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    An exploration of early childhood curriculum, with a particular focus on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum framework.

    This course provides students with an introduction to the New Zealand bi-cultural early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki (2017), through an exploration of its historical, political, social, ideological, theoretical and cultural contexts. This course helps students to understand the child in relation to the framework of the principles and strands of Te Whāriki including their developing learning dispositions and working theories.  Children’s learning dispositions of taking an interest and being involved are explored through examples of children being involved in learning about ICT (Information Communication Technology), mathematics and technology.  This introduction paper provides a foundation for future curriculum courses which will deepen students’ knowledge and understandings of the implementation of the early childhood curriculum.

    About this paper

    Paper title Exploring Curriculum
    Subject Education
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (On campus)
    Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $937.50
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Limited to
    Early Childhood Education students only.

    Paper Co-ordinator: (Invercargill campus)

    Teaching staff

    Meredith Kelly (Invercargill campus)
    Roberta Carvalho (Dunedin campus)

    Paper Structure

    What is curriculum in the early years?

    The context of Te Whāriki

    • Historical, theoretical, ideological, political and social
    • Bi-cultural origins and context

    Te Whāriki, a bicultural framework

    • Principles, Strands and Learning Outcomes
    • Philosophy, Goals and Vision
    • Te Ao Māori and two world views


    • The pedagogy of play
    • Pedagogical approaches; role of the kaiako; assessment, planning and evaluation

    Children’s learning dispositions and working theories explored in the areas of

    • Mathematics
    • Technology
    • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

    Required Texts:

    Lee, W., Carr, M., Soutar, B. & Mitchell, L. (2013). Understanding the te whāriki approach: Early years education in practice. Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

    New Zealand Ministry of Education. (2017). Te whāriki: He whāriki matauranga mo ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early childhood curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.

    Gunn, A. & Nuttall, J. (Ed.). (2019). Weaving te whāriki: Aotearoa New Zealand's early childhood curriculum document in theory and practice, (3rd ed). Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER.

    Online te reo Māori dictionary

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    1. Explore and describe what curriculum means in early childhood settings
    2. Examine the historical, cultural, ideological, political, social and theoretical context of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki
    3. Gain an understanding of Te Whāriki, as a bicultural curriculum framework with its underpinning aims, philosophy, principles and strands in practice
    4. Construct content and pedagogical content knowledge in relation to the learning areas of mathematics and technology that are relevant to learners in the early childhood context


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 9-11, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 09:00-10:50 9-11, 15-22

    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 9-11, 15-22
    Wednesday 09:00-10:50 9-11, 15-22
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