Introducing Aotearoa - New Zealand’s National early childhood curriculum Te Whaariki as an ethics-based approach to education
In this paper I introduce Te Whaariki, Aotearoa-New Zealand’s early childhood education curriculum document (Ministry of Education, 1996, p. 70). I consider how Te Whaariki can be used by teachers as an ethical guide to accessible and inclusive curriculum and pedagogy. I describe Te Whaariki and its innovative and emancipatory approaches to curriculum, learning, teaching, inclusion and diversity in Aotearoa –New Zealand. A strong aspect of inclusion and diversity in Te Whaariki and this paper is the bi-lingual and bi-cultural journey of the curriculum’s development, philosophy and content. The Principles and Strands of Te Whaariki reflect a commitment to equity, multiplicity, lived experience and relationships within early childhood education settings. The strongly ethics-based approach contained within Te Whaariki makes space for and can guide teachers, families and communities to create thinking, practices and educational environments that are transformative and inclusive of all children.