ELP Blog

Possibility thinking…

Lorraine Sands

21 November 2023

Possibility thinking is a phrase used by Anna Craft, and it resonates with me because it raises so many ideas about ways teachers might design learning environments. Spaces that drive children’s creative energies are spaces worth creating because, like ripples in a pond, they stretch children beyond their current thinking into the realm of possibility actions. These creative spaces enable learners to pose questions and then find ways to test surfacing theories. I expect it goes to the heart of a teacher’s vision for learning because the way learning spaces are designed reflects what matters to teachers.

Ko wai au? Ko Maria ahau. Te taha o tōku Māmā

Maria Sydney

17 July 2023

Gosh, its been a while since we have posted here in this blog space. It feels like many of us are still playing catch up… not just in mahi – but in life! So today I’m practicing what I preach and letting go of the fact that I haven’t been as present in this space as I would have liked to have been and continuing on with the haerenga of contributing here in a more regular capacity.

A Call to Hope

Rebecca Kingston

1 September 2022

Hope feels like it has left the building and is completely missing from the lives of many. The obstacles are many and the celebrations feel few. Many Kaiako feel defeated, and some feel depressed. However, we need High Hope People amongst our ECE teams. Without these people, problems seem plenty, and we are likely to avoid them, so they remain unsolved. There is a lot of focus on the negative things happening. There is more pessimism. People get tired and exhausted and some even give up. And without Hope, we encourage the development of fear which will stop us from moving forward well….

Mokopuna, the reflection

8 March 2022, Lynn Rupe

There are many times that Te Whāriki uses the term mokopuna when talking about the tamaiti. Mokopuna in the Te Whāriki glossary is explained as -” expresses intergenerational connectedness”. The below words from Che Wilson have been sitting with me for a few weeks, as I have pondered on the importance of this connection to past, present and future.

Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere, C.B.E CM

24 November 2021

It is now just over a year since Rose Pere left us. An extraordinary human being, a true treasure for all. No one in her presence would of doubted their value. Her passion and belief in humankind had no bounds. Rose Pere is deeply missed, however her spiritual presence remains with us for all time. E hoa, haere, haere, haere atu rā. Kia au tō moe Rose.

Words shape worlds

22 November 2021, Lynn Rupe

Gayle Croft and I have started to unpack Te Kōrerorero with centres in the Taupō/Turangi area,  it was during the delving into the resource that I came across Trent’s TEDx Talk – Making Connections the Power of Oral Story Telling.  What made these words so powerful was Trent telling his personal story of how the words that society have used shaped his view of himself.  There is so much to consider in this TEDx Talk that will, I think, shake your world if you listen carefully enough.

Connection, connection, connection

22 November 2021, Lynn Rupe

In my previous post I started to think about the importance of connection with whānau and how knowing the mokopuna in the context of their whānau strengthens our ability to respond to the individual tamaiti. Te Whāriki says,
“Children learn and develop best when their culture, knowledge and community are affirmed and when the people in their lives help them to make connections across settings.
It is important that kaiako develop meaningful relationships with whānau and that they respect their
aspirations for their children, along with those of hapū, iwi and the wider community.”

Learning Stories and Teacher Inquiry Groups

23 November 2020

A lovely message from Dr Annie White!! ” So excited! Our new book is available! Thank you to NAEYC and co-authors, Dr. Daniel Meier, Dr. Linda Kroll, and soon to be, Dr. Isauro M. Escamilla, for re-imagining assessment practices for young children in the USA that honours the diverse voices of children, families, and educators. Thank you to the New Zealand educators for paving the way with Learning Stories, from your shores to ours, we are forever grateful! ~Annie”

Ko Te Whāriki te mokopuna. Ko te mokopuna Te Whāriki.
Te Whāriki is the child. The child is Te Whāriki

5 October 2020

Dame Tilly Reedy reminds us that central to the learning as you step into an early childhood centre is the Mokopuna. This is such an important concept to Maori and as we as kaiako recognise all children as our mokopuna we recognise the importance of relationship in deep and meaningful ways that make a difference to children’s learning.


Conversations with an infant

5 October 2020

When was the last time you had a conversation with an infant? You know those moments, looking into each others eyes, and just chatting? When do you find the time? I am reminded of something Nathan Wallis speaks about often; he says that infants learn in partnership with us. In terms of supporting their communication and language development, this is so true.

Robyn Lawrence: a wise, thoughtful, humble and deeply caring friend and colleague who believed in the power of education to transform lives.

Monday, September 14, 2020

We were all saddened to hear that our dear friend and colleague Robyn Lawrence passed away on Saturday 12th September 2020. Her contribution to our organization and to early childhood education has been significant. There will be many in the early childhood community, not just in Aotearoa New Zealand, but in Australia, England and Germany as well, who will have experienced the force of her contributions.

Sir Ken Robinson was a beacon of hope for all who believe in the power of playful education

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The death of Sir Ken Robinson on 21st August 2020 was a devasting loss to the global education community. He was an extraordinary educationalist whose commitment and passion for being responsive to each child, and for recognising what he called ‘their element’, was so in tune with our own Early Childhood Education curriculum, Te Whāriki.

Partnership can be strengthened in different ways

8 June 2020

“Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the context  of Te Whāriki is about the relationship between Māori and the Crown, and Pakeha  and included in that is everyone who has come to join us on these islands, our shared obligations, and our shared aspirations for today and tomorrow.” (Brenda Soutar 2018)

What does it mean to see me?

