Kōwhiti Whakapae: A new early learning curriculum resource

Kōwhiti Whakapae is a curriculum resource designed to help early learning kaiako strengthen teaching practice and formative assessment.

What is Kōwhiti Whakapae?

Kōwhiti Whakapae is an online curriculum resource for early learning kaiako built on the foundations of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Te Whāriki principles, the inclusion of all children and nurturing children’s identities, languages and cultures.

Tools and resources for early learning – Kōwhiti Whakapae(external link)

Kōwhiti Whakapae and its associated resources focus on ways to support children’s progress in 3 learning areas:

  • social & emotional
  • oral language & literacy
  • maths.

The social and emotional area is available now, and the other 2 areas are expected to be available in June 2024.

How is Kōwhiti Whakapae connected to our other work?

The Common Practice Model

Kōwhiti Whakapae builds on the pedagogical approaches laid out in the Common Practice Model (CPM), a key part of the 'Literacy & Communication and Maths Strategy'.

Common Practice Model

When the full suite of resources is released, it will provide the early learning practices and progressions of the CPM. Early learning kaiako will be able to refer to Kōwhiti Whakapae for clear, practical guidance on what works best for the teaching of literacy, communication and maths.

He Pikorua Practice Framework

Kōwhiti Whakapae complements the structure and Te Tūāpapa approach of the He Pikorua Practice Framework.

Our practice framework – He Pikorua(external link)

  • Practices in Kōwhiti Whakapae support kaiako to lay the groundwork to strengthen teaching practice and improve learning and wellbeing outcomes for all children (aligning to Te Matua | Universal).
  • The practices and progressions do this by helping kaiako to notice, recognise and respond to children's capabilities (aligning to Te Kāhui | Targeted).
  • Noticing and recognising early also means more timely access to learning supports as needed and more tailored support (aligning to Te Arotahi | Tailored). 

Other education initiatives

Kōwhiti Whakapae also aligns closely to some of our other key initiatives:

  • the Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP)
  • the Early Learning Action Plan
  • Ka Hikitia – Ka Hāpaitia (the Māori Education Strategy)
  • the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020–2030.

More information about all of those connections is available on Kōwhiti Whakapae.

The 'social & emotional' area of Kōwhiti Whakapae

The social & emotional area is available now for kaiako to explore and use.

In Kōwhiti Whakapae, social & emotional learning refers to the knowledge, skills and attitudes that children use in socially and culturally appropriate ways to form relationships, solve conflicts, express, and regulate emotions, adapt in new situations and overcome challenges.

Social & emotional learning is divided into 4 equally important areas.

Connected relationships and caring for others

Children’s ability to connect with family, friends, familiar and unfamiliar people in responsive and respectful ways, including engaging in social interactions that are reciprocal and uphold the mana of each person.

Emotional awareness, regulation, and spiritual connectedness

Children’s growing awareness, understanding and connection to their inner-selves and their wider social and spiritual worlds.

Agency and adaptability

For children in an education setting, agency means being able to make choices, set goals and plans, and follow through. Adaptability means that children are able to respond flexibly to different contexts and expectations, held both by others and themselves.

Social inclusion and action

Enacting social inclusion creates a context where everyone feels a sense of belonging and participation. Social action refers to the actions taken to look after and stand up for self, others, and the natural world.

Assessment examples and whānau guides related to social and emotional learning will also be available.

Getting started with Kōwhiti Whakapae

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Transcript: Getting started with Kōwhiti Whakapae

Let's get started with Kōwhiti Whakapae. 

This video provides an overview of how to navigate the website and step you through a process to support your planning, formative assessment and teaching practice. 

The first thing you see on the homepage, are the three main areas that make up Kōwhiti Whakapae. 

These are: 

  • social & emotional,
  • oral language & literacy,
  • and maths. 

Scroll down to discover what Kōwhiti Whakapae can offer your teaching practice.

This video explaining the foundations and framework is a good place to start. 

Click the tab to view in Te Reo Māori or English. 

Following this there is information about the foundations of Kōwhiti Whakapae and assessment examples showing how this resource can enhance your existing assessment practices.

Click ‘View more assessment examples’ to see them all.

At the top of the screen, you’ll find the ‘Resources’ tab.  

Here there’s a glossary of terms, all the assessment examples, and kaiako and whānau guides among other resources.

To gain a deeper understanding of each learning area, click the tiles on the home page.

Each area provides a description of what it covers, why it’s important and how it’s approached.

Click the ‘Learn more’ buttons to drill down into the detail.

In the ‘Social and Emotional’ page, scroll down to see the 4 sub areas that make up this topic. 

Click on one of these to get started. 

You can also navigate to the same pages by using the menu at the top, if you prefer. 

The ‘About’ tab unpacks this sub-area. It describes what this area is, and why it's important.  

The ‘Get Started’ tab takes you through the 4-step process including how you might implement this into your practice.

Each sub-area contains this process. The steps are: 

  1. Lay the groundwork
  2. Notice and recognise
  3. Respond
  4. Related Assessments.

Let’s have a look at each of these steps in more detail. 

In this step you’ll find teaching practices to help you to whakaritea te pārekereke or, to prepare the seedbed, for all children in your setting.

Within this sub-area, which is ‘Connected Relationships & Caring for Others’, the idea is to first focus on strengthening the environment you provide for all children.

Click on each practice to reveal why it is important and how you might apply it in your setting.

If you want to print this information to take with you, click the ‘Download’ button.

When you’re ready, go back to the overview to move onto the next step.  

In this step you’ll find progressions that illustrate children’s capabilities at different phases of learning: Te Korekore, Te Pō, Te Ao Mārama and Te Ao Hōu. 

These progressions are here to help you notice and recognise children’s current capabilities and identify possible directions for their learning. 

Click to expand for further information about each phase.

Using evidence that you have, decide which phase best fits the current capabilities of a particular child or small group of children in your setting. Here we are looking at one phase, Te Ao Mārama.

Click ‘Back to overview’.

Now it’s time to respond to what you’ve noticed and recognised.

In this step ‘Respond’ there’s a tab for each phase of progress. 

Click the tab for the phase you’ve chosen.

Here you can see practices to help you to scaffold, consolidate or extend children’s learning at this phase.

Click the arrow beside each of the headings to reveal associated practices.

Click ‘Back to overview’ to find related assessment examples which demonstrate how the information gathered can inform your assessment practice. Select the assessment you are interested in exploring.  

To access the full assessment example with further information on how Kōwhiti Whakapae and Te Whāriki has been used, download the resource. You can print these or save to your desktop for later use.

Wherever you are you can get back to the homepage through clicking on the words Kōwhiti Whakapae.

Also, in the bottom banner you can always find the starting guide for quick reference.

Now you’re ready to repeat the 4-step process to focus on a new area of learning.

You might notice the ‘Revisit’ section following this 4-step process. This is a reminder to revisit this process to continually notice, recognise and respond to children’s learning over time.

The same 4-step process is used across all the other areas so once you have used it a few times, it will become more familiar.

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