The Early Years: Conceptual Issues and Future Challenges
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 3 - 12.
Abstract: “Early years education” is a concept that is gaining popularity internationally and refers to educational programmes for children within the birth to eight age range. In New Zealand, the term “early childhood education” is commonly used to refer more narrowly to educational programmes for children aged from birth to five only. This article discusses areas of research on young children’s learning that supports the early years concept. Directions for research that arise from the early years focus on continuity of learning are highlighted. A change of focus in New Zealand from early childhood to early years education is argued for on the basis of research on learning. An important reason to take an early years approach is that it would facilitate dialogue amongst the different researchers, practitioners and policy-makers who are working in or have an interest in the early childhood or primary sectors. It is argued that a dialectical relationship between the early childhood and primary sectors would evolve from greater dialogue amongst researchers, practitioners and policy makers and that this would benefit children’s learning in educational settings.
Quality Assurance: Whose Quality and Whose Assurance?
University of Canberra
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 13 - 30.
Abstract: Government involvement in quality assurance is becoming the trend in many countries, including New Zealand. What values underpin the systems that evolve in each country, and who has given legitimacy to them? In the context of the prevailing ideology of early childhood, this paper unpacks quality assurance in Australia and comments on the assumptions, taken for granted premises and values which are implicit within such a process, with a view to providing valuable lessons for others who are considering going down this path.
Family-Focused Early Intervention: Issues for New Zealand Researchers
University of Canterbury
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 31 - 50.
Abstract: Early intervention services for young children with special needs and their families in New Zealand are increasing, and research in early intervention can provide information to improve effectiveness and to manage resources. Early intervention services may be provided in early childhood centres, Kohanga Reo, playcentres, and other services for typical children. In this paper, the rationale and foundation of early intervention for young children with biological challenges to development are discussed and a model of family-focused early intervention is described. The model serves as a basis for a discussion of issues that impact on research in early intervention in New Zealand. Issues that provide both opportunity and challenge include: interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary aspects of early intervention research, bicultural considerations and issues related to multi-culturalism, ethics, methodology, and context.
Crossing the Home-School Boundary in Mathematics
Jan Savell and Glenda Anthony
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 51 - 66.
Abstract: Recent research recognises the importance of home factors and home-school or home-centre collaboration in the early years of a child’s mathematics learning. This paper reports on the results of an action research trial of a mathematics newsletter for parents outlining current classroom activities in New Entrant to Year Three classes. The study design allowed parents to choose whether to be questioned about their use of the newsletter, and consequently the parents who participated were considered by teachers to be high-contact and involved parents. These parents found it “easy to do mathematics” within their normal routines, but were less likely to complete prescribed activities without modification. The findings indicate that parent newsletters have the potential to effectively cross the home-school boundary and lead to greater mutual support of children’s mathematics learning in high-contact parent families. Future research is needed though to look at what effect newsletters may have in families with low-contact parents.
Working with Narratives to Understand the Experiences of Becoming a Parent
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 67 - 88.
Abstract: This paper introduces the methodology of narrative as a way of reflecting on experience. An example of one narrative is presented to illustrate some of the claims that have been made about narrative analysis. The paper also examines what this one narrative suggests about some of the ways these parents acquired and constructed their parenting knowledge and practices.
You're Not Batman! Insiders and Outsiders: The Ecology of Discourse
John Jones Parry, Bill Hagan, & Helen Anderson
Manukau Institute of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 89 - 108.
Abstract: Research and theory and its application in early childhood education have increasingly emphasised the importance of context in observation and analysis of children's play. This study investigates the application of ideas from the Discursive Action Model to observation and analysis of children's play in the family area of a childcare centre. Children at play were videotaped and the tapes observed to develop a code of analysis that would be functional in this context. The focus of the code was children's language. The code developed included context categories of role play, metaplay and reality. The categories of intent were joining, maintaining and excluding. This code usefully identified the patterns of participation in play of individual children and may have application as an observation tool for childcare centre teachers.
Teachers’ Perceptions of Environmental Education in Early Childhood
Eastern Institute of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 109 - 124.
