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Gibbon, A., & Farquhar S. (2014). Mapping policies and pathways in early childhood education: A note from Aotearoa New Zealand. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal. Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy, 17, 1 - 10.
Invited Country Note
Mapping Policies and Pathways in Early Childhood Education: A Note from Aotearoa New Zealand
In 1988 the future of early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand was mapped out by two documents: Education to be More (Meade, 1988) and Before Five (Department of Education, 1988). The former, a ground-breaking report to government, and the latter, the responding government agenda, have significantly shaped policy strategies for the purpose, nature and provision of education of children ‘before five’ years of age. This country note traces some of the policy directions that were made possible by a coherent national vision and a strong sense of direction. In surveying the current terrain of early childhood policy in Aotearoa we reflect on the historical policy events that continue to influence early childhood education today, and outline a few of the continuing and persistent challenges that are likely to lead, and at times threaten, future development. Our discussion of these challenges reflects a need for policy makers to engage more strongly in understanding the challenges and supporting the early childhood education community – a community which, we believe, is critical to the welfare of the nation.
Key words: Government policy; politics; funding; teacher qualification; teaching; teacher education; Māori participation.
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