2003, Volume 6, Journal Articles

NZ Research in ECE Journal Volume 6 (2003)

early childhood research journal

The Growth of an Early Childhood Research Culture: Implications for Future Directions in Early Childhood Research

Joy Cullen
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 1 - 12.

Abstract: In this Guest Editorial Joy Cullen reviews progress six years after the first Early Childhood Research Symposium. She discusses the contributions of the NZRECE Journal and Symposia. Trends, themes and issues in early childhood research and issues for future research are identified. Contextual influences, including post-graduate research requirements, institutional policies, contractual research requirements, education policy, and theoretical and methodological trends and fashions are discussed. The editorial concludes with an outline of likely challenges for the early childhood research community and the role of the Early Childhood Research Network in helping to meet these challenges.

A Response to Criticism and Challenge: Early Literacy and Numeracy in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Helen Hedges
Auckland College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 13 - 23.

Abstract: The Education Review Office (1998, 2000) has criticised the early childhood sector as not focusing sufficiently on teaching or assessing literacy and numeracy. Early childhood education values play-based, integrated learning environments that build on children’s interests, yet agrees that literacy and numeracy outcomes are desirable. Consistent with Te Wharaiki’s sociocultural underpinnings, way sin which literacy and numeracy occurred in one kindergarten are discussed.  Greater emphasis on documenting literacy and numeracy within a sociocultural curriculum can enhance the pedagogy and philosophy of early childhood education, alleviate the concerns of ERO and meet societal expectations.

Early Childhood Education: A Moral Concern

Anne Kennedy
Monash Univeristy, Melbourne
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 23 - 34

Abstract: This paper is based on the premise that early childhood education is a moral concern because of the way in which values are central to all of its endeavours. In the doctoral study discussed in this paper, conceptual analysis based on meta-ethical theory was adopted in order to identify the values embodied or intended in the Australian Early Childhood Association Code of Ethics 91990) and the philosophies of early childhood education which were developed by a cohort of early childhood student teachers. A comparison and contrast between the publicly articulated values and the personal value commitments is made. Findings from this research confirm the importance of clarifying the values embedded in early childhood philosophy and pedagogy in order to provide a moral lens through which we can examine the profession and its work with children and families. A discourse based on the moral nature of our work is essential in order to present an alternative perspective to the discourse which promulgates education as a value-neutral, value free, or value relative activity.  

Reconceptualising Notions of Curriculum: The Case of Te Whariki

Maggie Haggerty
Wellington College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 35 - 50.

Abstract: This paper discusses the New Zealand early childhood curriculum guidelines, Te Whariki, in relation to recent trends in curriculum discourse. The paper highlights ways in which Te Whariki challenges orthodox curriculum discourse and ways in which Te Whariki contributes to efforts to reconceptualise curriculum. The paper is structured around four key themes evident in reconceptualist discourse: curriculum as context, curriculum as constructed, curriculum as contested, curriculum as complex. Te Whariki’s position is discussed in relation to each of these themes. It is suggested that Te Whariki poses challenges to move beyond traditional, prescriptive, positivist curriculum practices.

Preschool Teachers’ Understandings of some aspects of Early Childhood Curricula in Norway and Sweden

Marit Alvestad
Stavanger University, Norway
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 51 - 64.

Abstract:Norway and Sweden recently adopted national preschool plans for children ages one to five years old. When comparing the two plans, the first noticeable difference is that the Norwegian approach gives teachers a detailed framework for their work with suggestions on content, methods to be used, and expected outcomes. In contrast, the Swedish plan is goal directed with a short introduction on the perspectives and values of children’s learning and development, and it contains almost nothing about the methods to be used. In this paper, findings in an empirical study of eight Norwegian and eight Swedish preschool teachers’ understandings of the two national plans in relation to practice are presented, compared and discussed on the three aspects of strategy, substance and structure.

“I Love Drawing a Hundred Million Years!” Drawing Self-efficacy and the Messages Kindergarten Children Give and Receive

Rosemary D Richards
Massey University, Napier
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 65 - 82.

Abstract: A child’s drawing self-efficacy, that is their belief in their ability to draw well, affects their present and future art action and choices. Bandura’s (1986) self-efficacy theory and the sources of self-efficacy information (performance attainment, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion and physiological state) provided a framework for an investigation into the relationship between messages and drawing self-efficacy. Questionnaires, interviews and observations were used with 136 children, aged four to nine, This paper reports the kindergarten children’s drawing self-efficacy levels and the themes generated by interviews and observations.