Abstract: What are teachers' perceptions of environmental education in early childhood education? Research conducted by Prince (1994) with pre-school children on their awareness of the natural environment led to an investigation of how teachers perceive the importance of environmental education both philosophically and as part of the early childhood curriculum. Six early childhood centres with different philosophies were chosen to take part in the study. Staff were interviewed for approximately one hour at their centre and the need for explicit teaching strategies based on existing practices was highlighted. Strategies were formulated from the interview answers and were later offered to centres to assist in planning environmental education learning experiences. The study uncovered the extent to which environmental education was considered an important part of each centre's philosophy of early childhood. The use of Te Whaariki within each centre's early childhood curriculum emerged as a common philosophical base for the potential implementation of environmental education. The holistic approach espoused by Te Whaariki along with the learning outcomes of knowledge skills and attitudes were perceived as a key to children's understanding and appreciation of the natural environment. The most significant finding was that when centre philosophies were examined for specific mention of environmental education, only one centre, the Rudolf Steiner Centre, met this criterion.
There’s More to Dance than Meets the Eye
Auckland College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 125 - 152.
Abstract: This paper reports on a study of what dance meant for children and teachers, and in turn what this meant to me. I used an ethnographic approach and drew on phenomenological analysis to focus on issues that arose within the data. I examined the messages about dance that were conveyed by adults to children together with the environmental factors that contributed to children’s understanding about dance. I also examined what the children did when they danced. The children were videotaped while moving and dancing. I asked the teachers questions related to dance and children. I interpreted what I had seen and heard to try and discover what both children and teachers understood about dance. I discovered that the children moved to music and that some children showed they had their own special way of moving. These factors were evident in the associations children made between dance and music when they expressed their preference for particular music to dance to as well as in the recurrence of personal movement motifs shown by many of the children during their creative movement experiences.
Teachers’ Beliefs in Relation to Visual Art Education in Early Childhood Centres
Alexandra C Gunn
Christchurch College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 153 - 162.
Abstract: This paper inquires into what perspectives on visual art education informs teachers’ beliefs in relation visual art programmes in early childhood centres in New Zealand. The literature has provided several perspectives from which visual art education can be viewed. Three of these were used in the study to examine teachers’ beliefs about visual art, the rote, child-centred and cognitive orientations. Forty-one people working in a range of early childhood centres were surveyed. The study participants clearly favoured statements reflecting child-centred visual art theory. Little agreement for statements aligned with rote or cognitive perspectives was found. The place of child-centred, non-interventionist teaching beliefs and practices is questioned in light of cognitive theory that suggests a more active approach is required if teachers are to assist children’s learning and development.
Teacher Education for Early Childhood through the New Zealand Curriculum Framework
Auckland College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 163 - 176.
Abstract: This paper reports on a study designed to inform further developments in the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) qualification offered at Auckland College of Education. The study focused on the Curriculum Knowledge and Practice strand of the degree and the decision to provide a qualification for early childhood teachers using a subject-based learning environment. It examined how the New Zealand Curriculum Framework, written for school use, is used to provide a core framework for the programme and explores the challenges in addressing the curriculum areas in the Framework while still meeting the expectations of Te Whaariki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum. It identified how, within this structure, the modules of the programme provide student-teachers with the opportunity to explore the interface of Te Whaariki and the curriculum documents of the New Zealand Curriculum Framework and provided a first glimpse of whether this dual-curricular design of the qualification can be effective in practice.
Cultural Tools, Intersubjectivity and Television
University of Victoria
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 177 - 188.
Abstract: Children’s representational play has been extensively acknowledged as contributing to early learning and development. This research report provides a brief overview of a qualitative case study that examined representational play prompted by children’s television watching. Participants involved children over the age of three years attending a community based childcare centre in a New Zealand city. The study was carried out over a period of four weeks and employed naturalistic, observational procedures and stimulated recall data collection methods. Children’s television play and talk became both the focus of the investigation and the unit of analysis. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of learning was used as a framework for analysis with special attention being given to Vygotsky’s concepts of intersubjectivity and cultural tools. Intersubjectivity was defined and discussed in relation to children’s appropriation of cultural tools during television-inspired play and talk. It was proposed that television play is the outcome of children’s appropriation of cultural material. The study’s findings supported Vygotsky’s theory of development that sees learning as the result of children’s appropriation of cultural tools.
Kindergarten Teachers’ Professional Development: Views and Experiences
Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Assn
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 3, 2000, pp. 189 - 196.
Abstract: A research project undertaken in 1999 sought to explore kindergarten teachers’ views and experiences of professional development (Hampton, 1999). Legislative requirements of the 1990’s and a market-driven attitude towards the care and education of under five’s in New Zealand has led to a different climate for teachers with regard to the expectations and demands placed on them. The provision of professional development is one aspect that has altered in recent years and teachers have to rethink both attitude and practice in order to keep abreast of changes in the wider early childhood education industry. A summary of the research project, findings and recommendations are presented.
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