Creating a world: early childhood education

22 May 2019

Linda Mitchell

We all know the importance of early childhood education but why is it that governments and international organisations still have a narrow definition of its purpose and place in our lives?

Early childhood education is increasingly portrayed as providing a service for working parents, and is seen as part of the contribution towards the economic development of a country or rescuing children from disadvantage. In these conceptualisations, children and their families do not feature as voices in their own right – their agency and mana are invisible.

In the fourth of the Hamilton Public Lecture series Professor Linda Mitchell examines this narrow definition and argues that early childhood education can be a site for democratic citizenship and social justice; for social criticism and critical thinking; and taking from the principles and strands of our national curriculum Te Whāriki, for mana – empowerment, agency and possibilities, as all-encompassing values.

Professor Linda Mitchell has been at the forefront of early childhood education for more than 30 years. Director of the Early Years Research Centre and of the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research at the University of Waikato, Linda has led several evaluations of national early childhood policies and has been a strong voice in the development of New Zealand’s strategic plans for ECE. She is currently leading two projects about refugee and immigrant families in early childhood education constructing pathways to belonging, and is supporting early childhood development work in Timor Leste.

The Hamilton Public Lecture Series introduces our newest professors to the community and gives them a chance to demonstrate how their work is having a real impact on the world around us.

This 35-minute public lecture is on Tuesday 4 June and is free and open to the public. Complimentary drinks and nibbles will be served at 5.15pm, with the lecture starting at 5.45pm. Free parking is available on campus via Gate2B, Knighton Road, Hamilton. Register your attendance.

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