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EDCR101 Exploring Curriculum

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

This paper provides students with an introduction to the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, through an exploration of its historical, political, social, ideological, theoretical and cultural contexts. It will also allow students to gain both content and pedagogical content knowledge of ICT (Information Communication Technology), mathematics and technology.

This introduction provides a foundation for two future courses: Weaving Curriculum (EDCR 201) and Living Curriculum (EDCR 301), which will deepen students' knowledge and understandings of the implementation of the early childhood curriculum.

Paper title Exploring Curriculum
Paper code EDCR101
Subject Education
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (On campus)
Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $887.55
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
Early Childhood Education students only.
Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinator: Meredith Kelly (Southland campus)
Dr Beverley Clark (Dunedin)

Paper Structure

What is curriculum in the early years?

  • The context of Te Whāriki
  • Historical, cultural, ideological, political, social
  • Theoretical Te Whāriki, as a bicultural framework
  • Aims, philosophy, aspiration statement
  • Principles and strands
  • Te Ao Māori and two worldviews


  • The pedagogy of play
  • Pedagogical approaches

Content and pedagogical content knowledge

  • Key elements and pedagogic approaches
  • Mathematics
  • Technology
  • ICT: A curriculum tool for learning

Required Texts:

Clark, A. & Grey, A. (Eds.). (2010). Perspectives on early childhood education: Ata kite ate pae - Scanning the horizon. Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson.

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

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 14:00-14:50 9-15, 18, 21-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 09:00-10:50 9-15, 17-18, 21-22

Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 9-15, 17-18, 21-22
Thursday 11:00-12:50 9-15, 17-18, 21-22