Our publications and reports

2020 Conference: Exploring the critical role of teachers in early years education presentations

Purposeful mathematical problem solving practices in Te Kākano

Judy Bailey & Jane McChesney

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Critically examining teaching practices to support participation and empowerment of children during group experiences

Yasmine Serhan, Tim Bennett, Vanessa Erickson, Jordan Ward

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Parental involvement in early childhood learning: Douala, Littoral Region, Cameroon

Emela Fenmachi

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Looking beyond the absence of ‘love’ in Te Whāriki

Kayla Chateris

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Impact of Covid-19 on the early childhood education sector in Aotearoa New Zealand: Report 2: Interviews with managers

Authors: Linda Mitchell, Patricia Meagher-Lundberg, Clare Wells

This report follows a management survey on the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ECE services (Mitchell et al., 2020). It discusses findings from interviews with managers from five kindergarten associations, four community-based education and care services, three private education and care services, two Pasifika-language immersion services,[1] and one playcentre regional manager. The interviews sought to drill down into key issues identified in the survey around operation during COVID-19, connections/brokering with families and community, and sustainability. Challenges, opportunities and policy recommendations were canvassed. The interviews were carried out in August and September 2020, some of which, in Auckland, were after a second lockdown.


Impact of Covid-19 on the Early Childhood Education Sector in Aotearoa New Zealand: Challenges and opportunities.  Initial findings from a survey of managers

Authors: Linda Mitchell, Edith Hodgen, Patricia Meagher Lundberg and Clare Wells

The survey findings reported here present a picture of the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on early childhood education (ECE) services from the perspectives and experiences of managers from education and care services, kindergarten associations, playcentre regions and homebased services. The survey covered the period March to June 2020, as New Zealand moved through Lockdowns 4 and 3, and Level 2 to Level 1. The report explores the crucial role ECE services played in responding quickly to support workers, families and children when the virus spread to this country. They provided education and care for children of essential workers during lockdowns, communicated with families and staff, offered distance learning opportunities when children were unable to attend ECE, and brokered access to social, health and financial support for families who needed it. Attention was paid to staff wellbeing and professional development. Teachers made the ECE environment safe for children’s return. 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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Early Years Research Centre submission on Strategic Plan for Early Learning 2019-2029


Review of Childfund supported ECD Programmes

Authors: Linda Mitchell and Janette Kelly

This review was commissioned by ChildFund International as part of its commitment to quality ECD programming in collaboration with ChildFund New Zealand. The main aim of the review was to analyse the strengths of the programme and identify challenges that need to be addressed for a more effective and holistic ECD intervention. The review was undertaken in collaboration with the Education specialist and other staff of ChildFund Timor Leste and ChildFund New Zealand.

 Teaching & Learning in Culturally Diverse Early Childhood Centres 

Teaching & Learning in Culturally Diverse Early Childhood Centres

Authors: Linda Mitchell, Amanda Bateman, Amondi Ouko, Robyn Gerrity, Jacqui Lees, Karen Matata, Htwe Htwe Myint, Leanne Rapana, Amy Taunga, Wendy Xiao
Published by: Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Hamilton New Zealand

Recent research has highlighted challenges for refugee and immigrant families in accessing ECE services that are responsive to their cultural and linguistic identities and to the contexts of their lives. However, there are few studies of how early childhood pedagogy can address such challenges. This qualitative study explored and analysed culturally responsive teaching and learning in three diverse education and care centres. It investigated how teachers in these diverse settings practically implemented their values by drawing on the funds of knowledge and cultural capital of the families they worked with, weaving these values into the fabric of the national curriculum, Te Whāriki. In doing so, the research aimed to identify culturally responsive teaching practice.

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Making the Most of Your Museum Visit 

Making the most of your museum visit: resource for early childhood teachers

Authors: Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips and Margaret Carr
Published by: Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Hamilton New Zealand

This resource is designed for early years teachers who are interested in visiting museums and galleries with young children.  Drawing on research from two Teaching and Learning Research Initiative projects involving a kindergarten located in a national museum. The resource has been developed in collaboration with the teachers, children and families at the kindergarten then trialled and modified by teachers, children and families from a kindergarten not located in a museum. We hope it offers useful ideas for making the most of museum visits and inspires early years teachers to seize the multiple learning opportunities offered through museum visits.

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Crossing the border: a community negotiates the transition from early childhood to primary school. Authors: Carol Hartley, Pat Rogers, Jemma Smith, Sally Peters, Margaret Carr 2012 (Wellington: NZCER Press)

Crossing the border: a community negotiates the transition from early childhood to primary school

Authors: Carol Hartleym Pat Rogersm Jemma Smith, Sally Peters, Margaret Carr 2012
(Wellington:NZCER Press)

This book was developed during and after a Centre of Innovation practitioner research project, undertaken by teachers at Mangere Bridge Kindergarten in South Auckland, supported by Sally Peters and Margaret Carr. It includes a Foreword by Aline-Wendy Dunlop, University of Strathclyde.

The Centres of Innovation Ngā Kauhanga Whakarehu (COI) programme was funded by the Ministry of Education from 2003 to 2009, and the authors are the three teacher researchers from Mangere Bridge Kindergarten and two university researchers from the Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato, reflecting the collaborative partnerships between the profession and the academy that underpinned the COI projects. Designed for early childhood and school teachers who are interested in transitions, the book combines stories of practice with theory building. More on this on NZCER Press.

