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The play materials and experiences that are available in the playgroup provide ways in which the ideas in the principles and strands of Te Whāriki can occur. For instance children's health and well-being can be promoted through the rituals and routines associated with food; children can learn about their own and other cultures through interacting with a range of culturally diverse dolls, musical instruments, books and pictures; they can develop understandings about concepts such as size, shape and volume by experimenting with water and different sized containers.
Some groups use the following types of play as a starting point to make sure they provide a variety of equipment, experiences and opportunities:
The way the experiences and opportunities associated with these types of play are made available to children, and they ways that adults interact and respond to children as they play should reflect the principles and strands of Te Whāriki.
For instance, books read in a comfortable, light and quiet space can promote a healthy attitude to reading in a child. Having books available for children to choose means they are able to take control over when and what books they use and also means children can see words and pictures in print and realise that these ‘symbols’ have meaning and can be used to express ideas. Reading can help settle an unhappy child. The materials that are provided are only one way in which the principles and strands can happen.
All children benefit from a programme that reflects the dual cultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. This would include aspects of Māori language and culture.
While the activities, resources, experiences, events and routines that occur, or are available during playgroup are important, the principles and strands of Te Whāriki come to life through the interactions, responses and relationships that occur between children and children, children and adults, and adults and adults during playgroup.
At the end of each session (or at some other regular interval – e.g. each month)
Playgroups are required to document a plan outlining the learning experiences and play opportunities they will provide. A plan provides a starting point for playgroups. It provides a summary of the experiences and opportunities available to children during sessions.
A plan will also help the playgroup to review their sessions - at least once every 12 months. Plans can take a number of forms and be documented in different ways.
Some groups might choose to document what is happening at playgroup by writing about particular experiences, opportunities, activities or events that have captured children’s attention and interest during each session. A large blank sheet of paper displayed on a wall can work well – this can be added to each session so a growing picture emerges of what and how children are learning. Other groups might choose to record the same information in a daily diary. Photos with brief descriptions about what is happening are an easy way to document children’s learning and progress. They can also be displayed and provide opportunities for children to talk about what they did and what they learnt with others.
The Kei Tua o te Pae exemplar resource booklets provide a rich array of examples of documentation of children’s learning.
Some examples of planning documentation are available to download on the Overview tab
1, 2, and 3 are examples of planning statements – they describe how the group will ensure that what is provided is consistent with the curriculum framework.
4, 5, 6, and 7 are examples of templates or frameworks of varying degrees of detail and complexity for groups to record what experiences and opportunities have been/will be provided on a weekly, monthly or term basis.
Whatever method you decide to use it is important to remember that you need to pay attention to how, where and when experiences and opportunities are provided and how children engage with them. You will also need to pay attention to the impact of those experiences on the children, and the ways in which adults have responded to and supported children’s learning.
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Last updated: 16 May 2013
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