Investigating Issues in Curriculum Document Analysis Assignment 1 EDTL 746 Te Whariki and the New Zealand Curriculum The Family and Community of Learning The curriculum Te Whariki is 20 years old and has to date stood the test of time. There have been no reviews non any attempt to make changers to the original document. If Te Whariki was revolutionary when it was written then it is with interest that I looked at the very new and recently introduced New Zealand Curriculum.
Would it have the fundamentals that Te Whariki has and would it to hold at its core family and community at its core. Background: For most of the 25 years of my teaching career I have had the benefit of working with the early childhood curriculum Te Whariki. I consider that I know the document thoroughly and can articulate the principles, goals and strands confidently with the families and interested community members. I am very aware that the families, whanau and the community are a very integral part of Te Whariki in making it a living curriculum.
In 2007 the New Zealand Curriculum was introduced into the primary sector as the new curriculum, it took several years to develop this curriculum and the writers had the benefit of seeing how a New Zealand developed curriculum worked in the early childhood sector with the curriculum Te Whariki. I am curious to know if this new curriculum would also have the requirement to have parent and community input to give it the balance and depth that is found in Te Whariki.
I wonder if in 20 years time this curriculum would stand up to the riggers and scrutiny that Te Whariki has and would it still be as valued and as relevant as Te Whariki is when it is 20 years old. Te Whariki was developed from a growing need to bring together the many different elements that made up early childhood care and education, which had been developing over many decades and combine them under a common curriculum. The need for childcare starting in the 1800 when woman had to help establish a new country and this lead to the growth of baby farming which had some very unpleasant outcomes for children.
As New Zealand moved into the 20th century, two world wars and a depression had a major effect on the need for childcare as mothers needed to return to the work force. “Since the war days many young mothers and wives of serviceman who are invalids or slightly imbalanced in mind, have to attend to business affaires a themselves. Imagine going into an office and dragging two or three young children along” (Women’s Weekly Nov 28 1946) (As seen in course reader EDTL746).
With all this history, it is therefore astonishing that it was not until 1991 when the government realised that as it increased its funding to early childhood service it develop an interest in the need for a quality curriculum across all services and settings. The guidelines were developed and the draft document was submitted in 1992 with the new early childhood curriculum taking effect in 1996. Throughout this time and development one of the main components that has always been included is the need to have families and the community totally involved for the benefit of the children that come into any early childhood centre or setting.
Aim: Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum is a document that has had 20 years to deeply embed into the childhood services and settings and supply’s the direction needed to provide quality care and education to the very young children of New Zealand. I have been made aware of just how robust and responsive this curriculum is and I was interested in why this might be. I held discussions with the other teachers within my kindergarten and it became clear that one of the most profound elements that keeps Te Whariki up with the times is the constant requirement by the curriculum its self to have parent and community input.
This exchange between children and their environments is the influence of the communities to which children belong. Each community that children belong to makes its own specific curriculum demands: the community of learners who will be able to respond to challenges and change; the community who have individual needs and rights; and the community of New Zealand’s who are gaining knowledge of the nations languages and developing skills in using cultural tools such as art, dance, mathematics, music, reading, science, technology and writing. Te Whariki 1996 pg19). I wanted to know if the new New Zealand Curriculum would have the same level of family, whanau and community involvement as Te Whariki. Would the writers of the new curriculum see the importance of families, whanau, and the community and incorporate them into their design for the curriculum? Would the new curriculum reflect this need as Te Whariki does? My inquiry is this, would the family, whanau and community involvement that is an important feature of the Te Whaariki also be built into the new New Zealand Curriculum.
Methodology: To find out if my enquire question has any foundation I planned use a content analysis form of investigation to gather data that would support or disprove my question. Content analysis has been called “the scientific study of messages” and is a quantitative method of gathering data. The “classic” definition, “content analysis is a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication” (Berelson 1952: pg14 -15).
Through this method it may help us gauge the intensity of the interest in a subject or preoccupations that the producer of a document may have. (Funnell, B. 1997). By using content analysis I was able to use a larger sample of both curriculums section C in Te Whariki and the section on Learning areas in the New Curriculum. Within both curriculums these two areas look specifically at children’s learning. Content analysis is not looking for the “hidden meanings” of communication; it can provide an analysis of the frequency with which certain words, themes, concepts, etc appear as a gauge of their importance. Funnell et al. 1997). As I was not looking in depth at the meaning of the words but trying to ascertain how often the words that I have chosen have been used within both curriculums. The number of time the words are used will be indicators of the writers need to add the essence of the words into the documents, a quantitative analysis would give the data I would need to support or dismiss my hypotheses.
