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

Dr Lesley Rameka (Principal Investigator) and Ali Glasgow

Project Dates: 2015 - 2017

Partnerships: Victoria University of Wellington; three Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Early Learning Centres; three EFKS A'oga Amata

Research Aims

This project will create new knowledge about teaching and learning by exploring Māori and Pasifika understandings of care and education for infants and toddlers. We will utilise this culturally grounded rationality as the basis for theoretical statements that include theory development and culturally-embedded practice in Māoi and Pasifika early childhood services. Lastly, we will use the findings from our work with Māori and Pasifika services to create culturally responsive theoretical statements which include theory and practices recommendations for mainstream services. The project will therefore not only to support culturally-embedded infant and toddler provision in Māori and Pasifika early childhood services, but will provide culturally relevant theory and practice for all early childhood teachers and services.

Why was this research undertaken?

There was a noticeable gap in the literature with regard to Māori and Pasifika theory and practice in early childhood provision. Despite a reasonably extensive array of literature on Māori and Pasifika images of the child, childrearing and education, there was very little on infants and toddlers and even less that provided understanding, framings, and guidance for contemporary mainstream early childhood service provision. This project aimed to address this gap. It explored how early childhood services could better integrate culture into teaching practices by creating culturally located teaching and learning theory, and practice guidelines for early childhood services. The overall aim of the project was not only to support culturally embedded infant and toddler provision in Māori and Pasifika early childhood services, it was to provide culturally relevant theory and practice for all early childhood teachers and services.

What were the main goals of the research?

How could Māori and Pasifika cultural knowledge support the development of culturally responsive theory and practice for the care of infants and toddlers in contemporary early childhood settings?

Sub questions

What traditional Māori and Pasifika cultural knowledge could be reclaimed as a basis for contemporary infant and toddler practice?

How could traditional Māori and Pasifika cultural knowledge be reframed to provide new theory and practice for contemporary infant and toddler education?

What would reframed traditional Māori and Pasifika cultural knowledge look like when implemented (realising) with infants and toddlers in contemporary early childhood services?

What was/were the main methodology/ies used to capture data?

The research employed a qualitative, Kaupapa Māori, Pasifika research methodology that situated Māori and Pasifika understandings as central to the research design, process, analysis and intended outcomes. It promoted communities working together, sharing power, and affirmed the importance of relationships within the research process.

Grounded Theory provided the theoretical frame for data gathering and analysis. Grounded theory involves simultaneous data gathering and analysis in an iterative process. Through thematic analysis it was possible to concentrate on identifying themes or patterns from the data in order to support meaning making and understanding.

What did you consider to be the key findings from the research?

  • Māori and Pasifika cultural knowledge can support the development of culturally responsive theory and practice through connecting with, and deepening understandings of, Māori and Pasifika worldviews, constructs of the child, and their whānau/communities.
  • Traditional Māori and Pasifika cultural knowledge that can be reclaimed include the cultural values, understandings, beliefs and practices that reflect Māori/Pasifika worldviews. All the case study services identified the need to embed and normalise Māori/Pasifika worldviews within practice. This created a context whereby iwi/hapū/tīpuna/aiga, rohe/whenua/communities and island/homeland connections could be maintained, enabling infants and toddlers to develop a strong sense of themselves, who they are culturally, and where and how they belong. This supported the establishment of roles and responsibilities, knowledge of whakapapa, tribal/nation/island connections and a strong sense of belonging and identity.
  • The services utilised a range of cultural tools/practices/artefacts to reframe cultural knowledge for contemporary infant and toddler education. This involved immersing infants and toddlers within environments where connections and relationships, inherent in whakapapa, shared intergenerational caregiving and tuākana/tēina partnership were embedded. Cultural practices such as waiata, oriori, mōteatea and karakia were an important part of this process as was the integration of a range of culturally values tools and artefacts such as pakiwaitara, and pareu. Recognising and further supporting culturally valued traits, competencies, behavioural aspirations and norms such as the expressing of alofa, mana and rangatiratanga were important aspects of these environments
  • Reframed traditional Māori and Pasifika cultural knowledge will: reflect teachers’ connectedness to, relationships with, and understanding of learning valued by cultural communities within local contexts; be underpinned by elements of identity and belong within Māori/Pasifika communities; highlight Māori and Pasifika cultural tools, practices and artefacts; and make a difference for Māori and Pasifika infants and toddlers.

