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Early Childhood Alert No. 4, 2017


1.  On the grapevine

2.  Teacher's Plan for a dedicated Union for the ECE sector

3.  Pinch and a punch for the first of the month - do you have a problem with children fighting or hurting others? 

4.  Ministry's revision and production of new Te Whāriki

5.  New research on ECE curriculum development in NZ and internationally

6.  Children's Day

7.  If you missed last week's newsletter

Is your member login not working for full access to the above plus other ECE advice, help, research, and discussion?  Check that you or you organisation hold a curent membership, or join at www.childforum.com  


1.  The Grapevine


Next week is Playcentre Awareness Week. Visit your local playcentre - learn more about playcentre philosophy and practices, and develop or strengthen your relationship with it. Playcentre is one of the most poorly funded services in NZ but involves parents which is critical for effective teaching and children's learning.

Kindergarten Association History Record 
“For the Children – a History of the Auckland Kindergarten Association 1908 – 2016”, was released this week as an e-book. Written by Tania Mace, it chronicles the Auckland Kindergarten Association's growth over the last two centuries and its changing practices. 


2. Teacher's Plan for a dedicated Union for the ECE sector

Former centre manager Garrett Kett has done what few others have dared to do and that is question the representation of the interests of teachers in workplaces not covered by NZEI Te Riu Roa.

The proposal could see teachers being split between belonging to NZEI Te Riu Roa and a new union entity, with a decision on a new ECE national union likely to be made in April.

The proposal has come out of growing unrest among teachers, mainly in for-profit centres, over working conditions, employment rights, and declining standards of quality for children. It seems though that the concerns are the same as NZEI Te Riu Roa's and a big question is how would a new national union fund itself. 

We are keen to hear what you think about this.

> Read the full news article including comment from NZEI and discussion


3.  Pinch and a punch for the first of the month - do you have a problem with children fighting or hurting others?

Member question posted on our website discussion area. We know there are lots of people with experience to contribute in answering this question.  Do help. 

"Hi all - I'd love to hear other members' suggestions .... we have an 18 month old boy who is a challenge. He will target any toddler or crawler and hit them, knock or push them over, etc. We do our best to provide a single carer to monitor him constantly, but ...      (login to the member area to read more)"

When you log-in, remember to go to the Discussion Area and check out the latest posts and questions.


4.  Ministry's revision and production of new Te Whāriki

There has to date been poor communication from the Ministry regarding its response to the many issues and problems discussed in relation to its handling of the revision of Te Whāriki.

See for example:

The Ministry was to release a new Te Whāriki document around the end of February.

Unbeknown to most parents, teachers, ECE service providers and teacher educators the Ministry of Education has already put out a tender in January for a contractor:

"To support kaiako across diverse early learning contexts to engage with the updated Te Whariki and its implementation. The provider(s) would provide introductory workshops, develop and provide webinars and support curriculum implementation by identifying local curriculum champions who will lead inquiry networks. The objective of this procurement is to support curriculum delivery and strengthen early learning through stronger engagement with Te Whariki."

And the tender closed two weeks ago.

The Ministry may possibly be waiting on completing its appointment of a contractor to do the 'promotional selling' of its revision to the early childhood sector.  It seems a shame that the Ministry has not chosen to slow down and take time to do a second iteration with better consultation and sector involvement - however, it is still not too late and if it chose this option it's choice is more likely to win the repect of the majority of people in the sector.  


5.  New research just published on ECE curriculum development in NZ and internationally 

Te Whāriki: Curriculum or philosophy
Chris Jenkin
Auckland University of Technology, NZ


Te Whāriki, the New Zealand national early childhood curriculum, has taken early childhood education in Aotearoa onto the world stage.  It has clarified the essence of what we believe is a bicultural country, strengthened the articulation of the depth of thinking that underpins our practice, and opened up opportunities for discussion, exploration, and reflection on practice. However, early childhood teachers continue to struggle to implement content within Te Whāriki. This article is based on a conference presentation in New Zealand which generated interest and animated discussion, and aims to help clarify how Te Whāriki should be interpreted and used. It draws on literature and data to investigate whether the lack of specific content within Te Whāriki means it should be considered a philosophy rather than a curriculum. Data was collected in two ways.  First, Te Tiriti-based (bicultural) aspects of Te Whāriki were analysed in relation to definitions of curriculum and philosophy. The second involved semi-structured interviews with two research participants involved in running early childhood centres.  While arguing that Te Whāriki is predominantly a philosophy, the article considers the implications for the early childhood workforce of viewing Te Whāriki as a curriculum.  It also suggests the possibility that Te Whāriki in fact occupies a third space as a curriculum framework. 

