ChildForum Early Childhood Education Nationwide Network
Promoting quality, valuing knowledge, advancing thinking and working together for the benefit of children, services and the sector

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About Us

As New Zealand's leading early childhood education national organisation ChildForum promotes high quality and best practice in all early learning and childcare services and for the whole early childhood sector.  

ChildForum advises and provides information and support to more than 4,000 early childhood services across the country, along with teacher education providers, researchers, and interested groups and individuals.

ChildForum is:

  • a dynamic, socially-oriented organisation that provides fresh perspectives, encourages critical thinking, and provides resources and research.
  • not-for-profit and nonpartisan (we do not represent any one group of people, section of the sector, industry, or political party). 
  • trusted by people seeking independent and often confidential advice, including officials and politicians, journalists, community leaders, and community and commercial operators. 

To contact us, the chief executive or any member of our team go to our contact page by clicking here.


Our Team 

Sarah headshot 1
Dr Sarah Alexander - Chief Executive 

Sarah is an early childhood leader with a strong intellect and a remarkable depth and breadth of experience.

She has led many initiatives and quietly supports people and organisations to be the best they can be.

Her wealth of experience includes: 

  • head kindergarten teacher, nanny and childcare work
  • national student representative on the kindergarten teachers' union
  • teacher education lecturer (Wellington College of Education)
  • tenured university academic (Human Studies and Ed Psychology departments at Massey University)
  • international and local writing/ papers and publications
  • ECE service management, book and audio-visual production, conference and event organisation.

Her qualifications include: Ph.D. in ECE, M.A. (hons) degree, B.A. degree, Higher Diploma of Teaching, Kindergarten Diploma, and Montessori Diploma (dist) London.

Sarah's research areas have included defining and assessing quality in early childhood services, men in teaching, the effects of childcare on children, education for gifted children, women and work, and breastfeeding-friendly ECE services. Sarah is the author of the Ministry of Education's Best Evidence synthesis on "Quality Teaching: Early Foundations" and reports on the Parents as First Teachers Programme.

She has been on numerous government consultation groups and over the years many politicians have sought her for personal advice on early childhood matters. A former middle distance and marathon runner, she continues to enjoy fitness and has five children.


Arwen Hann (ChildForum)

Arwen Hann – Communications Manager

Arwen was born and brought up in the south-east of England where she worked as a journalist before moving to New Zealand with her husband in 2005.

She joined The Press newspaper in Christchurch as a general reporter and was appointed the Education reporter specialising in schools and early childhood education in 2006.

Arwen has one child, born in 2008 and has first-hand experience of early childhood education as a parent.   

Arwen is a skilled writer with an understanding of public views of early childhood care and education and what key stories of interest are. 

She is enthusiastic about supporting families and the early childhood sector.  



regReg Ponniah - Editor and Writer

Formerly a senior journalist/sub-editor with the New Zealand Press Association, Reg brings with him substantial experience in editing and writing for print media as well as editing academic papers and theses. 

He has been part of the ChildForum team for a number of years, greatly helping ChildForum maintain a high standard as an independent voice and network for early childhood education.



NZ-International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal 


Dr Wendy BoydDr Wendy Boyd - Journal Editor

Dr Wendy Boyd has 25 years experience teaching children in early childhood education and managing programmes. She has worked at Southern Cross University in New South Wales since 2009. In 2011 she won the Vice Chancellor's Citation Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Wendy has a strong academic publication record and is a highly respected researcher and research adviser.

She is also well regarded in the early childhood field and an advocate for high quality early childhood education and care for children and their families.  


Editorial Board members 2018/19

Dr Kaye Cederman (Trinity College, Dublin)
Dr Elspeth McInnes (University of South Australia, Adelaide)
Dr Janet Moles (Deakin University, Melbourne)
Prof Pam Whitty (University of New Brunswick, Canada)
Tui Summers (Te Rito Maioha, NZ)
Dr Jane Bone (Monash University, Victoria)
Dr Corine Rivalland (Monash University, Victoria)
Dr Melinda Miller (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane)
Dr Jo Ailwood (University of Newcastle, New South Wales)
Assoc Prof Linda Newman (University of Newcastle, New South Wales)
Dr Carla Solvason (Worcestershire University, UK)
Dr Qilong Zhang (NZ)
Gillian Postlewaight (Eastern Institute of Technology, NZ)
Helen Mataiti (University of Canterbury, NZ) 

All enquiries about the NZIRECE Journal and submitting a manuscript should in the first instance be sent to Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or click here to go to journal publication and submission information on this website.  


What does ChildForum provide?

ChildForum is the place to go for fresh thinking, practical advice, policy guidance, the latest news, original research and analysis - it's all on our website, in one place and at your fingertips!

On our website you will find information on a wide range of subjects to assist you in your own research or studies, teaching and caring for young children, operating an ECE business, making sense of policy changes and understanding requirements, and much more.

You can comment on articles - adding your own thoughts and passing on ideas that have worked - or ask questions and get feedback from colleagues around the country and the world. There are also forums and conferences for face-to-face networking and meeting leaders in the field.


What is the purpose of ChildForum?

ChildForum's goal or mission is simple:  It wants every young child to experience the best possible care and early education at home, in early childhood services, and in our communities.

To achieve this it aims to help improve members' access to information, knowledge and resources and encourage members to think critically.

Early childhood services that belong to ChildForum are expected to be committed to higher standards of practice and quality. ChildForum expects its ECE service members to meet the Code of Ethical Conduct for ECE Services and the Code of Rights for Children 


A Brief History 

The NZ Early Childhood Research Network was founded in 1998 and quickly grew its membership to just over 1,000 researchers and people interested in early childhood research. In the same year the first issue of the NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal was published by the Network. 

In August 2010 ChildForum expanded its expertise to provide information and support on childcare and teaching, and early childhood service management. Click on the video above to learn more about ChildForum. 


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Membership Options


Who is this for?
This plan is for any person who works with children or has an interest in early childcare and early childhood education.

$98.00 12 months from the date of joining
$60.00 6 months student-only

Your own personal username and password.

ECE Service 

Who is this for?
Centres, home-based, hospital-based, playgroups ... licensed or new set-ups.

$198.00 12 months from the date of joining
Does your ECE group have more than 1 service? See our discounted rates

A shared username and password for your team or ECE group.

Library NZ-International Research
in ECE Journal Subscriber

Who is this for?
Universities, Polytechnics and organisations wishing to have access to all past and current NZIRECE published journal and its articles. Hundreds of research articles!

$125.00 annual renewable in November each year

A username and password for your library users linked to your IP address.