30 January 2020. Lynn Rupe

For years the words of May, Carr & Podmore have influenced my view on teaching, learning and leadership.  I have always thought that everyone involved in the professional life of the centre should be able to answer yes to each of these questions.  More recently I have focused on, “Do you know me’ by asking ‘what does it mean to see me?’  How would you the reader answer that question, what does it mean for your colleagues to truly see you, what does it mean for you to truly see the child?  What sort of environments, values, teaching practices do we need in order to allow ourselves to be seen?  For me I think one of the restrictions of being seen are the labels we use to categorise people.  For example the age label which is what I want to ponder on with you.

Culture, language and identity: children’s stories woven with teachers’ stories in a bi/multicultural curriculum

Monday, December 9, 2019

Mihaela Enache has just published a new article we would love to share with you, as a result of her presentation at Educational Leadership Ltd’s Celebrating Learning Stories Conference in October 2018. This article was inspired by Mihaela’s PhD proposal on (immigrant) teacher identity.


14 July 2019, Lynn Rupe

In the New Zealand early childhood sector or maybe even beyond into primary school should we be talking about Individual Development Plans or documentation that is:

nteresting, informative
Discovering learning dispositions held in
Portfolios that show progress and partnership?

The Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards 2019

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Once again we are in the middle of a process to select team from all over New Zealand, who have been doing great things for our learners, whānau and their communities – and sharing their stories so we can all be inspired. This is an annual celebration of Education Excellence in our country.

I feel very privileged to have again joined a group of people who are all deeply engaged in education to be part of the selection process for the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Nothing is ever as it seems

8 June 2019, Lynn Rupe

Roman your imagination has the power to draw everyone into a world full of laughter and fun.  When you are in your element Roman, out in nature, nothing is ever as it seems.  You create a world where a stick is never just a stick.  A world where, the park play equipment in the hands of your imagination offers many possibilities to amuse not only yourself but those around you.

Christchurch Terror Attack

18 March 2019

Aotearoa New Zealand continues to mourn the lives of those taken on March 15. There has been an enormous response from the whole Aotearoa New Zealand community of love and solidarity in communities large and small

Assessment, a mana enhancing process

16 January 2019

As we weave our own curriculum and keep abreast of current theory, the alignment between Te Whariki, Te Whatu Pokeka, Reggio Emilia and kaupapa Maori becomes evident when strengthening assessment for tamariki.


30 September 2018

I have just finished reading “Changing the default setting: Making trouble to restore tikanga” by Ani Mikaere, a thought provoking article that highlights how colonial constructs have been superimposed over traditional tikanga practices over time, driven these to be used on the marae only and the powerful role that Christianity has had over tikanga as well, normalising concepts of dominance and subservience.

Words from Germany

21 September 2018

This is a post sent from Germany where five members of the ELP team are working with teachers in 9 German cities and one city in Switzerland. This is a press release from the University of Koblenz, which has been translated via Google translates into English. We are experiencing a tremendous amount of interest in Learning Stories. Many of the teachers have been on this journey with us over several years. We are meeting new teachers and also connecting with many we have worked with in earlier times.

It looks like fun, but are they learning?

15 August 2018, Lynn Rupe

It looks like fun but are they learning is a chapter written by Petrich, Wilkinson and Bevan in the book Design Make Play (2013) they write, “Well, it looks like fun….[pause]…but are they learning?   Strange that because an experience looks like fun then it is harder for some to think that there is learning involved.  I know many teachers in Aotearoa/New Zealand that would have had play questioned as relevant learning – comments such as,  ‘they are JUST playing and having fun’. 

Ko te Tamaiti te Pūtake o te Kaupapa. The Child – the Heart of the Matter

8 February 2018

Today when I visited a centre where children from mixed ages were able to play together I reflected on the joy of two brothers who were able to be together when they wanted to be and the teina had the emotional support of knowing his ‘big bro’ was there and the tuakana was happy to see his brother content. Good for the soul, for their wairua and mauri. Comforting for the whanau as well.


22 November 2017

“Knowledge and matauranga is a blessing on your mind, it makes everything clear and guides you to do things in the right waya…. and not a word will be thrown at you by the people” Eruera Stirling of Te Whanau -a -Apanui.

He was in effect talking about respecting tikanga Maori and its general guidelines of acceptable behaviour.

Weaving a whāriki

3 October 2017

Recently I had the privilege of listening to Mari Ropata-Te-Hei, the conceptual designer of the cover of the updated Te Whāriki and to have an insight into her thinking. Mari talked about the spiritual connections to whakapapa for flax and the purposes that it is used for, gathering seafood, muku (clothing) and the harder flax being used to make whāriki.

Gabriel’s wellbeing

22 August 2017

This is what Te Whāriki says about the Treaty -“Te Tiriti | the Treaty has implications for our education system, particularly in terms of achieving equitable outcomes for Māori and ensuring that te reo Māori not only survives but thrives. Early childhood education has a crucial role to play here, by providing mokopuna with culturally responsive environments that support their learning and by ensuring that they are provided with equitable opportunities to learn.

Here to learn…

6 August 2017

I am here to learn from others and look forward to sharing our thoughts on strengthening language, culture and identity and ways to strengthen our bicultural curriculum Te Whāriki underpinned by Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Increased concern for the environment

27 July 2017, Lynn Rupe

What spurred me on to write about this was a very passionate speech that Lady Tilly Reedy gave prior to the new edition of Te Whāriki.  Lady Tilly Reedy was one of the writers of the original TeWhāriki:
“Te Whāriki was originally developed by writers Dr Helen May (senior lecturer in early childhood education) and Margaret Carr (senior lecturer in early childhood studies) from the University of Waikato, working in partnership with Dr Tamati Muturangi Reedy (from 1996, Dean of Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao, University of Waikato) and Tilly Te Koingo Reedy (nominated by the Kōhanga Reo National Trust).

Stay Informed!