Early Childhood Curriculum Comparison: Aotearoa New Zealand and Malaysia

Carlyon Tracey, Cameron Monica, Maxwell Avril, Woolston Debbie, Hue Chew Kuen Jayce, Ngadni Izawati
page. 1~20 / 2023 Vol.17 No.3


This article reports on a collaborative study examining Aotearoa New Zealand’s Te Whāriki and Malaysia’s National Preschool Standard-based Curriculum (NPSC). The similarities and differences focus on the diverse cultural and historical contexts, philosophies, frameworks, theories and approaches of the two curricula for children aged four-six years. The curriculum structure and framework, and its relation to the curriculum in practice, were prominent in the study. Both curricula see the child as being at the centre of all that happens, and both seek to support children for their future. NPSC focuses on more formal and teacher-led experiences within a play-based programme, while Te Whāriki is non-prescriptive and focuses on life-long learning. The nationalistic focus of NPSC has significant influence with the emphasis on King, country and building unity across the diverse population. On the other hand, the focus of Te Whāriki is on children’s potential and the knowledge that early childhood education (ECE) promotes building a solid foundation for further education and life. Examples of differences such as these provide opportunities to learn about the priorities and aspirations of different nations through their ECE curricula. Findings indicated that culture was a significant feature in the two ECE curricula.

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