Curriculum Framework Resources for Early Childhood Educators

Te Whāraki is New Zealand’s curriculum framework for early childhood education. On the other side of the ditch, Australia uses the Early Years Learning Framework. In Australian slang, it is called the EYLF.  

The two curricula have similar visions. Both strive to create competent, creative and confident learners. They want children to have a strong sense of belonging within their communities. Thirdly, the frameworks want to empower children to be active and engaged members of society.   

Our early childhood education resources provide practical teaching strategies. They will enable you to create meaningful learning experiences. Whether it be through the use of shapes, colours or animals


What is Te Whāriki?   

The full name is Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa Early childhood curriculum. It is the document that sets out the curriculum for early childhood education (ECE) within New Zealand.  

It is underpinned by the vision that children are: “competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they will make a valued contribution to society.” 

Key to Te Whāriki is the belief that each child is on an individual journey. They want to learn and engage with the world. It is the role of teachers, educators and kaiako in ECE settings to work in partnership with parents and whanau to guide children along their learning journey. 

The curriculum has been framed using concepts from te ao Māori. Te Whāriki means the woven mat. Just like a mat, the different elements of Te Whāriki – Principles, Strands, Goals and Learning Outcomes - are woven together to form the foundation for learning. 

Te Whāriki was first published in 1996. At the time, it was one of the first national curricula for early childhood education. The current edition, published in 2017, was the first revision in over 20 years. 

What are the four Principles of Te Whāriki?

The four Principles of Te Whāriki describe the fundamental expectations for all ECE settings. They should form the basis for curriculum decision-making. Additionally, the Principles must guide ECE pedagogy and practice.  

  • Principle 1 – Empowerment | Whakamana – Early childhood curriculum empowers the child to learn and grow. 
  • Principle 2 – Holistic Development | Kotahitanga – Early childhood curriculum reflects the holistic way children learn and grow. 
  • Principle 3 – Family and Community | Whānau Tangata – The wider world of family and community is an integral part of the early childhood curriculum. 
  • Principle 4 – Relationships | Ngā Hononga – Children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things. 

What are the five Strands of Te Whāriki?

The five Strands of Te Whāriki outline areas of learning and development. The focus is on developing these capabilities in children so they can become competent and confident learners.  

  • Strand 1 – Well-being | Mana Atua – The health and well-being of the child are protected and nurtured. 
  • Strand 2 – Belonging | Mana Whenua – Children and their families feel a sense of belonging. 
  • Strand 3 – Contribution | Mana Tangata – Opportunities for learning are equitable, and each child’s contribution is valued. 
  • Strand 4 – Communication | Mana Reo – The languages and symbols of children’s own and other cultures are promoted and protected. 
  • Strand 5 – Exploration | Mana Aotūroa – The child learns through active exploration of the environment. 

Each Strand has several Goals and Learning Outcomes. 

The Goals are for kaiako. They describe ECE learning environments and pedagogies that support learning. Each has a corresponding Learning Outcome. It is a statement about knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions that children develop through learning. 

Our range of Planning for Learning teaching resources explains how you can use shapes, journeys or ICT to help children achieve Learning Outcomes.