Te Whariki - A Parent's Guide to the National Early Childhood Curriculum

Updated: Jun 8

Te Whariki is the curriculum that underpins all early childhood education (ECE) services in New Zealand. Te Whariki is based on the principles, strands, goals and learning outcomes found in the Te Whariki document. A copy of this document is available in all our centres or a PDF version is available online.

Free PDF copy of Te Whariki

When centre leaders and teachers decide on which areas to focus on, the interests, strengths and needs of the children and the aspirations of parents, whanau and the community are carefully considered. Te Whariki is a document is that it supports every child to be strong in his or her identity, language and culture.

Here is Te Whariki at a glance:

The Principles

Empowerment | Whakamana – Early childhood curriculum empowers the child to learn and grow.

Holistic Development | Kotahitanga – Early childhood curriculum reflects the holistic way that children learn and grow.

Family and Community | Whanau Tangata – The wider world of the family and community is an integral part of the early childhood curriculum.

Relationships | Nga Hononga – Children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things.

The Strands

Wellbeing | Mana Atua – The health and wellbeing of the child are protected and nurtured.

Belonging | Mana Whenua – Children and their families feel a sense of belonging.

Contribution | Mana Tangata – Opportunities for learning are equitable, and each child’s contribution is valued.

Communication | Mana Reo – Te languages and symbols of children’s own and other cultures are promoted and protected.

Exploration | Mana Aoturoa – The child learns through active exploration of the environment.

The Goals

1. Children’s health is promoted.

2. Children’s emotional wellbeing is nurtured

3. Children are kept safe from harm.

4. Connecting links with the family and the wider world are affirmed and extended.

5. Children know they have a place.

6. Children feel comfortable with the routines, customs and regular events.

7. Children know they have limits and boundaries of acceptable behaviour.

8. There are equitable opportunities for learning, irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity or background.

9. Children are affirmed as individuals.

10. Children are encouraged to learn alongside others.

11. Children develop non-verbal communication skills for a range of purposes.

12. Children develop verbal communication skills for a range of purposes.

13. Children experience the stories and symbols of their own and other cultures.

14. Children discover different ways to be creative and expressive.

15. Children’s play is valued as meaningful learning and the importance of spontaneous play is recognised.

16. Children gain confidence in and control of their bodies

17. Children learn strategies for active exploration, thinking and reasoning.

18. Children develop working theories for making sense of the natural, social, physical and material worlds.

Te Whariki was first implemented in 1996 making Aotearoa, New Zealand the first country in the world to implement a national curriculum for children under 6 years. We have since become leaders in early childhood education with other countries looking to us for guidance when setting up their own curriculums.

Prebbleton Kindergarten Children at Play


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