NZ’s early childhood education: preparation for life and careers

I’ve just realised how neatly Te Whāriki, New Zealand’s early childhood education curriculum, contributes to student’s career readiness.

A child painting a long piece of paper at an early chidlhood centre

Early childhood education is for life

This curriculum weaves together goals and strands, within “a framework for providing tamariki/children’s early learning and development within a sociocultural context”.

I worked in early childhood education and we  preferred this term to preschool, which sounds as if the only objective is to prepare young children for school. If we’d known about Business New Zealand’s list of the top 10 skills employers look for, we could have made the point so much more clearly.

The five strands of Te Whāriki are:

  • Well-being – Mana Atua
  • Belonging – Mana Whenua
  • Contribution – Mana Tangata
  • Communication – Mana Reo
  • Exploration – Mana Aotūroa.

These dovetail almost uncannily with the top ten skills employers look for:

Skills employers are looking for communication skills customer service skills – in person, on the phone, and online ability to work well in a team literacy and numeracy skills confidence learning about and using computers and technology planning and organisational skills initiative and a can-do attitude problem-solving skills good work habits and independence health and safety skills.

New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum sets children up for life

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