Te Whāriki

Teaching and Learning

Te Whāriki envisages kaiako in early learning settings working in partnership with parents, whānau and community to realise this vision. The expectation is that, in their early years, children will experience a curriculum that empowers them as lifelong learners.

Te Whāriki supports this work by providing a framework of principles and strands.

The principles are the foundations of curriculum decision making and a guide for every aspect of pedagogy and practice.

The strands are 5 areas of learning and development, where the focus is on supporting children to develop the capabilities they need as confident and competent learners.

Each setting takes these principles and strands and, in partnership with parents and whānau, uses them to ‘weave’ a curriculum whāriki that is specifically designed for their children.

Te Whariki is based on four principles;


Children are empowered to learn and grow.

Holistic development

Children learn and grow in a holistic way. Their intellectual, social, cultural, physical, emotional and spiritual learning is interwoven across all their experiences.

Family and community

A child’s family and community are integral parts of their learning experience.


Children learn through positive relationships with people, places and things.

Te Whāriki’s four principles are interwoven with these five strands:

  • Mana atua (wellbeing)

  • Mana tangata (contribution)

  • Mana whenua (belonging)

  • Mana reo (communication)

  • Mana aoturoa (exploration)