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National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) and Te Whāriki

Ka mate kāinga tahi, ka ora kāinga rua

There is more than one way to achieve an objective


This page summarises the National Education and Learning Priorities for early learning services. It describes why they are important and how to use the learning priorities and objectives alongside Te Whāriki. There are also links to tools to support you.

The National Education and Learning Priorities

The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities are a set of objectives and priorities.

They are designed to guide licensed early learning services to focus their day-to-day work on things that will have a positive impact for children.

The priorities can be used alongside the service's own local priorities, to help every learner/ākonga to progress and achieve their aspirations.


Priorities and actions for early learning services

Download a PDF (152KB) about how these learning priorities and objectives can be met in early learning services.

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The three objectives for early learning services

  • Objective 1: Learners at the centre
  • Objective 2: Barrier free access
  • Objective 3: Quality teaching and leadership

The six priorities

Priority 1

Ensure places of learning are safe, inclusive, and free from racism, discrimination, and bullying.

Priority 2

Have high aspirations for every learner/ākonga, and support these by partnering with their whānau and communities to design and deliver education that responds to their needs and sustains their identities.

Priority 3

Reduce barriers to education for all, including for Māori and Pacific learners/ākonga, disabled learners/ākonga and those with learning support needs.

Priority 4

Ensure every learner/ākonga gains sound foundation skills, including languages, literacy, and numeracy.

Priority 5

Meaningfully incorporate te reo Māori into the everyday life of the place of learning.

Priority 6

Develop staff to strengthen teaching, leadership, and learner support capability across the education workforce.

Read more about The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities.

Why the learning priorities are important

They address:

  • bias and discrimination
  • equitable access to learning opportunities for all learners
  • the role of kaiako, leaders, and managers as advocates for all learners and their whānau.

Sociocultural theories and critical theories help with understanding both the objectives and priorities, and how these play out in practice.

Kaiako and child playing together pointing out something in the sky.

How to use the objectives and learning priorities alongside Te Whāriki

The objectives and priorities align with the aspiration of Te Whāriki that all children are competent and confident learners who make a valued contribution to society.

You can use them as:

  • touchstones for curriculum design and evaluation
  • reference points for policy review
  • provocations for dialogue about philosophy and practice
  • guidance for engaging with whānau
  • reminders of the role of kaiako and leaders to promote equitable outcomes for all learners
  • topics for internal evaluation.

Licensing criteria and the objectives and learning priorities

The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 require licensed early learning service providers to have regard to the NELP as part of the Governance, Management, and Administration (GMA) Standard.

Licensing criteria was amended to align with and support the GMA Standard.

Links to support resources on other websites.