Including Parents: Getting it Right Together?

Janis Carroll-Lind and JoyCullen
Massey University, Palmerston North
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 83 - 98.

Abstract:  Learners, parents, early childhood educators, teachers and specialists have been invited to “get it right together” (Ministry of Education, undated) through New Zealand’s first policy for special education (SE2000). Have we indeed got it “right together?”  This paper explores parental opinions about the assistance and support received through special education funding within the early childhood strand of the SE2000 policy. The implementation of the early childhood initiative was monitored in a three-year longitudinal research project. In this paper, early intervention provisions are examined through the lens of parents, based on qualitative interview data obtained during Phase 3 of the larger project. Results suggest that goodwill and restructuring of the way that resources and service provision are distributed have not solved the delays and gaps in early identification and intervention. The early intervention strand claims to offer family-focused support to young children from birth until they are settled at school, however, parents expect to be included in this process of “getting it right together” before a strong family focus can underpin provisions for young children with diverse needs.

Communication in Early Childhood Centres: What are We Talking About?

Lorraine McLeod
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 99 - 112.

Abstract: This paper explores issues of communication that emerged in a study which employed the concept of organisational culture to examine leadership and management skills perceived by research participants to be used in a small sample of early childhood education and care centres in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Licensees, supervisors, some staff members and some parents in ten centres indicated that communication was the most important aspect of leadership and management in their centres. Participants in the study described tow main areas of communication. One involved communication between centre personnel and whanau. Participants also indicated that communication between centre personnel wa vitally important, linking it to notions of teamwork. However, licensees, supervisors, staff members and parents defined communication between centre personnel differently, indicating possibilities for potential miscommunication between staff groups. The ramifications of these issues will be discussed and suggestions offered for addressing them within the organisational cultures of early childhood centres.

“Someone is Going to Take the Place of Mum and Dad and Understand …” Teachers’ and Parents’ Perceptions of Primary Care for Infants in Early Childhood Centres

Jean Rockel
Auckland College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 113 - 126.

Abstract: This paper reports on a study that was undertaken to investigate teachers’ and parents’ perceptions of primary care as a way of facilitating effective relationships for infants, teachers and parents in early childhood centres. Participants were interviewed form centres with and without primary care, in both mixed-age and peer-group settings. The results indicated that there were differences in how teachers interpreted the notion of primary care, and that parents generally lacked an understanding of its significance for centre practice. These findings suggest that teacher education programmes could question assumptions about centre practice and seek to theorise an infant pedagogy of relationships. Teachers dialoguing with parents about such a pedagogy would be beneficial in clarifying parents’ understandings.

A Journey of Journaling

Kim McEvilly
Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 127 - 134.

Abstract: The Journal is recognised as an excellent tool for experiential learning and for the discoveries of insights. For centuries theorists have recommended it and academics still acclaim it. So why do so many students loathe it? Does the journal really promote a search for “true” theory or enhance practice? Are we academics living in a fool’s paradise? Or are we perhaps not being all that true to ourselves?  Using Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning Process this paper traces a journey of journalising by a tutor who promotes the use of the journal to early childhood education student teachers. The journey has covered a period of a few years and has been a sincere attempt to examine the processes of journaling. During the journey, the author has been disappointed at the quality of some students’ journaling; embarrassed at her own perceived hypocrisy; over-enthusiastic in presenting metaphors, and ultimately ambivalent about both the process and the product. Even with the journey incomplete, the author has to conclude: “I don’t know”.

Listening to Teachers Listening to Children: One Child’s Story

Lynne Surman
Monash University, Melbourne
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 6, 2003, pp. 135 - 140.

Abstract: This paper presents some initial findings from an ongoing study in junior primary classrooms in Victoria, Australia. It is grounded in sociocultural theory and in particular the work of Barbara Rogoff. Rogoff’s (1998) three planes of analysis (the personal, the interpersonal and the cultural/community) was adopted as the tool for analysing the pedagogical decision making processing of two novice teachers working within the current Victorian Early Years of Schooling context. These teachers, provoked by the evolving education and research project in Reggio Emilia, Italy, intend to work in ways that recognise and valued the potential and competencies of young children at a time when the education imposes a prescribed curriculum and narrowly defined learning outcomes measured increasingly by standardised state wide testing. How these teachers resolve the tensions between their philosophical positions and the imperatives of the system is told through the experiences of one child.

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