Key words: Te Whāriki; bicultural; curriculum; philosophy; interviews.

Full reference
Jenkin, C. (2017). Te Whāriki: Curriculum or philosophy. NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 20(1), 1–16. Retrieved from www.childforum.com/research/nz-international-early-childhood-education-journal-2017.html


Creating an early childhood curriculum pathway for sustaining indigenous Fijian cultural knowledges
Lavinia Tiko
The University of the South Pacific, Fiji


The rising multicultural nature of Fiji’s population calls for practices of equality and diversity in terms of early childhood education curriculum. Research suggests that children achieve better outcomes when their diverse strengths, abilities, interests and cultural practices are understood and supported (Derman-Sparks & Ramsey, 2011; Edwards, 2009; Fleer, 2010; Sims, 2011a). Valuing and respecting equality and diversity is vital for children to develop a strong sense of identity. This is also explicated in curriculum frameworks such as the Australia’s Early Years Learning Framework, Belonging, Being and Becoming (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations [DEEWR], 2009) and in Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996), the national New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum. 

In this research, the experiences and ideas of the research participants were presented through their own words. They described their childhood experiences in homes, villages and in educational settings, and describe how Indigenous Fijian children today are experiencing very different childhoods compared to the past. Early childhood education and primary education were seen as major contributors and transmitters of Western knowledges to Indigenous Fijian people and the research participants perceived young children to be the most affected by these knowledges. There were some key elements of Indigenous Fijian cultural knowledges and epistemologies that participants agreed need to be preserved and maintained, although there were some areas of disagreement. This paper calls on the need for Indigenous Fijian cultural knowledge to be embedded into the Fijian early childhood education curriculum as a form of recognising and valuing equality and diversity of the Indigenous Fijian people.

Key words: Equality; diversity; social justice; culture.

Full reference
Tiko, L. (2017). Creating an early childhood curriculum pathway for sustaining indigenous Fijian cultural knowledges. NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 20(1), 17-33. Retrieved from www.childforum.com/research/nz-international-early-childhood-education-journal-2017.html


Developing curriculum for the early years: A perspective from Bangladesh
Rokhsana Parveen* and Jane Bone**
*Ministry of Primary and Mass Education Bangladesh
**Monash University, Melbourne


In Bangladesh significant progress has happened in the field of early year’s education through both government and private initiatives. Pre-school education occurs through informal classes in government primary schools, in English-medium kindergartens and in Non-Government Organisations (NGO). Bangladesh has developed its first pre-primary curriculum and the government of Bangladesh approved the curriculum document named ‘Pre-primary Curriculum’ in 2011. This article will present an overview of the early childhood curriculum developed in Bangladesh and discuss the influences at work during the curriculum development process from the perspective of one of the first author - a Bangladeshi woman studying for a higher degree in Australia. The early childhood curriculum had to be acceptable for a large and diverse population. The narrative of the emergence of early childhood education in Bangladesh, a country with a population of 156.6 million, is presented, and reference is made to the New Zealand curriculum, Te Whāriki, and the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, Being Belonging and Becoming. Finally the article presents insights about curriculum development in the Bangladeshi context.

Key words:  Curriculum; pre-primary education; early childhood; diversity.

Full reference
Parveen, R. & Bone, J. (2017). Developing curriculum for the early years: A perspective from Bangladesh. NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 20(1), 34-45. Retrieved from www.childforum.com/research/nz-international-early-childhood-education-journal-2017.html 


6.  Children's Day 

Children's Day in NZ is this Sunday. This special day may not be acknowledged personally for many children. There is no reason why an early childhood service can not have its own Children's Day on the Friday before or the Monday following. For ideas and inspirational tips see our article.
> Read more 


7.  If you missed last week's newsletter  - 

Making going to school compulsory from the day of starting instead of Age-6 
In the debate about school entry age and making it compulsory to attend from the date of starting instead of from 6 years, the issue of loss of revenue for early childhood education services has been raised by a few with business interests in the sector. Children are a valuable part of our society, and in the debates that follow about these changes, their well-being must be at the centre of any thinking. 
> Read more in the full article on the Stuff news website  

How to increase your service's revenue and bring in more money
This article gives a range of different ideas and strategies that have proven successful for different services.
> Learn more

Sleep and rest times for children and parents' different wishes 
Differences in opinion as to whether a child should have a nap or not have led to tensions and stand-offs between teachers, parents and children in some centres and home-based services. 
> Learn more


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