Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Play based curriculum

I especially like the following recommendation:

Recommendation 14
Primary schools consider establishing reception classes for five-year-olds, with curriculum planning, assessment and evaluation based on Te Whāriki
Under the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, New Zealand schools already have the flexibility to design a curriculum based on local needs and schools can use Te Whāriki with children up to six years old. Another benefit of moving to cohort-based school entry is that it would allow schools to systematically establish 'reception' or 'transition' classes. In settings where, for example, Pasifika early childhood education services have strong connections with local schools, a Pasifika teacher or allied staff member (see Recommendation 19) should be employed to continue language learning into primary school, supported by appropriate literacy materials.
In making Recommendations 13 and 14, the Advisory Group is adamant that any downward ‘push’ on the school-starting age or from school curriculum frameworks is undesirable. New Zealand children are already in one of the youngest international age brackets for starting school.26 Tensions remain between the approaches Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum advocate to learning, but policy frameworks have consistently recognised that a play-based curriculum offers the best learning experiences for the early years.
This is why we believe primary schools should consider using Te Whāriki, rather than the New Zealand Curriculum, as a framework for planning, assessing and evaluating in the first year of school. This advice is particularly relevant for children who have had no formal early childhood education before coming to school, and so may not have developed the knowledge and dispositions needed for a smooth transition. 

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