Te Whāriki is a curriculum guideline originally published in 1996 and revised in 2017 by the New Zealand Ministry of Education for young children and is not like a school curriculum.

Te Whariki does not prescribe formal subject teaching and is founded on the following aspirations for children “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”. This curriculum defines how to achieve progress towards this vision for learners in early childhood learning environments. It is about the individual child. Its starting point is the learner and the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that the child brings to their experiences. The curriculum is also about early childhood settings. Learning begins at home, and early childhood programmes outside the child’s own home play a significant role in extending early learning and in laying the foundations for successful future learning. (Ministry of Education. (1996). p.g.9. Te Whāriki, He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa, Early Childhood Curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.)


  1. Whakamana – Empowerment
  2. The early childhood curriculum empowers the child to learn and grow.
  3. Kotahitanga – Holistic Development
  4. The early childhood curriculum reflects the holistic way children learn and grow.
  5. Whānau Tangata – Family and Community
  6. The wider world of family and community is an integral part of the early childhood curriculum.
  7. Ngā Hononga – Relationships
  8. Children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places, and things

Strands & Associated Goals

Strand 1. Well-being – Mana Atua

The health and well-being of the child are protected and nurtured.


Children experience an environment where their health is promoted; their emotional well-being is nurtured; and they are kept safe from harm.

Strand 2. Belonging – Mana Whenua

Children and their families feel a sense of belonging.


Children and their families experience an environment where: connecting links with the family and the wider world are affirmed and extended; they know that they have a place; they feel comfortable with the routines, customs, and regular events; and they know the limits and boundaries of acceptable behaviour.

Stand 3: Contribution – Mana Tangata

Opportunities for learning are equitable, and each child’s contribution is valued.


Children experience an environment where: there are equitable opportunities for learning, irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity, or background; they are affirmed as individuals; and they are encouraged to learn with and alongside others.

Strand 4: Communication – Mana Reo

The languages and symbols of their own and other cultures are promoted and protected.


Children experience an environment where: they develop non-verbal communication skills for a range of purposes; they develop verbal communication skills for a range of purposes; they experience the stories and symbols of their own and other cultures; and they discover and develop different ways to be creative and expressive.

Strand 5: Exploration – Mana Aotūroa

The child learns through active exploration of the environment.


Children experience an environment where: their play is valued as meaningful learning and the importance of spontaneous play is recognised; they gain confidence in and control of their bodies; they learn strategies for active exploration, thinking, and reasoning; and they develop working theories for making sense of the natural, social, physical, and material worlds.

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