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Mana tangata

Strand 3 Contribution

Content from pages 36–40 of Te Whāriki: Early Childhood Curriculum


Opportunities for learning are equitable, and each child’s contribution is valued.

Ko te whakatipuranga tēnei o te kiritau tangata i roto i te mokopuna kia tū māia ai ia ki te manaaki, ki te tuku whakaaro ki te ao.


Children develop by participating actively in the opportunities that are available to them. These typically involve collaboration with adults and other children.

The whāriki woven by each service recognises and builds on each child’s strengths, allowing them to make their own unique contribution. Every child has the right to equitable opportunities to participate actively in the learning community.

To make a contribution, children need to develop responsive and reciprocal relationships with kaiako and with other children. Kaiako play an important role in helping children initiate and maintain relationships with peers. It is through interacting with others that children learn to take another’s point of view, empathise, ask for help, see themselves as a help to others and discuss or explain their ideas. Children’s contributions to their wider communities may occur through direct participation or virtually, through the use of digital and other technologies.

Kaiako are aware of the concepts of mana and whakapapa and the importance of these concepts in the development and maintenance of relationships. They understand the collaborative processes inherent within whānau.

Working together for the common good develops a spirit of sharing, togetherness and reciprocity, which is valued by Pasifika and many other cultures.

This strand draws on children’s abilities to contribute their own strengths and interests.

Contribution | Children learn with and alongside others

Mana tangata | Children have a strong sense of themselves as a link between past, present and future

Content sections


Learning outcomes

Evidence of learning and development

Children experience an environment where: Over time and with guidance and encouragement, children become increasingly capable of: These outcomes will be observed as learning in progress when, for example, children demonstrate:
There are equitable opportunities for learning, irrespective of gender, ability, age, ethnicity or background Treating others fairly and including them in play | te ngākau makuru
  • Respect for others, the ability to identify and accept another point of view, and acceptance of and ease of interaction with children of other genders, capabilities and ethnic groups.
  • Confidence that their family background is viewed positively in the ECE setting.
  • Confidence to stand up for themselves and others against biased ideas and discriminatory behaviour.
  • A positive learner identity and a realistic perception of themselves as being able to acquire new interests and capabilities.
They are affirmed as individuals Recognising and appreciating their own ability to learn | te rangatiratanga
  • Awareness of the strategies they use to learn new skills and generate and refine working theories.
  • Ability to use memory, perspective taking, metacognition and other cognitive strategies for thinking, and ability to make links between past, present and future.
  • Awareness of their own special strengths and confidence that these are recognised and valued.
  • Social skills and the ability to take responsibility for fairness in their interactions with others.
They are encouraged to learn with and alongside others Using a range of strategies and skills to play and learn with others | te ngākau aroha
  • Strategies and skills, including conversation skills, for initiating, maintaining and enjoying relationships with others.
  • Strategies for resolving conflicts in peaceful ways and an awareness of cultural values and expectations.
  • A sense of responsibility and respect for the needs and wellbeing of the group, including the ability to take responsibility for group decisions.
  • Awareness of the ways in which they can make contributions to groups and group wellbeing, including within digitally mediated contexts.

Examples of practices that promote these learning outcomes

Kaiako recognise mokopuna as connected across time and space and as a link between past, present and future: ‘He purapura i ruia mai i Rangiātea’. They celebrate and share appropriate kōrero and waiata that support mokopuna to maintain this link.

Kaiako support mokopuna to stand proud and firm (tū tangata) by building and maintaining relationships based on respect and reciprocity.


Infant standing up against a table.

  • Kaiako avoid making unnecessary developmental comparisons between children, recognising that developmental progress varies.
  • Kaiako communicate with parents and whānau to ensure culturally appropriatecare practices.
  • Infants are carefully observed so that kaiako know individual infants well, respect their rights, and respond to communication cues and gestures, such as smiles, noises and signals of pleasure, discomfort, fear or anger.
  • Kaiako respect each infant’s individual preferences relating to caregiving practices, for example, for going to bed or feeding.
  • Kaiako talk with infants about what they, and other children, are doing and encourage the infant’s interest in, and interaction with, other children. Infants are included in social events.
  • Kaiako select picture books, games and toys for infants to engage with that depict genders and ethnicities in a variety of roles.
  • Attention is paid to providing a range of play experiences that stimulate the senses, mind and body.
  • Kaiako help to extend infants’ pleasure in particular experiences, such as hearing specific music, responding to colours, and enjoyment of certain rhythms.


