The Aotearoa New Zealand Curriculum Te Whāriki as a Basis for Developing Dispositions of Inclusion: Early Childhood Student Teachers Partnering With Families as Part of Their Pedagogical Practice

The Aotearoa New Zealand Curriculum Te Whāriki as a Basis for Developing Dispositions of Inclusion: Early Childhood Student Teachers Partnering With Families as Part of Their Pedagogical Practice

Michael Gaffney (University of Otago, New Zealand) and Kate McAnelly (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7703-4.ch011

Abstract

Over the last 20 years Aotearoa New Zealand's early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, has required and supported inclusive approaches to the active participation of disabled children and their families in everyday early childhood settings. The revised Te Whāriki, released in 2017, further places an onus of responsibility on teachers to resist inequity and exclusion experienced by disabled children through its focus on nurturing respectful, responsive relationships with families and honoring the knowledge parents bring with them as experts on their children. This chapter explores how Te Whāriki and initial teacher education (ITE) programs in Aotearoa New Zealand can act on each other to produce student teacher practice that is inclusive of family perspectives. Te Whāriki is a bicultural curriculum and recognizes the Crown's earlier commitment to the indigenous people of New Zealand. This also acknowledges the role of families in early childhood settings as equal partners in establishing aspirations for their children's learning.
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The Aotearoa New Zealand Context: Curriculum, Inclusion, And Diversity

Te Whāriki is a bicultural curriculum underpinned by a Te Ao Māori world view (in recognition of the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand) that children are pounamu (greenstone, or treasure), a vital link between tīpuna (ancestors) and their family of now, as well as mokopuna (descendants) yet to come (Hemara, 2000; Lee, Carr, Soutar & Mitchell, 2013). Disabled children are not apart from this view of children as pounamu, and are seen in Te Ao Māori as being equally as capable and competent as their peers. Te Ao Māori also acknowledges the interplay of past, present and future in constructing the people, places, objects and practices seen as being important to children’s participation and learning (Macfarlane, 2004). It demands a holistic lens be applied to this participation and learning in considering how Te Whāriki’s aspiration statement of children being able to “grow up as 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” (New Zealand Ministry of Education, 2017, p.7) comes to be realized by all.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Playcentre: An early childhood setting whereby parents take on the role of teachers and undergo training such that across the parent group present on any day there is sufficient adults who can create a quality ECE environment. Both Kohanga reo and play-center are given the term parent-led or whanau -led services.

Associate or Mentor: Used to describe fully registered teachers (full registration refers to those who have completed a two year period of mentored teaching experience post qualification) who work in ECE settings and take responsibility for supporting student teachers on placement. There is usually a small remuneration involved to acknowledge the work based on an employment relationship between the ITE institution and the associate.

Kohanga Reo: An early childhood setting that focuses on language revitalization through the provision of full, or mostly, Maori language immersion spaces and whanau (wider family) development.

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