NZ Research in ECE Journal Volume 8 (2005)

early childhood research journal

Children as Rights Holders: Considerations for Research

Cindy Kiro
Children’s Commissioner, New Zealand
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 1 -10.

Abstract:  The Office of the Children's Commissioner is absolutely committed to using quality evidence to prove the assertions we make about children. We need to have compelling information about what works for children, what the issues are, how the general health of our communities and society impacts on children’s well being, how legislative changes impact, and where we should be heading to ensure the best interests of children are well served. The Children's Commissioner's office must demonstrate that the articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are based on sound reasoning and not just permissive, liberal ranting. Children’s entitlement rights are reflected in this Convention. It encapsulates the developmental needs of children, vital as we raise them to live life affirmed. Where we seek to change social attitudes, and inculcate new or different attitudes to children, some research is needed. Currently it is still sometimes insufficient.

“The Way We Do Things Around Here”: Environmental and Social Considerations of the Organisational Culture of Two Playcentres.

Paulene Gibbons
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 11 - 28

Abstract: The organisational culture of an early childhood centre shapes how members behave and is, in turn, modified or maintained by these actions. Every centre is a product of its members’ thoughts and actions and as such has a distinctiveness that can be difficult to define. This paper reports on an investigation into the organisational culture of two New Zealand Playcentres that explored the ways in which the culture influenced the learning experiences of the children. The study, which focussed on the morning tea routine, indicated that the physical environment and historical influences impacted on the practices and beliefs in the centre, and the social relationships and systems that were in evidence were indicators of tacit assumptions of the participants.

Growing a Rhizome: Embodying Early Experiences in Learning

Marg Sellers
Whitireia Community Polytechnic
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 29 - 42.

Abstract: As early childhood education continues to grow and gain credibility within the New Zealand education system, there is a need to be continuously rethinking our approaches to curriculum. Deleuze and Guattari (1987) offer a philosophical concept of ‘rhizome’ that can contribute to current understandings of curriculum, particularly when viewing curriculum as processual rather than as an object(ive). This article reflects on understandings of curriculum as continuous dynamic learning-teaching-experiencing processes, what these might mean for children in early childhood settings and the interrelationships of such curricular understandings with Te Whaariki.  It suggests that stories about children, like children’s stories, can contribute to curriculum discourse and that reading Te Whaariki rhizomatically has potential for furthering discussion of early childhood curriculum in New Zealand and beyond.

Boys’ Art, Girls’ Art: A Rural Study

E. Beverley Lambert
Charles Sturt University, New South Wales
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 43 - 58.

Abstract: This article describes a longitudinal, rural project undertaken with 40 Australian preschoolers across the transition from early childhood centre to school. Developmental differences regarding gender were identified in the children’s drawings both at preschool and school levels, some of these indicating changes had occurred across the transition to school. Preschool girls for instance excelled in the areas of basic form, colour and spatial integration, but at school level this pattern was all but reversed. Differences between the content of the drawings were also analysed. The implications for the teacher’s role are discussed.

Professional Agency for Student Teachers

Margaret Turnbull
University of Auckland
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 59 - 70.

Abstract: The practicum in teacher education affords student teachers an opportunity to demonstrate capacity to operate with professional agency. Although the site of the practicum is a school or early childhood centre, preparation for practicum occurs in a tertiary institution. This paper discusses the findings of an investigation into the effectiveness of links between ‘social integration’ in the tertiary institution and ‘system integration’ in the early childhood practicum. Findings from the study revealed that capacity for student teacher professional agency in the practicum was hindered by lack of effective links between the systems. I argue that student teacher professional agency in the practicum is reliant on the effectiveness of links between social integration in the tertiary institution and system integration in the practicum.

Noise in Early Childhood Centres and How Safe is the Level of Noise?

Stuart J McLaren and Philip J Dickinson
Massey University, Wellington Campus
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 71 - 80.

