During teacher education programmes, lecturers introduce students to the joys of studying a range of theorists. But many teachers appear to put theoretical perspectives of practice behind them immediately the essay-writing is over.
The purpose of this article is to breathe life into the work of theorists, relevant to early childhood teaching. I aim to inspire teachers to gain a new depth of satisfaction from their teaching as they critically reflect on their practice and gain a deeper understanding of teaching strategies that support children’s learning and development.
There are a number of theorists who have influenced the pedagogies that underpin New Zealand early childhood teaching.
In this article, I will focus on those who have specific impact on the current directions of New Zealand society.
Therefore I will discuss the work of Bronfenbrenner (1989), Vygotsky (1962), Rogoff (2003), Erikson (1963) and Bruner (1990). Along the way, I will refer to other key writers such as Honig (2001) and Piaget (1952).
Throughout, the work of researchers will be linked to how and why teachers can strengthen children’s learning by being mindful of theory, and how teachers can make the world of learning meaningful and exciting.
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