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Learn about consultation on expanding the current legal curriculum framework for early learning by including the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki.

About the consultation

In He taonga te tamaiti – Every child a taonga: Early learning action plan 2019-2029 (Early Learning Action Plan) the Government proposed to “gazette the full curriculum framework of Te Whāriki to support engagement with the principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes when designing local curricula” (Action 4.1). The Ministry of Education is consulting on this proposal until 19 August 2022.

To ‘gazette’ means to make the principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa Early childhood curriculum (Te Whāriki) part of the legal curriculum framework for early learning through publication in the New Zealand Gazette – the official newspaper of the New Zealand government.

This would change the legal requirements for using Te Whāriki. It would mean all licensed early childhood services and certified playgroups (except ngā kōhanga reo) would need to implement the four parts of Te Whāriki (principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes) in their local curriculum to meet licensing or certification requirements.

Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

In 2008 the principles and strands of Te Whāriki were gazetted by the Minister of Education as the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework for all licensed early childhood education services and certified playgroups:

  • principles | ngā kaupapa whakahaere – empowerment | whakamana, holistic development | kotahitanga, family and community | whānau tangata, and relationships | ngā hononga
  • strands | taumata whakahirahira – wellbeing | mana atua, belonging | mana whenua, contribution | mana tangata, communication | mana reo, and exploration | mana aotūroa. 

In the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework, early childhood education services and playgroups can choose to use either the principles and strands (‘Part A’), ngā kaupapa whakahaere and taumata whakahirahira (Part B) or both.

You can read more about:

Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa Early Childhood Curriculum (Te Whāriki)

2008 Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

Curriculum framework for ngā kōhanga reo

The current legal curriculum framework for ngā kōhanga reo affiliated with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust (the Trust) is ngā kaupapa whakahaerae and ngā taumata whakahirahira of Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo. This was published as ‘Part C’ in the 2008 New Zealand Gazette notice:

  • ngā kaupapa whakahaere – whakamana, kotahitanga, whānau tangata, me ngā hononga
  • ngā taumata whakahirahira – mana atua, mana whenua, mana tangata, mana reo, me mana aotūroa. 

The Ministry has consulted with the Trust about expanding the legal curriculum requirements for ngā kōhanga reo.

The Trust has confirmed that it will expand the legal curriculum framework for ngā kōhanga reo by including Te Tauira Whāriki | Te Katoa o te Mokopuna from Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo.

The inclusion of Te Tauira Whāriki | Te Katoa o te Mokopuna will ensure a sound kaupapa Māori approach that will strengthen the learning and development needs of mokopuna.

Read more about:

Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo

2008 Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

Draft Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

If you are a kōhanga reo affiliated with the Trust and have any questions about the Trust’s intention to gazette the full framework of Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo, please contact the Trust at:

info@kohanga.ac.nz or

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust, PO Box 38741, Wellington.

The proposal

We are consulting on the following proposal to:

  • expand the legal curriculum framework to include the full framework of the principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki; and
  • include a te ao Māori interpretation of the principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki in the legal curriculum framework.

This change would mean licensed early childhood services and certified playgroups (except kōhanga reo) would need to implement the four parts of Te Whāriki (principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes) when designing and implementing their curricula to meet licensing or certification standards.

Reasons for change

Gazetting the full framework of Te Whāriki would support quality of curriculum implementation across early learning services by ensuring all kaiako engage with the principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes when designing and implementing local curricula.

Together the four parts of Te Whāriki provide the framework for effective curriculum implementation, as follows:

  • The principles | ngā kaupapa whakahaere are the foundations of curriculum decision making and a guide for every aspect of pedagogy and practice.
  • The strands | ngā taumata whakahirahira are five areas of learning and development that focus on supporting children to develop the capabilities they need as confident and competent learners.
  • The goals support teaching practices.
  • The learning outcomes are broad statements of valued learning.

Previous consultation and engagement

Released for public consultation in 2018, He taonga te tamaiti – Every child a taonga: Draft strategic plan for early learning 2019-29 (draft strategic plan) included the recommendation to gazette the full framework of Te Whāriki “to support shared expectations” about every child experiencing “a rich and empowering curriculum” (Goal 1.5).

The draft strategic plan was developed by the Ministerial Advisory Group, a larger reference group that included sector stakeholders, and the Ministry of Education.

Public consultation on the draft strategic plan ran from November 2018 to March 2019. During this consultation, the Ministry held 44 public hui around the country, attended by more than 1900 people, and met with key stakeholders. The Ministry received 2,264 online survey submissions and 219 written submissions during the consultation period.

The draft strategic plan’s recommendation to gazette the full framework of Te Whāriki was supported through the consultation and became action 4.1 in He taonga te tamaiti – Every child a taonga: Early learning action plan 2019-2029 (Early Learning Action Plan).

Read more about the Early Learning Action Plan.

Te ao Māori interpretation of goals and learning outcomes

In 2021 the Ministry held a series of hui across Aotearoa with representatives of Māori medium early childhood education services not affiliated with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.

