Our Projects

Te whakapūmautia te mana: Enhancing mana through kaitiakitanga

Researchers: Lesley Rameka (University of Waikato); Brenda Soutar (Tautāwhi Ltd); Vanessa Paki (Te Rito Maioha)
Date: 1 February 2020 to 31 March 2022
This project, funded by the Ministry of Education’s Teaching and Learning Research Initiative, explored ways that ECE accords mokopuna opportunities to recognise mana and understand ways to accrue and attain mana through being kaitiaki (guardians) of themselves, others and their environment, thereby contributing to a collective sense of wellbeing. The premise of this kaupapa Māori project is that mana (prestige, status, influence) is a fundamental element of wellbeing.

Kiribati National Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

Researchers: Lesley Rameka (University of Waikato); Winnie Korina (Te Rito Maioha, ECNZ)
Date: 1 June 2019 to 30 June 2020
The aim of this project, funded by UNICEF, was to provide technical support to the Government of Kiribati in a participatory process to develop, pilot, revise and finalise a National ECCE Curriculum Framework, including supplementary documents; develop a plan for the roll-out of the new curriculum; and train and support national trainers to facilitate the roll-out.

Strengthening belonging and identity for immigrant families through early childhood education

Researchers: Linda Mitchell, Amanda Bateman, Elaine Khoo, Lesley Rameka, Raella Kahuroa, staff at Crawshaw Kindergarten, Hillcrest Kindergarten, Iqra Educare, Pakuranga Baptist Kindergarten, and Waikato Kindergarten Association.
Date: January 2018 to March 2020
This project, funded by the Ministry of Education’s Teaching and Learning Research Initiative, developed theories and practice strategies on how ECE can enable refugee and immigrant families and children to construct positive outcomes for belonging and participating in Aotearoa New Zealand, while sustaining and contributing important cultural aspects from their home country.

Refugee families in early childhood education: constructing pathways to belonging

Researchers: Linda Mitchell, Lesley Rameka, (University of Waikato), Amanda Bateman (University of Swansea), Polly Atatoa-Carr, Margaret Carr.
Date: March 2018 - February 2021
This project, funded by the Marsden Fund, researched the experiences of refugee children and their families who attended three early childhood centres, and graduates of these centres. The aim was to investigate how refugee children and families could be deliberately encouraged to overcome trauma, sustain their cultural identity and simultaneously live within and contribute to New Zealand society as part of constructing pathways to belonging.

National Evaluation: Early Childhood Education Promoting Participation Programme

Researchers: Linda Mitchell (University of Waikato), Patricia Meagher-Lundberg, Claire Davison, Helena Kara & Telesia Kalavite
Date: 2011 to 2015
This project, funded by the Ministry of Education, evaluated the MoE’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Participation Programme that targeted local areas where there were high numbers of children starting school who had not participated in ECE. The aim of the programme was to increase participation of these low income 'priority' children in 'quality' ECE. The evaluation was summative (determining the value) and formative or developmental (aimed at enhancing progress).

Strengthening children's relational competencies: Identifying key factors that impact on emotional and social resilience from pre-birth to 4-5 years

Researchers: Linda Mitchell (University of Waikato), Jayne White (RMIT), Sally Peters (University of Waikato)
Date: July 2018 to  May 2019
The project, funded by the Ministry of Social Development, built on our analysis data from the  Growing Up in New Zealand (GUINZ) project for pre-birth and nine month olds, and a parallel analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) for nine month olds, carried out by Charles Sturt University researchers.

Embodiment, places and education: From early childhood to higher education (EPE)

Researchers: Sonja Arndt (University of Waikato), Professor Alerby (Luleå University of Technology, Sweden), Bronwen Cowie (University of Waikato), Susanne Westman (Luleå University of Technology, Sweden)
Date: 2016 to 2017
This international collaborative project investigated understandings of place and space in diverse contexts, beginning with the contexts of Aotearoa New Zealand and Sweden, and built on an earlier similar project between Australia and Sweden.

Age responsive pedagogies: 'Preschool' ECE teachers interrogate their dialogues with and about two-year-olds

Researchers: Jayne White, Bridgette Redder (University of Waikato)
Date: January 2017 to February 2019
Ten experienced teachers from two mixed age early childhood education settings catering for two year-olds alongside their older peers engaged in a video-based inquiry that allowed a slowing down of their pedagogical processes. The purpose of their inquiry was to understand what two year-old dialogues ‘look like’ in ‘preschool’ settings traditionally oriented to older peers as a source of pedagogical insight.

An Australasian Collaborative for understanding the pedagogy of infant-toddler development (CUPID)

Researchers: Jayne White (University of Waikato), Claire Vallotton (Michigan State University), Jean Rockel (Honorary Research Fellow, University of Auckland), Margaret Sims (University of New England, NSW), Berenice Nyland (RMIT, Melbourne), Shelia Degotardi (Macquarie University, Sydney)
Date: 2015 to 2019
This international investigation focused on the extent to which infant and toddler pedagogy was viewed as a specialist field, or one that is subsumed into the generic field of early childhood education, and the provision of undergraduate courses and practicum that contribute to either approach.

Te Whatu Kete Matauranga: Weaving Māori and Pasifika infant and toddler theory and practice in early childhood education

Researchers: Lesley Rameka (University of Waikato), Ali Glasgow (Victoria University of Wellington)
Date: 2015 to 2017
This project was a partnership between the University of Waikato, Victoria University of Wellington, three Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Early Learning Centres and three EFKS A'oga Amata. It created new knowledge about teaching and learning by exploring Māori and Pasifika understandings of care and education for infants and toddlers. The researchers  utilised this culturally grounded rationality as the basis for theoretical statements that include theory development and culturally-embedded practice in Māori and Pasifika early childhood services.

