Education Minister Hekia Parata is asking for the public's help in a planned update of the early childhood curriculum.

Parata announced today the curriculum, Te Whāriki, had been recognised as "world leading" but was 20 years old.

"I want to ensure the curriculum remains relevant and robust for our children in years to come, so it is time for an update.

"The aspirations and vision for learning will not change in this update. Rather the curriculum will simply better reflect today's New Zealand, developments in education and make stronger links to school, kura Community of Learning Kāhui Ako."


Teachers, parents and anyone else with an interest in the early learning sector was invited to share their ideas, Parata said.

Early childhood education participation was at a record high, with almost 97 per cent of children starting school in the year to March having had some participation in it, she said.

The update is led by the Ministry of Education, with a team of writers from the sector. The original writers of Te Whāriki have also been involved and consultation with sector representatives had taken place.

Consultation began today and continues until December 16, with country-wide hui, meetings with sector groups and an online survey.

New Zealand Educational Institute national secretary Paul Goulter said he agreed with the review but said funding to support quality teaching needed to be restored urgently.

The Government cut funding to 100 per cent qualified teacher services in 2009, removed funding to support beginning teachers and had effectively frozen early childhood education service funding over the past six years, Goulter said.

"Excellent implementation of a quality curriculum requires trained and well-supported teachers."

Early Childhood Council chief executive Peter Reynolds said he hoped a "creative dialogue" between the Government and the early childhood education sector would produce the best outcome for children.


The curriculum document released today was a very good draft, but had "some issues those in our sector will be examining over the next few weeks".

New Zealand Kindergartens said in a media release that everyone's voices needed to be heard and acted on if the update was going to be a success.