The hui included discussing the implications of gazetting the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki for these services. This engagement reached around fifty early childhood education services that identified as a Māori immersion or bilingual early childhood service.

The Ministry found that these services supported including the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki in the legal curriculum framework. However, these services told us they need a te ao Māori interpretation of the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki, rather than a direct translation from the English text.

The Ministry has developed a draft te ao Māori interpretation of the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki by referring directly to the bicultural foundation of Te Whāriki and the language and concepts of the principles | ngā kaupapa whakahaere, strands, goals and learning outcomes | ngā taumata whakahirahira.

The Ministry has tested this draft with the Māori medium early childhood education services, and they are supportive of the draft content.

Content of draft te ao Māori interpretation

The draft te ao Māori interpretation of the framework of Te Whāriki includes an interpretation of the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki in te reo Māori and English. In addition, instead of the existing English translation of the Māori version of the principles and strands of Te Whāriki in the legal curriculum framework, the Ministry is proposing a new te ao Māori interpretation of them in English.

A te ao Māori interpretation of the full framework of Te Whāriki would significantly strengthen the bicultural intent of the early childhood curriculum and support delivery of quality te ao Māori curriculum in early childhood, particularly for Māori medium services such as puna reo.

The draft te ao Māori interpretation puts Māori and English text side-by-side. This would support both kaiako who are capable in te reo Māori and te ao Māori and those who are still developing this capability.

Would services be required to use te ao Māori interpretation?

As is the case now, services would not be legally required to use it. While the draft te ao Māori interpretation of the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki has been developed in response to feedback from Māori medium early childhood services, it would be included in the legal curriculum framework for any early childhood service or playgroup that wishes to use it. To meet licensing or certification requirements, services (except ngā kōhanga reo) would be able to choose to use either the existing framework of Te Whāriki, te ao Māori interpretation, or both in their programmes.

What would this change mean for services?

If you are already using the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki in your curriculum planning and implementation, there will be no change through this process.

If you have not engaged with goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki, there would be an expectation that you would do this and that this is evident in your curriculum planning and implementation.

Would this mean all services have to deliver the same curriculum?

Every service would continue to design its local curriculum based on what is important to children, families and whānau, kaiako and local community. All services already need to implement the legal early childhood curriculum framework and the expectation is that each service weaves its own distinct whāriki based on what matters to its local community. This is not changing. 

What would the Education Review Office (ERO) look for?

ERO undertakes two types of reviews of non-Māori medium early learning services – Akanuku | Assurance Reviews and Akarangi | Quality Evaluations.

Expanding the legal early childhood curriculum framework would mean that during an ERO Akanuku | Assurance Review a service would need to show they are considering the whole framework of Te Whāriki (principles | ngā kaupapa whakahaere. strands, goals and learning outcomes | | ngā taumata whakahirahira) when planning and implementing their curriculum as part of meeting licensing requirements. 

In ERO Akarangi | Quality Evaluations the focus is on the quality of curriculum implementation beyond meeting minimum licensing requirements. There is already an expectation in Akarangi | Quality Evaluations that the learning outcomes of Te Whāriki are used as part of assessment and planning processes by early childhood services. This would continue if the full framework of Te Whāriki is gazetted.

Is the change already decided?

Although gazetting the full framework of Te Whāriki is the Government’s stated intention in the Early Learning Action Plan, it is a proposed change that requires public consultation. Whether the change goes ahead will depend on the outcomes of public consultation and the agreement of the Minister of Education.

After public consultation

Following consultation, the updated Early Childhood Curriculum Framework would be published by the Minister of Education in the New Zealand Gazette in November 2022. A transitional period of at least six months would be provided between the publication of the notice and it becoming part of regulated standards for services and playgroups.

Te Whāriki Online already has a range of resources that help services implement the full framework of Te Whāriki. Following the publication of the full framework of Te Whāriki in the New Zealand Gazette, the Ministry will supplement these resources with an instructional video, a webinar, and a live Q & A that provides guidance on how to implement the full framework to meet regulated standards. We would also update the licensing criteria guidance for services to reflect the new prescribed legal curriculum framework.

Providing feedback

The Ministry of Education is currently consulting on gazetting the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki. Consultation is running from 7 July to 19 August 2022.

You can read more about the current Early Childhood Curriculum Framework and the draft framework with the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki included:

2008 Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

Draft Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

Consultation document

Have your say by completing the survey in either English or te reo Māori below:

Start the survey in English

Start the survey in te reo Māori

You can also send a submission to either 

Gazetting.TeWhariki@education.govt.nz or

this postal address:

Gazetting Te Whāriki
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

The information provided in the survey and submissions will be incorporated into the Ministry’s policy development process and will inform advice to the Minister of Education.

Further questions or comments

If you have any questions or suggestions about the gazetting the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki or would like to talk to the Ministry about this, you are welcome to email Gazetting.TeWhariki@education.govt.nz.