Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum: is it effective?

International Journal of Early Years Education 09/2010; 18(3):201-212. DOI: 10.1080/09669760.2010.521296


Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, has received much praise since its introduction in 1996. There is, however, little research evidence about the implementation or effectiveness of the curriculum in early childhood centres. This article raises questions about the structure and content of Te Whāriki. The holistic and integrated nature of the curriculum means that subject content areas (e.g., art, music, science, literacy) can be overlooked. The generalised nature of the guidelines in Te Whāriki on programme planning allows for flexibility but may result in children being provided with an inadequate range of learning experiences. Concerns are also raised about the value of Learning Stories, a novel form of assessment that was designed to align with the approach of Te Whāriki.

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    • "Despite nearly 40,000 children attending kindergarten in NZ, little is known about the effectiveness of this education system on children's emergent literacy and language development (Nuttall 2005; McLachlan and Arrow 2011; Blaiklock 2010). Blaiklock (2010) expressed concerns about both the holistic nature of the curriculum and the 'nonprescriptive nature of its guidelines' (p. 210), both of which might lead to inadequate attention to subject areas such as literacy, science, art, or music. "
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    ABSTRACT: In Sweden a Revised National Curriculum for Preschool (Lpfö 98, revised 2010) was implemented on 1 July 2011. The purpose of the revised curriculum was to increase the quality in the Swedish preschool by stressing the scientific basis. The aim was to explore how four heads of preschool reflect on the curriculum and the quality in preschool. This article is based on focus group methodology. The questions concerned reflections on the Curriculum for Preschool, systematic quality work and the role of the heads. The results showed that the most important factors concerning the revised curriculum were competent staff, attitudes and values and systematic quality work. Important factors for quality work were competent staff, enough time for pedagogical planning and the children, and low staff turnover. Important issues concerning the role of the heads were knowledge and understanding of the mission, systematic work and goals of improvement.
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