2004, Volume 7, Journal Articles

NZ Research in ECE Journal Volume 7 (2004)

early childhood research journalArchive fragments: Infant Schools for the Youngest Settler Children in the Colony of New Zealand, 1840-50s

Helen May
Victoria University
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 3 - 21.

Abstract: To date, studies of the history of education have said little about the teachers who taught the youngest children, and almost nothing about the programme, or the experiences of children, in the infants, primers, preparatory or junior classes, as they have been variously called.  A recent study concerns missionary infant schools for young Måori children established during the 1830s-40s (May, 2003). This paper presents some findings concerning the first infant schools for settler children in the new colony. Of interest is the origin and export of new ideas concerning the early education of young children

Beyond Ticking the Boxes:  From Individual Developmental Domains to a Sociocultural Framework for Observing Young Children

Marilyn Fleer and Jill Robbins
Monash University
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 23 - 40.

Abstract: Australian perspectives on studying young children within a teaching or research context have emphasised the individual child in relation to what s/he ‘knows’ and can do.  Observations conducted within most early childhood contexts have been traditionally analysed such that sequences of complex interactions are reduced to checklists of individual skills or acts organised around developmental domains.  However, international research is increasingly challenging the taken-for-granted views of the ‘child as an individual’ attaining Western-world developmental norms.  The emphasis is more on looking beyond the tick- boxes of developmental checklists.  Learning and development are seen as occurring as a result of participation with others in culturally relevant contexts and tasks, rather than individualistic constructions of universal developmental milestones and competencies. This paper presents an alternative: observing young children in early childhood settings from a sociocultural perspective.  Theory and practical examples are given.

Early Childhood Curriculum in Home-Based Settings: Embeddedness, Relationships and Identity

Lyn Wright
Wellington College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 41 - 56.

Abstract: The lived experiences of children and adults in home-based early childhood settings, both in New Zealand and internationally, is an under-researched area, and very little is known about the culture of early childhood education in these settings.  I undertook a small-scale ethnographic research study, for a master of education thesis, in order to provide a rich description of the everyday experiences of the children in two exemplary home-based settings in urban New Zealand over a period of five days. This paper draws on that study to provide a starting point for deepening understandings of home-based settings as early childhood curriculum sites. The concept of the home-based early childhood experience being firmly embedded within the wider community, and within a network of intense and interconnected interpersonal relationships is illustrated through the experiences of the children in this study. Multiple sites within the community, everyday occurrences, contextually relevant materials or ‘tools’ and deep interpersonal relationships acted as catalysts for children’s developing sense of themselves as persons with multiple identities or ‘ways of being’ as well as developing understandings about their world.

Early Childhood Teachers’ Perceptions of the Play Patterns and Behaviours of Young Children who are Gifted

Caterina Murphy
Te Tari Puna Ora O Aotearoa/New Zealand Childcare Association
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 57 - 72.

Abstract: This paper reports on a mini-research investigation that examined teachers’ perceptions of the play of young children who are gifted.  Four early childhood teachers from one early childhood centre in New Zealand were interviewed about the play of young children who are gifted in comparison to their peers (not identified as gifted). The results indicated that there were differences in teachers’ perceptions of the play patterns and behaviours of these children. Common themes identified included:  adult attention and interaction, seeking out others like themselves, questioning minds, perfectionism, leadership, imagination and task commitment. The findings are discussed in relation to curriculum (what the children experience).  Implications are identified for both current early childhood teachers and those in early childhood teacher education programmes

Special Section on ‘The Quality Journey’

Helen Hedges,
Associate Guest Editor NZRECE Journal
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 73 - 74.

Introduction: This year, New Zealand Research in Early Childhood Education is pleased to include a special section on the The Quality Journey/He Haerenga Whai Hua.  Plenty of research evidence exists that quality early childhood education has positive long-term benefits for young children.  Considerations of quality have tended to be synonymous with evaluative measures as a way to “capture”, “measure” or “assure” quality.  Changes in research on quality have reflected changing theoretical and research paradigms.  From a search for universal quantitative variables that could be applied across contexts, to a move towards research methodologies that reveals complexities, often through small-scale qualitative studies, quality has become viewed as a multi-dimensional and dynamic concept. 

Successes, Barriers and Enablers to Maintaining Quality Improvement in Early Childhood Services in New Zealand

Liz Depree and KarenHayward
Christchurch College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 75 - 90.

Abstract: This reports on findings from follow-up research conducted in 2002, tracking the journey of nine early childhood centres that had conducted a quality improvement review of practices in 2000. The purpose of the research was to identify successes, barriers and enablers to maintaining quality improvement.  All the centres had been successful at maintaining change. Common threads contributing to successful maintenance were the inclusion of parents, children and teachers, strong leadership, and the development of management systems and professional development systems to maintain change.

The Quality Journey: Is There a Leader at the Helm?

Auckland University of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 91 - 102.

Abstract: This research project explores the role of the leader in early childhood centre self- review in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Two case studies of centres that had successfully completed self-review in the previous twelve- month period were undertaken. The leader of each centre was interviewed, the participants in the self-review were involved in a group discussion on the role of the leader, and the documentation pertinent to the review was examined. It was found that both leaders laid the foundations for self review by shaping a centre culture based on reflective practice together with on-going meaningful professional development, collaborative relationships and a responsiveness to the community.  Centre leaders demonstrated personal characteristics such as fairness, integrity, courage and collegiality, which motivated the participants to commit to the review process. Both leaders also conducted the review process in a way that empowered the participants.

