Curriculum / Te Whāriki

Te Whāriki – Early Childhood Curriculum

Competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society.

Each child is on a unique journey. They come into the world eager to learn and into family, whānau or ‘aiga that have high hopes for them. Teachers, educators and kaiako in ECE settings work together in partnership with the family to realise these hopes.

At Bishopdale Community Preschool the curriculum encompasses everything the children interacts with, that is the people, the place and the equipment. We believe that our curriculum extends to the child’s home environment; the home and preschool have a reciprocal relationship that helps build the child’s learning journey.

In New Zealand / Aotearoa all early childhood centres, preschools, kindergartens, daycare services are guided by a national curriculum – Te Whāriki, it has been described as a weaving of the things we value as important to young children’s learning and development. The diagram is of the principles of the curriculum as the strands of a woven mat.

The Whāriki / Woven Mat

He whāriki hei whakamana I te mokopuna, hei kawe I ngā watata

A whāriki that empowers the child and carries our aspirations

The Principles

The curriculum is underpinned by four principles. These principles are the foundations of curriculum decision making and a guide for every aspect of pedagogy and practice.


The early childhood curriculum empowers the child to learn and grow.

Holistic Development

The early childhood curriculum reflects the holistic way children learn and grow.

Family and Community

The wider world of family and community is an integral part of the early childhood curriculum.


Children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things.

The Strands
There are five strands in the curriculum, together with the principles, these strands provide the framework for a holistic curriculum.

Mana atua / Wellbeing

The health and wellbeing of the child are protected and nurtured. This includes paying attention to the physical care, such as healthy eating and nutrition and opportunities for physical activity.

Mana whenua / Belonging

Children and their families feel a sense of belonging. The ECE setting is a safe and secure place where each child is treated with respect and diversity is valued. Feeling that they belong contributes to their wellbeing and give them the confidence to try new experiences.

Mana tangata / Contribution

Opportunities for learning are equitable, and each child’s contribution is valued. To make a contribution, children need to develop responsive and reciprocal relationships with kaiako and with other children.

Mana Reo / Communication

The languages and symbols of children’s own and other cultures are promoted and protected. One of the major cultural tasks for children in the early years is to develop competence in and understanding of language.

Mana aotūroa / Exploration

The child learns through active exploration of the environment. Children learn through play; by doing, asking questions, interacting with others and devising theories and then trying them out.