te poutāhū curriculum centre early learning update

Te Poutāhū Curriculum Centre Early Learning Update
March 2023

07 March 2023
te poutāhū curriculum centre early learning update

Te Poutāhū Curriculum Centre Early Learning Update

March 2023


Kua mahuta mai rā a Rēhua i te rangi
Hoki mai rā Tamanuiterā ki a Hineraumati
Ka tū ko te haka a Tānerore
Ko te haka a Pareārohe
Ko te haka a Hikohiko
Ko te haka a Hae
Kua tau ngā waewae o Rūhī ki raro
Kua tū a Rēhua-kai-tangata
Nau mai, haere atu taku karere
Te karere a Te Poutāhū
Ki runga ki te mata o te whenua
Tīhei Mauriora!

Rēhua the star of summer has risen
The Sun has joined the Summer Maiden
Heatwaves shimmer below
Heatwaves shimmer above
Light dancing on the water
Pollen in abundance
The feet of Rūhī touch the earth
Rēhua the warrior stands dominant
Welcome my message and depart
The message from Te Poutāhū
Moving over the face of the land
It breathes, it lives!

Welcome to the Te Poutāhū Curriculum Centre Early Learning Update

Kia ora koutou 

Welcome to the first issue of the Early Learning Curriculum Centre Update for 2023. 

In this issue, we provide an update on the development of Kōwhiti Whakapae, a suite of tools that will assist kaiako to notice, recognise and respond to children’s learning over time.   

We outline how we are responding to the Action Plan for Pacific Education and the new Pacific Language Strategy, including building relationships and our plans for a dedicated page on Te Whāriki Online to support and enhance the success of Pacific learners.  

Also covered is how we are taking action to support gifted learners in Early Learning in response to the Learning Support Action Plan.

There will be a range of opportunities for you to get involved in user testing and feedback loops later this year, so please keep an eye out for our next issue. 

Ellen MacGregor-Reid
Hautū | Deputy Secretary
Te Poutāhū | Curriculum Centre


Supporting a return to Early Learning services after recent weather events

We have put together some links to resources that may support you as you welcome ākonga and whānau back into services. The resources focus on wellbeing, recognising and expressing emotions, practicing self-compassion for kaiako and whanau, and calming rituals.

Check out these links:

  • Early Learning wellbeing webinar - this recorded webinar explored the transition back into learning after lockdowns, and includes some effective strategies that you might want to use as you return to your places of learning now. 
  • Calming rituals - this page on Te Whāriki Online looks at ideas for calming your tamariki.
  • Following on from the wellbeing webinar and supporting children to express their emotions, we have The Language of Emotions page on Te Whāriki Online.
  • He Māpuna te Tamaiti provides further strategies for promoting emotional competence.
  • Hikitia te Hā - this video demonstrates te ao Māori breathing exercises to calm the mind and body. 

Kōwhiti Whakapae

A resource to strengthen progress through practice

In reference to Action 4.2 of He taonga te tamaiti – Every child a taonga: Early learning action plan 2019 - 2029, we are continuing to develop Kōwhiti Whakapae. This resource will help kaiako to notice, recognise and respond to children’s learning over time. We are currently revising the draft resource in response to feedback from the initial trial and wider sector engagement at the end of 2022. Thank you to all those who attended and contributed during these engagements.

In response to feedback, we intend to move Kōwhiti Whakapae to an online format that will ease use and provide more opportunity to layer information, including links to a range of support information and examples. 

In tandem to the development of the first tool (social and emotional learning), we are developing the further two tools in the Kōwhiti Whakapae suite – oral language and literacy, and maths. We are also beginning to scope a literacy teaching and learning guide as a deeper dive into practice that, together with Kōwhiti Whakapae, will form part of the common practice model for the Literacy & Communication and Maths Strategy.

How can you be involved?

In the first half of this year, we are hoping to undertake user testing of the online tool. This will involve attending a meeting (face to face or via video conference) with the online team to be taken through the tool, trying out a few tasks, and feeding back on the useability and content of the online layout.

