Learning Together with Young Children
Assessment from the Child’s Perspective
The New Zealand approach to assessment asks teachers to consider questions from the child’s voice as centers
begin their journey of ensuring accountability through evaluation and assessment. These questions are built on
the principles of their Te Whariki curriculum, which provides the framework for defining learning and what is to be
learned. Their goals are based on clearly defined values and reflect the following strands:
Belonging Do you appreciate and understand my
interests and abilities and those of my
family? Do you know me?
Well-being Do you meet my daily needs with care and
sensitive consideration?
Can I trust you?
Exploration Do you engage my mind, offer challenges,
and extend my world?
Do you let me fly?
Communication Do you invite me to communicate and
respond to my own particular efforts?
Do you hear me?
Contribution Do you encourage and facilitate my
endeavours to be part of the wider group?
Is this place fair for us?
From Podmore, V., H. May, and M. Carr. 2001. The Child’s Questions. In Programme Evaluation with Te Wha¯riki Using “Teaching Stories,” p. 9. Published by the Institute for
Early Childhood Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.


appendix B
229 Early Education Advocates
To challenge current trends in defining outcomes for early childhood education, a U.S. professional group, Early
Education Advocates, drafted this statement of “capabilities desired.” Consider doing something similar in your
community. Fifteen Capabilities Desired for
Children as Outcomes for Early Education Here is a way to describe more important qualities in children than “academic readiness” or the ability to pass a
knowledge test for entry into elementary school.

When children leave early childhood to enter common school they can:
• Participate as a member of an interdependent community
• Care for themselves, others, and the community
• Treat others with love and compassion
• Cooperate with other children to accomplish group goals
• Celebrate group accomplishments
• Laugh and play with a tangible sense of joy
• Express many human emotions in language and art
• Be inquisitive
• Initiate new ideas and invent solutions to problems
• Stick with difficult tasks or come back to them later in order to succeed
• Run, hit, catch, throw, kick, and tumble
• Sing and dance with exuberance
• Paint, draw, sculpt, and construct objects of beauty
• Maintain the community’s spaces in cleanliness and order
• Greet guests with courtesy and charm
These are all natural acquisitions for children from all cultures when they are (1) treated as capable human
beings, (2) listened to, and (3) trusted. Provisions for young children that offer opportunity to be with other chil-
dren can create the kind of community in which all children achieve these fifteen capabilities. Imagine all children
by age six being this way.

Then imagine being a kindergarten teacher and having children with these fifteen capabilities enter the room
at the beginning of the year. There would be no “behavior problems.” These children would be responsive and ea-
ger to learn. The teacher could get right to work, listening to the children’s interests and finding out what aspect
of the world they wanted to explore. If that topic were spiders, for example, children would be eager to examine,
write about, read about, draw, create poetry about, listen to music about, create scientific displays about, research,
count, and mathematically represent spiders. Because they shared this love of learning with others, they would