An examination of the updated Te Whāriki in relation to inclusive practice
The curriculum serves as the foundation for policies and practices that are put in place in a setting. The curriculum is shaped by the context of the local people (Alvestad, Duncan, & Berge, 2009) and therefore Te Whāriki reflects the bi-cultural and multicultural community of New Zealand. It was the first national early childhood education (ECE) curriculum of Aotearoa/New Zealand, first published in 1996 and then reviewed and updated in 2016 (Ministry of Education, 2017). In updating Te Whāriki the Ministry of Education affirmed their commitment to a curriculum document that would stay relevant into the future stating, “We want the updated Te Whāriki to be relevant and valued. Above all else we want it to empower every child to be competent, confident and eager to keep learning” (Ministry of Education, 2016). The revised curriculum is significant for the ECE sector in shaping future directions. Ensuring that everyone feels included and equity is promoted is essential in current and future education settings. It is therefore important to examine whether the inclusion of children with additional learning needs [those children who require learning support] is mentioned in the updated Te Whāriki, whether the language used is inclusive, and what this analysis means for the early childhood sector. This article will explore how the notion of inclusion is reflected in the revised curriculum.
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