ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


Education Leaders Forum 2017 to be held in August

educational leaders forumELF17:  Life Passages & Learning Paths 23/24 August, Rotorua

 “…our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. ...”  
Gabriela Mistral, Chilean Nobel Prize Laureate


Why are young children like they are?  How can we help them do better?

With the care system in New Zealand being transformed with the  launch of Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, those involved in early childhood care and education are in a pivotal position.

Evidence + collaboration x action= more positive outcomes for young people. 

Education Leaders Forum 2017 picks up on the work of the internationally renowned Dunedin and Auckland longitudinal health and development studies. 

By providing evidence and examples, on-going  birth cohort  studies help change the way new generations are cared for and educated and deepen our knowledge of the genetic and environmental factors affecting their later life journeys and work trajectories.


Topics and Speakers

Children in Early Childhood Education – How well does this work for children? Dr Sarah Alexander (ChildForum Early Childhood Network)
There has been a social and political shift from viewing parents as neglecting their children if they are in paid employment and use childcare to regarding them as harming their child’s future if they don’t. With more than 96% of children in licensed educational care services before they start school we need to consider more closely how this actually affects children. How much participation is too much, too little, too early, too late, and is the quality right? As children progress through the school years and become young adults how can we be sure they have had the best start and what else could be done to make this possible?

Positive Behaviour Support – The link to social learning processes. Dr Gaye Tyler-Merrick (University of Canterbury)
Understanding and applying macro and micro social learning processes and Coercion Theory can impact positively on a child’s social and emotional development. This session offers a theoretical overview of positive behaviour support for children who have developed aggressive and antisocial behaviours.

What New Zealand children know when they start school in New Zealand. Dr John Boereboom (University of Canterbury)
There is a wide range of assessment tools used by schools to assess children at school entry. The lack of consistency of uptake and reporting of results leads to sporadic national data. This highlights a need for a national standardised assessment which can be used as a reliable baseline of what New Zealand children know when they start school and how they progress in their first year.

Investing in Early Intervention – Making a difference to children’s life stories. Dr Nicola Atwool (University of Otago)
Research and practice perspectives into the impact of trauma on children and young people, the experience of children in care and making a difference in the lives of children, young people and their families by investing in early intervention.

Evolution of the University of Otago’s Dunedin Multi-Disciplinary Health and Development Study. Dr Phil Silva (Dunedin Longitudinal Study)
This groundbreaking New Zealand study into the lives of 1,000 New Zealanders born 46 years ago in Dunedin has been described as “the broadest and most in-depth study of human beings in the world”. It demonstrates compellingly how the early years effect the later years and what educators and others need to know and act upon where possible to improve outcomes for young people.

Growing Up in New Zealand -What makes us who we are? Prof. Susan Morton (Centre for Longitudinal Research – He Ara ki Mua)
Perspectives from the Growing Up in New Zealand study about what shapes children’s early development and how interventions might be targeted at the earliest opportunity to give every New Zealand child the best start in life.

All they need is love? The status and future of vulnerable children and young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Dr John Langley (NorthTec)
Current report card: C. Comment: Must try harder. Cross-sector collaboration between all who work with children and young people and intervention where necessary will make a positive difference to their life outcomes by early identification of areas of need, coordinated social investment in education and the provision of support services.

Looking through social investment-tinted glasses. Dorothy Adams (Social Investment Agency)
Social investment is about providing the right services at the right time for New Zealanders in need. A child with problems at school is more likely to have concerns in other areas, such as health or welfare.To make a difference we need to do things differently. Silos need to be broken down and data shared, to enable a whole-of-system view to be taken.

“I’m not crazy I’m just not you!” – Discovering where personality, neuroscience and learning connect in order to put human faces on the statistics. Sue Blair (Personality Dynamics Ltd) 
If we understand who we are as individuals and why we behave the way we do we can find a way to bridge the gap between ourselves and others. This matters with our colleagues and most importantly our learners who we are all trying to help to reach their unique potential.This workshop introduces fascinating recent research which has matched brain activity with cognitive skills using EEG technology.

Preparing our Future Workforce: Change, Uncertainty and Unbundling Learning. Dr Leon de W Fourie (Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology)
How do tertiary institutions prepare learners for the world of work in such growing uncertainty where a qualification is no longer the passport to prosperity and rapidly acquired, ongoing skills development is becoming the new labour force currency? This conundrum is both an opportunity and a risk where institutional agility to respond effectively to evolving change and authentic stakeholder connectivity are the key building blocks to ensuring ongoing success.

Life passages and learning pathways: rethinking individual and organisational assemblages. Dr Annelies Kamp (University of Canterbury)
Dr Kamp engages with longitudinal data to reflect on the concept of life passages and learning pathways via two cases. The first is at the level of the individual: the young parent and their child in the context of an educational journey. The second is at the level of the organization: the ‘un-easy’ notion of collaboration as a social policy agenda, a mechanism to allow young people to ‘do better’. She foregrounds the factors that contribute to the development of passages and pathways before considering the implications for policy and its implementation.

Lifecourse research and graduate outcomes of Maori university students. Dr Moana Theodore (National Centre for Lifecourse Research)
Lifecourse research has already revealed a lot about the wider New Zealand population. Moana’s work leverages off this and uses longitudinal methods to understand more about the positive impact that education has on Māori health, social and economic outcomes.

Plenary Panel - Helping young people manage their learning and career pathways. Jackie Talbot (Ministry of Education), Val O’Reilly (CDANZ) Roland Hermans (Coordinator Schools, NZ Police), Senior Sergeant Greg Clark (Coordinator Youth, NZ Police)
The Government’s vision is for a student-focused education system, underpinned by high quality information and strong links to the world of work. Young people need to be able to plan and manage their learning and career pathways, and are increasingly undertaking learning in mixed secondary-tertiary settings. Strengthening links between education and employment to support pathways is more important than ever. So is early positive intervention when young people have gone off the rails or are in danger of doing so.

Where to Next? Evidence in action: Productive collaboration for educational improvement. Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee (Ministry of Education)
New Zealand exemplars of timely learning interventions and powerful pedagogies which bring communities of learning to life.

How data can be used to inform decision-making across all levels of the education system. Dr Craig Jones (Ministry of Education)
Educators are increasingly recognising the importance of measuring not just the attainment of students but the amount of learning progress they make from one time point to the next.

For a full copy of the programme and timetable go to


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