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Which principle or strand of Te Whāriki do you think is the most important?

The recent passing of Lyn Foote, a great ECE mentor and leader of  teaching and learning here in Dunedin and New Zealand,  gave me pause for thought to remember her famous questions and sayings.  Lyn was infamous for her 3rd Year student question that she would pose to every third year student on their final teaching placement.  One year it was this one which I thought would be interesting to have an online discussion about.  So which principle or strand of Te Whāriki do you think is the most important? 


  • Tara Fagan

    Great question!  Helen, thanks for sharing this.

    What is the most important principle or strand of Te Whāriki??  Well, I have spent some time mulling this over as each are so important but thought if I was forced to choose, I would have to say the strand of Belonging.  For me, it is all about relationships and knowing that each of us has a place.  I know I am more likely to communicate, explore and contribute if I know the people, I have the relationships and have some knowledge of the customs/rituals that will happen. 

    Look forward to seeing what others suggest :-)  Between us, I am sure we will come up with a great list while also reminding ourselves of how fortunate we are to have such a holistic curriculum.





  • Sandra Rasmussen


    My first thought was  Exploration children needing and having the ability to actively explore...however once I stopped to think and consider the strands and the huge value they have in their own right the questio

    n became more complex to choose just one.  However  I would have to agree with Tara she said exactly what I concluded that for me it would be belonging...the importance of the safety and comfort of knowing my place, community and environment would allow me to to the things such as communicate, contribute and especially explore!

    I was a great exercise to consider it and how it sits in my philosophy.


  • Trish Robbins

    A great question to ponder and like Tara and Sandy I have had to really think about my answer as all principles are equally essential to a child's well-being. I have gone back to well being as the key principle because I strongly believe a child needs to experience an environment where their health is promoted, their emotional well-being is nurtured and they feel safe in a trusting environment to support a child to form relationships and to develop a love of learning. 

    A good exercise to use with teams when looking at planning and assessment!