Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book review - Understanding the Te Whariki approach

I recently wrote a review for this new book by Wendy Lee, Linda Mitchell, Brenda Soutar and Margaret Carr.Understanding the Te Whariki Approach: Early Years Education in Practice (Understanding the ! Approach) It has been published in
Early Education Vol 53

You should really subscribe to that journal so I am not going to reproduce the whole article here. I will say though that there is much to recommend this book, especially for student teachers, tutors and lecturers, both in NZ and internationally.

Each chapter is well structured and offers a range of reflective questions and a list of key points. It does an excellent job of summarising the cultural, political and social contexts within which Te Whariki ( The NZ ECE Curriculum document) was developed.

Unfortunately little reference is made to any of the contradictions within Te Whariki and the critiques that have been made of the document over the years. The authors present assumptions that a learning and planning story approach is intrinsically tied to the implementation of Te Whariki. Although a narrative approach is common in NZ it is by no means the only way to document and plan for learning in NZ ECE centres.

In addition there is no reference to the challenges of both Te Whariki and a narrative approach  in a sector where currently less than 50% of teachers are required to be fully qualified, where there is little or no group planning and assessment time for teachers, and a high turnover of teachers in many centres.

So I recommend buying the book and using it  as a source for critical debate and discussion.

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