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

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

ABSTRACT 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.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reading words may take several forms. Readers may utilize decoding, analogizing, or predicting to read unfamiliar words. Readers read familiar words by accessing them in memory, called sight word reading. With practice, all words come to be read automatically by sight, which is the most efficient, unobtrusive way to read words in text. The process of learning sight words involves forming connections between graphemes and phonemes to bond spellings of the words to their pronunciations and meanings in memory. The process is enabled by phonemic awareness and by knowl-edge of the alphabetic system, which functions as a powerful mnemonic to secure spellings in memory. Recent studies show that alphabetic knowledge enhances chil-dren's learning of new vocabulary words, and it influences their memory for doubled letters in words. Four phases characterize the course of development of sight word learning. The phases are distinguished according to the type of alphabetic knowledge used to form connections: pre-alphabetic, partial, full, and consolidated alphabetic phases. These processes appear to portray sight word learning in transparent as well as opaque writing systems. Life is indeed exciting but demanding these days for researchers who study read-ing. Because many educators are seeking evidence as the basis for decisions about reading instruction, there is great interest in scientific studies of reading processes and instruction. My studies over the years have focused on how beginners learn to read words. My plan is to review what I think we know about learning to read words, particularly sight words; to present some new findings that involve chil-dren's vocabulary learning and memory for orthographic structure; and to point out some issues that linger. An issue of special interest is whether this research in English is relevant for more transparent orthographies.
    Scientific Studies of Reading 01/2005; 9:167-188. · 1.86 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The knowledge of letter names measured just before children enter school has been known for a long time as one of the best longitudinal predictors of learning to read in an alphabetic writing system. After a period during which the comprehensive investigation of this relationship was largely disregarded, there is now a growing interest in attempts to understand the role(s) letter names play in literacy acquisition. This paper reviews these recent studies and emphasizes their main findings regarding the influence of letter-name knowledge in early and formal literacy for three main components of literacy acquisition: first, the emergence of the phonological processing of print; then, the learning of letter-sound correspondences; finally, the development of phonemic sensitivity skills. The final section discusses the status of letter-name knowledge (LNK) in literacy acquisition and suggests possible directions for further research.
    Reading and Writing 02/2005; 18(2):129-155. · 1.44 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study assesses the relative effects through age 23 on young participants born in poverty of the High/Scope, Direct Instruction, and traditional Nursery School preschool curriculum models. At ages 3 and 4, 68 children were randomly assigned to the models, which were implemented independently and to high standards, in 2-hour classes 5 days a week and biweekly 1-hour home visits. For a decade, virtually no curriculum group differences in intellectual and academic performance were found. In many areas, no statistically significant differences were found at age 15 or at age 23; however, a pattern of group differences in community behavior did emerge at age 15 and became more pronounced at age 23. At age 15 the Direct Instruction group reported committing 2 times as many acts of misconduct as the High/Scope group. At age 23, compared to the other curriculum groups, the Direct Instruction group had three times as many felony arrests per person, especially those involving property crimes; 47% of the Direct Instruction group was treated for emotional impairment or disturbance during their schooling, as compared to only 6% of either of the other curriculum groups. These results are attributed to the emphasis on planning, social reasoning, and other social objectives in the High/Scope curriculum and the Nursery School curriculum, but not in the Direct Instruction curriculum. The results of this study do not consistently distinguish between the long-term effectiveness of the High/Scope and traditional Nursery School currculums, but the High/Scope curriculum model is more readily replicated because of its more precise definition. These findings argue against using Direct Instruction in preschool programs and for using a well-defined curriculum model based on child-initiated learning activities.
    Early Childhood Research Quarterly 01/1997; · 1.67 Impact Factor


Available from