Ngā Ara Whai Hua – Quality Framework for Early Childhood Services

Issue: Volume 100, Number 2

Posted: 25 February 2021
Reference #: 1HAHJT

Updating its approaches to external evaluation, the Education Review Office (ERO) has developed Ngā Ara Whai Hua: Quality Framework for Early Childhood Services. Implementation of this framework has been phased in since 2019.

Changing societal contexts, including shifting patterns of parental employment and increasingly diverse cultural and educational aspirations, have led to changes in the early learning sector. At the core of Ngā Ara Whai Hua are its indicators, Te Ara Poutama, which have been revised and updated from He Pou Tātaki: How ERO reviews early childhood services (2013).

Ngā Ara Whai Hua and Te Ara Poutama (indicators of quality) are designed to focus early childhood services and ERO evaluators on the things that support equity and excellence for all learners. This includes supporting children’s developing knowledge, skills, attitudes, dispositions and working theories that support lifelong learning.

Focus on quality

Ngā Ara Whai Hua sets out three approaches to reviewing and evaluating quality in early childhood services:

Akanuku | Assurance Reviews(external link) assess whether services are meeting regulatory standards (implemented since July 2019).

Akarangi | Quality Evaluations(external link) evaluate the extent to which services have the learning and organisational conditions to support children’s learning.

Akamatua | Evaluating Excellence and Innovation identify, investigate and evaluate cases of excellence and innovation (case studies in development will guide this approach prior to implementation in 2021).

Te Ara Poutama – indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most

Within the Ngā Ara Whai Hua framework, early childhood services are evaluated based on Te Ara Poutama (indicators of quality), which draw together research and evaluation evidence about effective practice in early childhood education that promote valued learning outcomes for children in Aotearoa New Zealand. The indicators have been developed through collaboration with an academic expert panel.

These indicators consist of outcome indicators, based on the learning outcomes from Te Whāriki, and process indicators, which identify conditions that contribute to high quality early childhood education.

The process indicators describe learning and organisational conditions that are most likely to optimise equitable opportunities to promote children’s learning. The process indicators include five domains that contribute to quality early childhood education:

  • He Whāriki Motuhake
    The learner and their learning
  • Whakangungu Ngaio
    Collaborative professional learning and development builds knowledge and capability
  • Ngā Aronga Whai Hua
    Evaluation for improvement
  • Kaihautū
    Leadership fosters collaboration and improvement
  • Te Whakaruruhau
    Stewardship through effective governance and management

Collaborative approach

The indicators provide a sharper focus on quality and the framework offers a collaborative approach to ensure that the joint efforts in undertaking the evaluation lead to quality improvements in all services.

Ngā Ara Whai Hua: Quality Framework for Evaluation and Improvement in Early Childhood Services(external link) outlines ERO’s shared approach to review and evaluation for accountability and improvement.

Te Ara Poutama – indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most(external link) are designed to provide guidance for evaluation across the sector, for external evaluations undertaken by ERO, and for internal evaluations that services undertake themselves as part of their ongoing planning for improvement.

For more information about Ngā Ara Whai Hua, visit the ERO website(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:00 am, 25 February 2021

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