Toddler standing by play equipment

  • Kaiako encourage all toddlers to engage in a range of caring and domestic routines. They accept toddlers’ exploration of gender and diversity.
  • Kaiako expect exuberant and adventurous behaviour and respect the need of toddlers to observe and be apart at times.
  • Activities, playthings and expectations take account of the fact that every toddler differs in their development, language capability and mastery of skills. The programme builds on the curiosity and passions of each toddler.
  • Each child’s culture finds a place in the programme through song, language, pictures, playthings and dance. Kaiako talk with toddlers about differences in people, places and things.
  • Toddlers are encouraged to do things in their own particular way when this is appropriate, and their preferences in play activities are respected. Kaiako provide support for toddlers to learn new knowledge and skills.
  • Toddlers’ preferences to play alone or alongside others are catered for in the programme. Many opportunities are provided for small-group activities and toddlers are encouraged, but not pressured, to contribute.
  • Kaiako support toddlers’ attempts to initiate social interactions and empower them to develop relationship skills by choosing carefully when to intervene in toddlers’ conflicts and relationships with peers.
  • Kaiako have appropriate expectations about toddlers’ abilities to cooperate, share, take turns or wait for assistance.

Young children

Young child leaning towards camera with a big smile

  • All children have rights of access to all learning experiences.
  • Language and resources are inclusive of each child’s gender, ability, ethnicity and background. Children have opportunities to discuss bias and to challenge prejudice and discriminatory attitudes.
  • Kaiako encourage children to develop their own interests and curiosity by embarking on longer-term projects that require perseverance and commitment.
  • The programme provides activities for children to develop their strengths, interests and abilities, such as in music, movement, language, construction, art, sorting and organising, and in doing things with others.
  • Kaiako listen to children’s ideas and questions and encourage them to feel positive about themselves.
  • Children’s increasingly complex social problem-solving skills are encouraged, for example, through games and physically active, imaginative and cooperative play.
  • Children are helped to understand other people’s attitudes and feelings in a variety of contexts, for example, in play, conversations and stories. Opportunities are provided for children to talk about moral and ethical issues.
  • Children’s growing capacities for empathy are fostered through reading or by telling them stories about other people.
  • Children’s developing capacities and understanding about rules and social strategies are fostered through such routines as sharing and taking turns.

Considerations for leadership, organisation and practice

Children see parents and whānau being welcomed into and contributing to the ECE setting.

Support and encouragement is provided for behaviour that is both socially and individually appropriate. Kaiako use proactive strategies that encourage children’s social participation.

All those involved in the setting are included when making significant decisions about the curriculum, and consideration is given to the inclusion of all children.

The environment and curriculum are organised in such a way that competition for resources and space is minimised.

Kaiako promote equitable opportunities for children and counter actions or comments that categorise, stereotype or exclude people.

Kaiako nurture empathy through interactions, modelling and respectful practice.

Kaiako observe and value children as individuals. Their interests, enthusiasms, preferences, temperaments and abilities provide the starting point for day-to-day planning, ensuring that all children can participate to the best of their abilities and that additional support is accessed as required.

Kaiako engage constructively with different attitudes in their community to values and behaviours, such as those that relate to cooperation, physical contact, talking, sharing food, crying or feeling sorry.

Children’s cultural values, language, customs and traditions from home are affirmed so that they can participate successfully in the ECE setting and in their community.

The programme encompasses different cultural perspectives, recognising and affirming the primary importance of the children’s families and cultures.

The balance between communal, small-group and individual experiences allows opportunities for interaction, cooperation and privacy.

Questions for reflection

Kaiako are invited to use these or their own questions to support reflective practice.

  • How might kaiako support all children to develop prosocial strategies for learning with and alongside others?
  • Do all children experience fair and equitable access to, and participation in, play and learning opportunities?
  • How effectively is the ECE setting organised to maximise the play, learning and participation of all children?
  • In what ways do kaiako support children to contribute to curriculum decision making?
  • What do kaiako do when children are excluded by others? What effects do these actions have?
  • In what ways can parents and whānau contribute to curriculum provision?
  • What steps might kaiako take to better understand and support mokopuna within a Māori world view?
  • How do kaiako recognise and value the identities, languages and cultures of all children?
  • How effectively does the curriculum provide for the interests, strengths, abilities and preferences of all children and support them to build positive learner identities?
  • How do kaiako challenge negative and stereotypical language and attitudes?
  • How might kaiako support children to understand the perspectives of others and resolve conflict?
  • In what ways do kaiako support children to recognise and describe their strategies for thinking and learning?

Curriculum support content and resources