Early Years Research Centre Conference

Date / Time: 28 July 2018

The Early Years Research Centre Conference: People, places and things: Implications for New Zealand's strategic plan for early learning was held on Saturday 28 July at S Block, the University of Waikato from 9.00am - 3.15pm.

A feature keynote speaker at the Conference was Emeritus Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop from Strathclyde University in Scotland. Professor Dunlop's presentation, People, places and spaces in-between highlighted the fact that transitions are embedded in the educational system from early childhood education and care through primary and secondary education, and beyond. The experiences and interactions children have on this journey are important and Professor Dunlop reflected on the relationships, individual attributes, environments and educational outcomes of a number of children as well as questioning whether school success was the same for all children. She was awarded an MBE in June 2013 for services to autism and early childhood in Scotland.

View Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop's presentation:

People, places and spaces in-between

Keynote speaker Lesley Rameka from the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research spoke on the importance of Māori and Pasifika children being culturally located for educational success and the recognition that effective education must embrace culture. Dr Rameka reported on a recent Teaching and Learning Research Initiative project Te Whatu Kete Mātauranga: Infant and toddler theory and practice which explored how early childhood services could better integrate culture into teaching practices by creating culturally responsive, infant and toddler teaching and learning theory, and practice guidelines.

View Dr Lesley Rameka's presentation: Te Whatu Kete Mātauranga: Infant and toddler theory and practice

Among the many interesting presentations on the weekend was that of the local Member of Parliament and member of the Workforce and Education Committee, Jamie Strange. He spoke about the directions of the Government's Strategic Plan for Early Learning and engaged with the audience for feedback and ideas. The problems with the privatisation of early childcare centres were highlighted by delegates as well as issues with transitioning from early childhood to schools and insufficient sector funding. Mr Strange spoke further on the Government's direction for education policy and how other issues such as the housing shortage and poverty needed to be improved to limit their impact on the education sector. He believes steps already taken by the Government to increase the family's package would go some way towards improving poverty and helping families with children to be in more stable housing during their formative years.

Download the conference flyer