If you are interested in taking part in this user-testing, please email Te Poutāhū Early Learning team at early.learning@education.govt.nz

Pacific education focus

The Early Learning Curriculum team continues to respond to the Action Plan for Pacific Education and the new Pacific Language Strategy – government strategies designed to support Pacific learners, families, and communities.  We are guided by Te Whāriki with a focus on learner identity that is enhanced through valuing children’s home languages and cultures and being responsive to Pacific ways of knowing and doing.

Our journey so far towards supporting Pacific education has involved building relationships both within the Ministry of Education and externally within Pacific communities and services. These relationships provide the foundation on which resources to support Pacific kaiako and kaiako of Pacific learners are designed and developed. We are focused on increasing the visibility of Pacific languages, cultures, and traditions.  

To this end, we will shortly launch a dedicated page on Te Whāriki Online to support and enhance the success of Pacific learners. It will include Pacific values, links to language resources and information about understanding and supporting bilingual and multilingual language pathways. Future stories of practice will include Pacific kaiako sharing their implementation of Te Whāriki from a Pacific worldview. Our kaiako in Pacific language services will be able to find links to the Curriculum Design Guide in five Pacific languages (Cook Island Māori, Tokelauan, Niuean, Samoan, and Tongan) for use in their services.   

We have plans underway for future work, so keep an eye on Te Whāriki Online and our social media pages to keep up to date.    

Gifted in Early Learning

In response to the Learning Support Action Plan Priority 5, the Early Learning Curriculum team have been working with CORE Education and an expert advisory group to design supports for kaiako that develop the understanding needed to respond to giftedness in a way that supports the mana of all.  

In September 2021, CORE Education delivered a series of webinars to kaiako that responded to gifted children’s identity, language, and culture. The webinar series initially positioned a te ao Māori view of giftedness, widened the lens in webinar two, and focused on nurturing giftedness in webinar three. The programme also explored the characteristics of giftedness, validating and acknowledging emotions, facilitating friendships, encouraging resilience, and recognising different thinking processes and intensities (physical, sensual, intellectual, imaginative, and emotional). A component of this webinar series was mentoring sessions.

The programme was designed to be introductory and the feedback we received from participants was very positive. As a follow-on from this series, we are excited to launch a page on Te Whāriki Online for our gifted learners. This page gives an overview of the webinar series, including a proposed kaupapa Māori framework for giftedness based on the strands of Te Whāriki and the Mana Tu, Mana Ora model – characteristics of Māori giftedness and other perspectives on the characteristics of gifted learners. The page also includes a collection of stories of practice from kaiako working with gifted learners and their whānau.  

To provide greater reach across the sector and into our communities, we are working to develop the webinar series into self-paced eLearn modules. We anticipate these will go live mid-2023.

What’s new on Te Whāriki Online

Here are three short videos on Te Whāriki Online that we hope will give you ideas and inspiration for your own setting:

Home-based assessment for learning – Te Whāriki Online

Leaders facilitating learning discussions in a Puna Reo – Te Whāriki Online

Using whānau aspirations to assess learning – Te Whāriki Online

What’s coming up?

Watch this space for new material due to be published on Te Whāriki Online over the next couple of months which will include:

  • a short video to help you and your setting to have regard for the National Education and Learning Priorities in your curriculum and daily practice
  • a climate change directory that shares wonderful resources, links, and new learnings about the small steps we can all take to make a difference
  • resources to support the implementation of the full gazetted framework of Te Whāriki, including te ao Māori interpretations
  • ANZH eLearning modules that encourage services to explore the histories of your setting.

Māu mātou e āwhina | Can you help us?

We would love to hear what your favourite resource is on Te Whāriki Online and why. This feedback helps to create resources that support you in your context. 

He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early childhood curriculum – Te Whāriki Online

The survey form has only two questions. It will take three to five minutes to fill out.

Māu mātou e āwhina? | Can you help us? – Te Whāriki Online

If you can't access the form, send your answer for what is your favourite resource on Te Whāriki Online and why to: early.learning@education.govt.nz

Learning in the home - Te Whāriki Online

During these challenging times, remember there is support on Te Whāriki Online for parents, caregivers, and whānau who have young children at home:

Ako ki te kāinga: Learning in the home – Te Whāriki Online

On this page they will find everyday activities that use items they already have at home to support children's learning.