Early Childhood Folio

Early Childhood Folio, Volume 15, No 2: 2011

This collection of papers was originally developed as Working Papers written by early childhood and early school teachers during a Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) project, funded by the Ministry of Education and administered by the New Zealand Council for Education Research (NZCER). The Early Childhood Folio, now available online at, is edited by Linda Mitchell , an Associate Director of the Early Years Research Centre. The project was entitled Key Learning Competencies Across Place and Time: kimihia te ara tōtika, hei orange mo tō ao; it was directed by Sally Peters and Margaret Carr.

All the authors of the articles in this collection are teachers or professional development facilitators. More on this on NZCER Press.

Early Years: International Journal of Research and Development, Volume 31, No. 3: 2011

Early Years: International Journal of Research and Development, Volume 31, No. 3: 2011

This special issue of the international journal Early Years focussed on 'Research into practice and practitioner research: innovative work in the field of early childhood education in New Zealand'. It provided an overview of recent developments and issues related to early childhood provision in New Zealand, especially the policy context and the curriculum (Te Whāriki) in action. Sally Peters, an Associate Director of the Early Years Research Centre was the guest editor, and researchers from the University of Waikato contributed three of the six papers. Read more...


Understanding the Te Whāriki Approach

Authors: Wendy Lee, Margaret Carr, Brenda Soutar, Linda Mitchell
2013 (Routledge)

Routledge have developed a series of books on curriculum or pedagogical approaches in early childhood. This is the first one that is based on a national curriculum, in this case of Aotearoa New Zealand. The authors include Wendy Lee, the Director of the Educational Leadership Project and Brenda Soutar the kaitiaki (Supervisor) of Te Kōhanga Reo o Mana Tamariki. The book introduces the background to Te Whariki, and four central chapters are framed around the four principles of Te Whariki: whakamana, empowerment; ngā hononga, relationships; whanau tangata, family and community; and kotahitanga, an holistic approach to teaching and learning. Each of these includes a case study of a Centre of Innovation project that has been co-led by a member of staff in the Early Years Research Centre, together with outcomes of interest for that centre and that principle. A chapter on assessment and planning is included.


Assessment in Early Childhood Settings: Learning Stories

Author: Margaret Carr
2001 (London: Sage)

This was the first Learning Story book, arguing for a complex view of learner outcomes: learning dispositions. Five domains of learning disposition are defined and exemplified, using examples from research findings. The author's shift in six assumptions about assessment described. The book then suggests an alternative model of formative assessment; Learning Stories, and calls on the research by the author in five different early childhood services to set out assessment strategies as describing, discussing, documenting and deciding – with narrative assessment in mind. The book weaves theory and practice and emphasises that unless we can find find a way to assess complex and ambitious outcomes in early childhood they will be excluded from teaching and learning to be replaced by simple and low level outcomes and goals, impoverishing the curriculum and the children's opportunities to learn.

Translated into Danish (2005)

Laeringshistorier: Evaluering og udvikling af laering i institutioner

Translation by Nanna Gyldenkaerne. Published by Hans Reitsels Forlag, Copenhagen. Danish Forword by Jan Kampmann.


Translated into Italian (2012)

Le storie di apprendimento: Documentare e vautare nei servizi per l'infanzia

Translation by Elena Luciano and Massimo Marcuccio. Published by Spaggiari, Parma.

Introductory chapters by Elena Luciano and Massimo Marcuccio

Learning Stories: Constructing Learner Identities in Early Education

Authors: Margaret Carr, Wendy Lee
2012 (London: Sage)

This is the second Learning Story book. It deepens the theoretical discussion in chapters entitled Learner Identities, Why Story? Agency and dialogue, Making connections across boundaries between places, Recognising and re-cognising learning continuities, and Appropriating knowledges and learning dispositions. Each chapter begins with a teacher reflection, except one which includes comments from a parent. It includes 37 examples of Learning Stories (in full colour) from New Zealand and a number of other countries; some of these examples come from school classrooms.

Educational Research with our Youngest

Educational Research with our Youngest: Voices of Infants and Toddlers

Authors: Edited by Eva Johansson (University of Stavanger) and E. Jayne White (University of Waikato)Prologue by Jean Rockel2011 (London: Springer)

Interpreting the voices on under three year olds is central to early childhood education. Yet entering into their life-worlds is fraught with challenges and unrealised possibilities. This ground-breaking book generates a dialogue about the multiple ways researchers have exploited a range of methods for approaching, accessing, understanding and interpreting infant voice. Each chapter explores the kinds of ethical considerations and dilemmas that may arise in this process. Represented by a chorus of international voices (researchers, children, teachers and parents) the book adds to discussions about the various circumstances, dilemmas and possibilities involved in doing research with our youngest.

Kei tua o te pae: Assessment for learning: early childhood exemplars

Carr, M., Lee, W. & Jones, C.J. (2004, 2007, 2009) Kei tua o te pae. Assessment for Learning: early childhood exemplars. A resource produced for the Ministry of Education (Wellington: Learning Media)

Twenty booklets combine research findings, theoretical literature and examples to explore a range of topics associated with assessment for learning. Available at no cost on the Ministry of Education website. Read more...

Learning in the Making: Disposition and Design in Early Education

Authors: Margaret Carr, Anne B. Smith, Judith Duncan, Carolyn Jones, Wendy Lee and Kate Marshall
(2010) Rotterdam: SensePublisher

This book presents the findings from a New Zealand Royal Society Marsden Fund project. It includes case studies of 14 children as they complete their early childhood education in a range of centres and enter school. Learning dispositions over time are connected to the curriculum design and opportunities in the education provision along three themes: engaging reciprocally (establishing a dialogue; being and becoming a group member), building resilience (initiating and orchestrating projects; asking questions) and provoking imagination (exploring possible worlds; storying selves).