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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