Turning the Kaleidoscope on Quality

Jayne White
Wellington College of Education and Ministry of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 103 - 118.

Abstract: Caregivers, coordinators and management from a New Zealand family daycare network explored notions of quality whilst engaging in a three-month professional development course studying The Quality Journey/He Haerenga whai hua (2000).  Exploration took place through focus group interviews and as part of the review process itself.  This paper presents some of the results of the study in relation to participant constructions of quality.  Participants constructions suggest that ideas of quality merge and shift depending on the values and beliefs and influences of policy.  The Quality Journey/He Haerenga whai hua (2000), offered a shared framework for participants to construct collective indicators for quality within the organisation, which resulted in more shared understandings of what mattered most, to whom, and why.  

Developmental Assessment and Learning Stories in Inclusive Early Intervention Programmes:  Two Constructs in One Context

Lesley Dunn
Ministry of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 119 - 134.

Abstract: This paper critiques the differing foundations of the curriculum-based criterion referenced developmental assessment used by some early interventionists and the credit-based narrative assessment of learning dispositions used by early childhood teachers for the assessment of children with early intervention support. The assessment differences between some early interventionists and early childhood teachers that may compromise successful inclusion are raised. The development of an inclusive community of practice with teachers, parents, and intervention specialists is advocated.

Breastfeeding Support in Early Childhood Centres: Practice, Policy and Research

Sarah Alexander and Judith Galtry
Independent Researchers
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 135 - 148.

Abstract:  In this paper we provide a brief overview of the research evidence on the health and learning outcomes for children who are breastfed and look at national data on breastfeeding rates. This is followed by an overview of the evidence on the effects of breastfeeding for maternal health, women’s participation in the labour market and family well-being. We then explore possible reasons for the apparent oversight of breastfeeding in early childhood research literature as well as in written guidelines and policies in early childhood centres. The paper concludes with an explanation of how breastfeeding support in the early childhood setting fits with the government’s current goals of increasing participation in early childhood education, improving the quality of services, and promoting collaborative relationships with parents, families and others.

Strengthening Partnerships Locally and Internationally: Experiences and Reflections from a Norwegian Research Project

Jeanette Rhedding-Jones, Anne-Lise Arnesen, Pål Dingstad, and Nina Rossholt
Oslo University College, Norway
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 149 - 162.

Abstract: This paper is a commentary about partnerships in research. It draws on our work in a nationally funded research project to develop a Norwegian research culture in early childhood education, around matters of gender, complexity and diversity. We discuss the development of partnerships between researchers at the local and international levels, and between researchers and early childhood teachers. We consider how partnerships may evolve between researchers in different nations and how collaboration between researchers can help to foster a research milieu within and across institutions. We briefly discuss research partnerships between teachers, parents and children. Lastly, we suggest what can happen as partnerships strengthen, namely: cultural change, communication and globalisation.

An Investigation into Young Children’s Understanding of Numeracy

Margaret Hammond
Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa New Zealand Childcare Association
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 163 - 178.

Abstract: This investigation used task-based interviews to investigate the numerical knowledge of a group of 8 four-year-old children, 4 of whom had been identified by their teachers as those who would find mathematics easy while the other 4 had been identified as those who would find mathematics difficult. The task involved the manipulation of concrete objects; forming groups, adding sets and simple division. Others involved the counting and comparison of objects in pictures, rote counting and imaging. The results revealed the wide range of numerical ability that the majority of the study children have, including the ability to solve simple addition and subtraction problems. Numerical ability may be facilitated by the regular provision of enjoyable authentic numerical tasks.

Parents’ and Teachers’ Views of Music for Children Under Two

Danuta Sosna
Kiwi Corner Early Learning Centre
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 179 - 188.

Abstract: The objective of this research was to gain further insight into children’s and teachers’ understanding about music. I wanted to look at the everyday occurrences of young children experiencing music in a childcare setting and how this related to the teacher’s practice and understanding about music. I also wanted to know about children’s everyday experiences with music in their home environments and how they responded to music. I used a qualitative methodology of interpretive analysis to find out about real people and their lives.

Self-talk or Private Speech in Early Childhood Education: Complexities and Challenges

Beverley Clark
Auckland University of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 189 - 196.

Abstract: Private speech in young children has been investigated by a number of researchers building on the research of Vygotsky.  Studies have shown how private speech plays a role in supporting young children's learning. Learning may be supported through private speech or ‘self-talk as the child clarifies his or her steps, affirms decisions, articulates an experience or identifies the need for assistance.

Steady and Committed: Early Childhood Postgraduate Students in New Zealand

Caterina Murphy
Te Tari Puna Ora O Aotearoa/New Zealand Childcare Association
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 7, 2004, pp. 197 - 203.

Abstract: At the 2003 and the 2001 NZ Early Childhood Research Symposiums a written questionnaire for students undertaking postgraduate studies was distributed. The results of the 2001 survey were reported in the Proceedings (Murphy, 2001). This paper presents the results of the 2003 survey and discusses the findings in relation to the earlier survey and current issues concerning building the capacity and capability of the early childhood research community.

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