Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
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Who are we?

The Centre includes a group of scholars who research and publish on early years education. Linda Mitchell is the Director, and Margaret Carr and Sally Peters and Associate Directors.

Linda Mitchell

Director of the Early Years Research Centre at the University of WaikatoDirector of the Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato

Linda Mitchell is Associate Professor in the Department of Professional Studies in Education. An overall research interest is in possibilities for ECE services to be democratic communities of teaching and learning and the frameworks that can support these. She has led several evaluations of national ECE policies, including of New Zealand's strategic plan for ECE (2004, 2006, and 2009) and her current evaluation of the government's National ECE Participation Programme. She was project leader for a Best Evidence Synthesis on effective professional development in ECE and a literature review on outcomes of ECE. The research reports for these projects are available on the Education Counts website. Other recent research is with Congolese refugee families on their aspirations for children and for ECE, a review of ChildFund supported ECD programmes in Timor Leste, and research on culturally responsive teaching and learning.

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Margie Hohepa

Margie HohepaAssociate Professor

Associate Professor Margie Hohepa is kaiāwhina to the Centre. Dr Hohepa supports our research and emerging Māori early years researchers. She has researched in early Māori education and she recently co-supervised, with Professor Carr and Professor Bronwen Cowie (Director of the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research), a thesis on Kaupapa Māori assessment in early years.

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Margaret Carr

Associate Director of the Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato

Margaret Carr - Associate Director of the Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato

Margaret Carr is Professor of Education in the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research. She was a co-Director of the Curriculum Development project that developed the New Zealand national early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, published in 1996. Following that curriculum project, research projects since then have included assessment in the early years, learning dispositions in early childhood centres and schools, and museum education.

During the research on assessment in the early years she developed, with teachers, a narrative approach to documenting and assessing learning. This approach has been called Learning Stories, and the 2001 book on Learning Stories has been translated into Danish and Italian, with a Japanese translation on the way. She was a co-writer and co-compiler of twenty booklets on assessment for learning in early childhood for the Ministry of Education (Kei tua o te Pae); these booklets are available on the Ministry website. More recently she has been working with teachers in an early childhood centre at Te Papa Tongarewa (New Zealand's national museum), researching the ways in which young children interact with museum exhibitions and collections. A collaboration with Te Kōhanga o Mana Tamariki in Palmerston North has also included the tamariki's interactions with taonga at Te Manawa Museum.

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Bronwen Cowie

Bronwen CowieDirector of Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, The University of Waikato and Professor in the Faculty of Education

The Early Years Research Centre is part of the Institute. Bronwen has expertise in classroom-based, focus group and survey research and has led a number of large externally funded projects focused on assessment for learning, curriculum implementation, and information and communication technology /e-learning. Her particular research interests include student views of assessment and assessment for learning interactions in diverse primary science and technology classrooms. Her research has included science education in Years one to three school classrooms.

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Sally Peters

Associate Director of the Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato

Sally Peters - Associate Director of the Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato

Sally Peters is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Counselling. Sally is part of a team of international researchers in the area of transitions. Research in this area has included a Centre of Innovation project focusing on 'border crossing' between home, early childhood education and school, a literature review for the Ministry of Education on starting school and a current three-year TLRI project with Vanessa Paki and a team of ECE and school teachers, which is investigating children's learning journeys pre, during and after the transition to school and the practices that support the transition between sectors. Other research interests have included 'key competencies' and learning dispositions, young children's working theories and how they make sense of their world as well as earlier work on mathematics in ECE and school.

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