Te Whāriki is a curriculum document that was released by the Ministry of Education in 1996 to “provide a curriculum framework that will form the basic for consistent curriculum and programme in early childhood centres” (Ministry of Education p.10). This means that now early childhood centres across Aotearoa will have the information and standards to make sure children grow and learn in a safe and nurturing environment. Joce Nuttall’s research has shown that the curriculum is made up of three parts: The overt curriculum which is the curriculum that is planned by the teachers, the hidden curriculum is made up of the children’s experiences which are unplanned and undocumented by the teachers, and the null curriculum includes any programme content that is systematically excluded from the children’s experience.
Te Whāriki has four principles that relate to the five strands. The first is Empowerment- Whakamana which is defined by the Ministry of Education as “curriculum which empowers the child to learn and grow”. Empowerment is connected to the theory of B. F. Skinner (1904-1990) about children learning through positive reinforcement. Skinner’s theory showed that a child’s behaviour was likely to be repeated if the child receives positive encouragement and rewards like when a child washes his hands and then receives a stamp and compliments every time this is done which is promoting Te Whāriki strand well-being- Mana Atua strand, goal 1: “Children experience an environment where their health is promoted” (Ministry of Education, p.48).but after a while the child will then wash their hands by their-self even without a stamp afterwards so through Empowerment this child learnt how to self-care and self-help. Implications that exist when working with children, families and whānau are that there are children with disabilities within early childhood centres that need to be involved in normal group activities and play, this relates to Te Whāriki strand Contribution- Mana Tangata: Goal 1 “Children experience an environment where there are equitable opportunities for learning, irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity, or background” (Ministry of Education, p.66).All children have a right to attend early childhood centres, as Lesley Lyon says
“It is simply and firmly founded in the view that all means all: that every person regardless of their similarities and differences has a fundamental right to be part of a family, a community and a society that will enrich their lives and be enriched by the presence of theirs” (Lyon, L. p.16).
Children’s families and whānau need to have constant communication with teachers and any worries or concerns from other parents about their own child’s learning, development and experience in the centre because of a disabled child need to be answered professionally.
Holistic Development- Kotahitanga principle is “curriculum which reflects the holistic way children learn and grow” (Ministry of Education, p.41)....