Early Years Research Centre

Lesley Rameka, University of Waikato. Winnie Korina, e Rito Maioha, ECNZ.

Project Dates: 1 June 2019 - 30 June 2020

Partnerships: UNICEF, Government of Kiribati


Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Kiribati is provided exclusively by non-governmental organisations such as churches and community groups. There are four types of preschools which include—Island Council preschools; Church and faith-based preschools; Community preschools and Privately-owned preschools. Currently, each of these preschools follows a wide range of ECCE practices, such as teacher training (ranging from one-week to six months); curriculum (use their own curriculum); inconsistency in contact hours (from one to three hours) and varied assessment methods for assessing learning of young children. The Kiribati Government has made a commitment to develop quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) provision in Kiribati. The ECCE curriculum framework is being developed as a guide for ECCE providers and their staff to maintain a nationally shared set of aims, beliefs and values in working with children. The framework is not prescriptive but instead provides a set of learning outcomes to guide providers and their teachers in their planning and teaching.

What is the Aims of the Research?

The aim of the project is to provide technical support to the Government of Kiribati in a participatory process to develop, pilot, revise and finalize a National ECCE Curriculum Framework, supplementary documents (e.g. teacher training manual, syllabus document, teachers’ guides and planning documents, resource books), develop a plan for the roll-out of the new curriculum, and train and support national trainers to facilitate the roll-out of the curriculum. The team is expected to work in a consultative and participatory manner, building capacity and ensuring ownership and relevance of the final outputs, and contributing toward the development of a sustainable plan for their effective implementation thereafter.

Why is this research important?

The framework is not just intended to guide the teaching and learning of young children in Kiribati but to also provide a basis for continued consultations with families and community over the nature and purpose of ECCE in Kiribati. The framework attempts to utilise elements of international best practice in early years education but also ensure cherished Kiribati values and understandings about the nature of childhood in Kiribati are maintained. This can only be achieved in constant consultation with parents, families and community.

Potential Research Impact?

The framework has been constructed at a time of greater regulation and a greater sense of professionalism in early childhood education services in Kiribati. The document represents the first time that early childhood education and care service delivery has been guided by a set of common guidelines applicable to all providers. This framework therefore will ensure a greater degree of quality in terms of I-Kiribati children’s early years of learning.