Literacy and narrative in the early years: Zooming in and zooming out

Researchers: Amanda Bateman, Margaret Carr (University of Waikato), Alex Gunn, Elaine Reese (University of Otago)
Date: January 2014 to December 2017
This project, funded by the Ministry of Education’s Teaching and Learning Research Initiative focused on exploring and strengthening young children's storytelling expertise. The researchers aimed to learn more about young children's capacity to tell stories, beginning in early childhood and through to the early school years by following a group of children during their final year of early childhood education through to their early school years to see how they engage in storytelling and what assists them to do this

Children visiting a museum: Information gathering or creative capacity building?

Researchers: Margaret Carr, Bronwen Cowie, Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips (University of Waikato), Brenda Soutar (Te Kōhanga Reo me Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Mana Tamariki)
Date: 2014 to 2017
This project built on young children’s creative inclinations to puzzle about the unknown, develop innovative working theories and to expect (and enjoy) difference. It focused on boundary objects and conversations as mediating tools. In a series of iterative design experiments it explored the ways in which—in different cultural sites—these tools enable the identification and the strengthening of creative capacities during a well-designed museum visit.

Through infant eyes

Researchers: Jayne White, Bridgette Redder, Mira Peter (University of Waikato)
Date: 24/03/2022
This pilot study sought to investigate the dialogues of infants in a New Zealand education and care context. Polyphonic video methods, drawing from dialogic methodology, captured the social experience of two infants (aged 4 and 8 months) and their key teachers from the visual perspective of each.

iPads and opportunities for teaching and learning for young children

Researchers: Elaine Khoo, Rosina Merry (University of Waikato)
Date: ???
This project was an exploratory study into the educational affordances of iPads for teaching and learning with children in an early childhood education centre within Hamilton. This vision has increased efforts to ensure that young children's use of and learning with ICTs in educational contexts occur in a holistic, socially and culturally appropriate manner.

Children as teachers, families as learners

Researchers: Margaret Carr, Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips (University of Waikato)
Date: January 2012 to December 2014
This project, funded by the Ministry of Education  Teaching and Learning Research Initiative was about young children as museum guides, explaining their understandings about a museum exhibit or object to teachers, family and friends. The research explored ways in which these shared experiences invited conversations that included families' social and cultural knowledge, engaged families in their children's learning, and influenced family expectations and aspirations for their children.

Pedagogical intersubjectivity; understanding how teaching and learning moments occur between children and teachers

Researchers: Amanda Bateman (University of Waikato), Sharmila Caeiro, Timothy Bennett, Nadine MacMillan (Campus Creche, Hamilton)
Date: January 2012 to December 2013
This project, funded by the Ministry of Education’s Teaching and Learning Research Initiative , investigated the moments of teaching and learning which occur during everyday interactions between children and teachers under the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. The focus of the study was to reveal how intersubjectivity is reached, and at what level, in early childhood pedagogy.

Learning journeys from early childhood into school

Researchers: Sally Peters, Vanessa Paki (University of Waikato), Keryn Davis (CORE Education), and staff from Learning Links, Te Totara School, Te Awamutu Primary School, and Rewi Street Kindergarten
Date: January 2011 to December 2014
This project, funded by the Ministry of Education’s Teaching and Learning Research Initiative worked with two early childhood services and two schools to investigate ways of enhancing children’s learning journeys from early childhood education into school, and to explore the impact of transition practices over time. The research was located in two different communities: one where there was an established ECE/school partnership and one where the relationships were developed through the project.

Strengthening responsive and reciprocal relationships in a whānau tangata centre: An action research project

Researchers: Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips, Margaret Carr (University of Waikato)
Date: January 2007 to December 2008
This project, funded by the  Ministry of Education’s Teaching and Learning Research Initiative, investigated the teaching and learning at Taitoko Kindergarten in the light of the impact of the development of a Whānau Tangata centre in Levin. The parent support and development contracts are a relatively new initiative for New Zealand, and this research project was designed to provide information to guide this teaching and learning policy for future similar initiatives.

Early Childhood Learning and Assessment Exemplar project (Kei Tua o te Pae)

Researchers: Margaret Carr, Wendy Lee (University of Waikato)
Date: 24/03/2022
This project, funded by the Ministry of Education, created 20 Early Childhood Exemplars  Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars. These exemplars are a  best practice resource design to support teachers to continue to improve the quality of their teaching.

Our place: Being curious at Te Papa

Researchers: Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips, Margaret Carr and Vanessa Paki (University of Waikato)
Date: 2010 to 2012
Funded by the Ministry of Education’s Teaching and Learning Research Initiative, this project partnered with Tai Tamariki, housed in the building of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. A key focus of the project was investigating the ways in which ‘funds of knowledge’ (embedded in the museum’s collections) might be woven together with ‘funds of disposition’ (especially curiosity).

Pedagogy of Educational Transitions (POET)

Researchers: Sally Peters, Vanessa Paki, Elmarie Kotzé and Nadine Ballam (University of Waikato)
In Partnerhsip with Mälardalen University, Sweden, University of Strathclyde, Scotland, University of Iceland and Charles Sturt University, Australia.
Date: 2013 to 2017
Pedagogies of Educational Transitions [POET] was a Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme [IRSES] project programme of staff exchange and networking between the above institutions. It brought together experienced and early stage researchers from the five universities to build expertise and skills, and strengthen international research partnerships in the area of researching young children’s educational transitions.