Abstract: This paper reports on a section of the findings from a larger study on noise in early childhood centres. The level of noise experienced by 45 staff and 155 three to five years-old children in 32 early childhood centres was recorded. The data showed that more than a quarter of children and one sixth of the teaching staff, received dosages in excess of the maximum daily sound exposures permitted for employees under the health and safety in employment legislation. Some activities and equipment were found to be especially noisy, indicating that controls on the level of noise for these were needed. This included some music sessions from amplified music and the use of percussion instruments such as claves. Major construction work carried out in the vicinity of centres generated noise that could be harmful to children and staff.

Parent Support and Education Programmes: A Systematic Review

Boaz Shulruf
University of Auckland
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 81 - 102.

Abstract: The goal of the review was to identify the components of parent education and support programmes that correlate with the most positive outcomes for parents, children and families. Systematic searches took place using the most common academic databases and publications of academic institutes and government agencies. Thirty nine out of 350 evaluation studies, published in 30 publications, that initially appeared in the search met the selection criteria and were included in the analyses. Major outcomes of the analyses suggest the following:  effective programmes should include at least one meeting a week and, if addressing parents of preschool children, home visiting; parental teaching or tutoring skills have a positive impact on programme outcomes; expansion of the parents’ social network and provision of referral services increases the likelihood of parents becoming self-sufficient. It was noted that other components such as psychological support, concrete support, provision of information on children’s development and health monitoring had limited impact on the programmes’ outcomes. Recommendations for further research are made.

“Reaching the Foothills of Everest”: Ethics Approval - A Personal Perspective

Auckland University of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 103 - 112.

Abstract: I am currently working on my doctorate entitled ‘Enhancing the Bicultural Curriculum in Early Childhood Education’. Part of the process of this study was making an application to the AucklandUniversity of Technology Ethics Committee (AUTEC) prior to starting the data collection stage of the research. According to Oliver (2003) researchers tend to experience an application to an ethics committee as an unnecessarily lengthy process preventing them from getting on with their research. I found fellow students who had completed the ethics approval process were sympathetic rather than encouraging. But my experience was that the process (albeit lengthy) was worthwhile, challenging and reassuring as my vague research proposal became a specific planned timeline for the research. My response to fellow students in the future would be to explain what a positive difference the process can make. In this paper I describe the landmark ethics case in New Zealand (the Cartwright Commission, 1988) and the purpose of ethics committees. This is followed by an outline of the process of completing an ethics application, the specific ethical issues I needed to address, the knowledge I gained and the reassurance and satisfaction I felt on completion of the process.

Focus Group Methodology and its Usefulness in Early Childhood Research

Claire McLachlan
Auckland University of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 113 -124.

Abstract: Focus groups are increasingly being used by researchers as a method of qualitative data gathering in educational contexts. The history of the focus group started with the ‘focussed interview’, for identifying a group’s beliefs about a particular issue in a non-directive manner in a non-threatening environment. Focus groups can be a powerful means of obtaining much information from a group in a short period of time, but there are serious issues regarding group dynamics, ethics, structure and management of the focus group. This paper will explore some strategies for successfully using focus group methodology in research in early childhood education services.

Asian Immigrant Parents’ and New Zealand Early Childhood Teachers’ Views of Parent-Teacher Relationships

Karen Guo
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 8, 2005, pp. 125 -136.

Abstract: The growing number of Asian children entering the New Zealand early childhood education system means that teachers can not ignore the need to develop an understanding of Asian cultures and practices that support working collaboratively with Asian families. This paper examines the views of a small number of Asian immigrant parents and New Zealand early childhood teachers about parent-teacher partnerships in children’s early education and care. The findings point to challenges for both parents and teachers. The paper highlights some major problems or barriers to the achievement of effective partnerships between Asian immigrant parents and New Zealand early childhood teachers, namely parental and teacher confidence, time, and willingness or perception of need to develop a partnership. Some recommendations for improving teacher practices are outlined. It is concluded that given the limitations of this study and yet the issues it has raised, that this is topic which needs to be more systematically researched.

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