mana aotūroa

      Mana reo

      Mana tangata

      Short-term review

      The children’s attitudes are inspiring. May they be lifelong.

      What next?

      Strengthen our link to Te Puru. Continue to foster involvement in official college occasions. Forge a reciprocally valuable relationship with the new principal.