University of Waikato


Covid-19 202015 Sep 2020

Why now is a good time to rethink the purpose of ECE

Professor Linda Mitchell and her colleagues surveyed 156 managers from Early Childhood Education (ECE) providers on the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report explores challenges concerning the sustainability of ECE services and raises critical questions regarding funding and planning. It suggests now is a good time to rethink the purpose of ECE, to redefine ECE as a public good, and to plan, fund and support it accordingly.

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Associate Professor Sally Peters
Winter 201925 Jul 2019

Working together effectively and consistently

Children do not exist in isolation; their lives are embedded in families, communities and societies. Nested within these communities are the schools and early childhood education (ECE) services children attend. When I was a child, my experience was of little interaction between schools and their communities. Looking back, this seems due to the culture of practice within schools, more than the school gates. In the intervening years, writers like Bronfenbrenner1 have drawn our attention to the complex influences of environments – both immediate and more remote –  on development and the value of creating meaningful reciprocal connections between the different groups and settings that children are part of. Today we see attention to the role of communities reflected in our  curriculum documents. “Family and Community/Whānau Tangata” is one of the principles of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, along with the expectation that each ECE service will use the curriculum “as a basis for weaving with children, parents and whānau its own local curriculum of valued learning, taking into consideration also the aspirations and learning priorities of hapū, iwi and community”. For kura and schools, Te Marautanga notes that for learners to succeed, the school, the home, hapū, iwi and community

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Nida Fiazi
Winter 201925 Jul 2019

Fostering a sense of home in a new environment

When my mother and I first arrived in New Zealand, she was 22 and I was four. We didn’t know anyone or anything. We had to learn how to use public transport, ATMs, how to buy groceries and clothes, pay bills – all while learning a whole new language. This was very overwhelming and isolating. There’s a common misconception that the struggles of refugees end when they are granted asylum. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Settling in a new country is difficult enough – but add a background of forced migration, having to navigate foreign languages, cultures and systems while healing with trauma and you have a plethora of new challenges to contend with. When we settled into our new home in Hamilton, there was one other Afghan family in the area who welcomed us with open arms. Having people from the same country, speaking the same language and believing in the same religion was invaluable – especially in those first few years when everything was so new and unfamiliar. Their presence was a great source of strength and comfort. We were able to keep in touch with our culture and keep our traditions alive because we had people to share them

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