I decided on the words that would carry the most information and these words were within my hypotheses, family, whanau and community. These words would give me the data that would show by their frequency and how important they were to the writers of the two curriculums that were being investigated. I went through selected sections of both curriculum books, counting how many times each word was used and at the end of each section I made a tally for each word.
Once I had gathered the raw data I processed it on to an excel spread sheet this gave me the data in a numerical form and from there converted the information into a bar graph this gave me a visual form. I then had a very clear picture of the data gathered and this then allowed me to make some interesting conclusions to my hypotheses. Hypothesis| My hypothesis is: Will community and family involvement within the Te Whaariki curriculum (1996) will be greater than in the New Zealand Curriculum (2009)? Unit of Analysis| Selected Words| Sample| Part C Te Whaariki pages 39 – 91Section C (New Zealand Curriculum) Pages 18-32| Classification| Words Selected were: Community / Family / Whanau| Analysis| Community Family WhanauTe Whaariki 11 20 2New Zealand Curriculum 13 1 3| Findings and Implications| The main words that were being recorded within this hypothises were community, family and whanau .
The word community was used 11 times in Te Whaariki and slightly highter on 13 for the New Zealand curriculum making a 2 point difference. The word family was clearly the word that was most used within Te wharriki while it was the word used least in the New Zealand curriculum. The word whanau was used in both curriculums but the use was limited, it was used twice in Te Whariki and 3 times in the New Curriculum. This data shows that while both curriculums have used all three words, Te Whariki was a larger user of the word family and the New Curriculum used the word community more.
So my hypothises that TeWharriki would have a higher level of community and family involvement was not as clear cut as I had supposed. The writers of both curriculums obverously felt that the community was a valued factor that needed to be added into the curriculums, however Te Whariki place far more emphasis on families as an important factor that they felt needed to have reused to emphasis its importance in the curriculum while in the New Curriculum families were not seen as a factor of any importantance with the word family used only once in he intire section . Whanau was also used in both curriculum however in a limited way and this was not a factor that I had forseen when selecting the words to be studies. | Discussions of Issues and Implications: As I was working through my hypotheses I had some predetermined ideas about the New Curriculum. I was sure that the primary sector curriculum would not value families and community as much as the early childhood curriculum did.
Schools focused on reading and writing and I wondered if the New Curriculum would put the same requirements in place to ensure that there would be the same involvement with families and the community as Te Whariki requires Therefore, it was with some amazement that I found that the New Curriculum did in fact take the involvement of the community as importantly as they did, it was in fact more important than in Te Whariki. I was however saddened to see that families were not so valued.
The writers of Te Whariki indicated that throughout consultation one of the significant issues for children was that parents and families should be an integral part of the early childhood programmes. Strong links between the home and centres should be evident in the curricula. (Carr and May 1993 pg12). I wonder if these indicators should also be evident in the New Curriculum as it sits in beside Te Whariki as the next step in a child’s journey of life and learning. Joy Cullen states that a feature of Te Whariki is its attention to continuity between early childhood education and the school curriculum. (Cullen. 1996) .
I wonder if this continuity could also have run the other way. Has an opportunity been lost and will the biggest losers be the families of the children that will be taught under this new curriculum. As a teacher who works hard to build up the contact between the families and the centre I wonder what these families feel as they move from one curriculum on to the other. References: Carr, M and May, H (1993). Choosing a Model. Reflecting on the development process of Te Whariki: National Early childhood Curriculum guidelines in New Zealand. Dept of Early childhood Studies, University of Waikato, pg 9-12.
Cook, H. M. (1985). Mind that child: Childcare as a social and political issues in New Zealand: Blackberry Press, pp 15-27. Cullen, J. (1996). The Challenge of Te Whariki for the future development in eaerly childhood education. Delta,48(1), pp 118. Funnell, B. (1997). Content analysis. Unpublished manuscript (pp1-7) Ministry of Education. (1996) Te whariki, Early Childhood Curriculum. Wellington, Learning Media. Ministry of Education. (2007) The New Zealand Curriculum. Learning Areas (pp17-33) Wellington, Learning Media. University of Canterbury. (2009) Investigating Issues in Curriculum, Course reader (pp 48).