What groups and/or organisations would be most interested in your research results?

  • Mainstream Early Childhood Services.
  • Puna Reo.
  • Kohanga Reo.
  • Pacific Language Nests.

What were the research project's outputs?

Publications

Rameka, L. K., & Glasgow, A. H. (2017). Tuakana Teina culturally located teaching in early childhood education. Early Childhood Folio, 21(1), 27-32.

Glasgow, A., & Rameka, L. (2017). Māori and Pacific pedagogy: Reclaiming cultural practices and countering Western bias. ICCPS Journal, 6(1), 80-95. http://journals.sfu.ca/iccps/index.php/childhoods/article/download/62/pdf  

Rameka, L., & Glasgow, A. (2016). Our voices: Culturally responsive, contextually located infant and toddler caregiving. Childhood Folio, 20(2), 3-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.18296/ecf.0023

Glasgow, A., & Rameka, L. (2016). Māori and Pacific traditional caregiving practices: Voices from the community. In R. Toumua, K. Sanga, & S. Johanssen Fua (Eds.), Weaving education: Theory and practice in Oceania: Selected papers from the second Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific.

Rameka, L., & Glasgow, A. (2015). A Māori and Pacific lens on infant and toddler provision in early childhood education. MAI, 4(2), 134-150. http://www.journal.mai.ac.nz/sites/default/files/MAIJrnl_2015_V4_iss2_Rameka.pdf

Presentations & Keynote Addresses

Iosefo-Perez, R., Pereira, K., Perez, D. L., Anae, S., Kauone, M., Mavaega, P., & Glasgow, A. (2017, May). Tokelauan practice of Inati Matiti Akoga Amata. Paper presented to the Tokelauan community. Naenae, Wellington, New Zealand.

Glasgow, A. (2016, November). Te Whatu Matauranga: Pacific Case Study Action Research. Paper presented at WPEC: Wellington Pacific Early Childhood Conference. Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand

Fiti, S., Iosefo-Perez, R., Perez, M., & Pereira, K. (2016, November). Case study presentations. Paper presented at the WPEC Wellington Pacific Early Childhood Education Conference.Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand.

Burgess, F., & Fiti S. (2016, October). How expressions of Alofa and Gagana demonstrate notions of Fa’a Samoan for fanau, aiga and tamaiti. Paper presented at the Cultural Diversity Day, EFKS,Wellington, New Zealand.

Wills, C. (2016, September). Enhancing tuakana/teina relationships through pepeha and pakiwaitara and mana whenua. Paper presented at the TWoA: Takiwai Te Waenga.Rotorua, New Zealand.

Tuheke, A. (2016, September). Understandings of and practices of wai koiora to strengthen the mana of infants and toddlers. Paper presented at the TWoA Te Waenga symposium.

Howarth, P. (2016). How can the rangatira of pepi/teina be embraced and enhanced through Moteatea. Paper presented at the TWoA, Te Ihu Symposium, Auckland, New Zealand.

Howarth, P. (2016). How can the rangatira of pepi/teina be embraced and enhanced through Moteatea. Paper presented at the Tuia Te Ako conference (Ako Aotearoa) TWoA campus. Auckland, New Zealand.

Rameka, L., Glasgow, A. H., Fiti, S., Burgess, F., Kauraka, B., Howarth, P., Wills, C., Tuheke, A., & Maunsell, T. (2016, November). Te Whatu Kete Matauranga. Paper presented at the Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education (RECE) conference.Taupo, New Zealand

Glasgow, A. (2016). The Pacific language nest: Preserving and maintaining language and culture. Paper presented at the Pacific early childhood education conference. University of Auckland, Epsom Campus, New Zealand.

Glasgow. A. (2016, May). Beacons of light: The Pacific language nest. Paper presented at the Autumn Research Seminar. Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.

Glasgow, A., & Rameka, L. (2015, Ireland). Māori and Pacific unfant and toddler education: Community voices. [TLRI research]. Paper presented at the RECE Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education.Dublin, Ireland.

Rameka, L., Glasgow, A., Kauraka, B., Burgess, F., Fiti, S., Mansell, T. … Tuheke, A. (2015, May). Te Whatu Kete Matauranga: Weaving Māori and Pasifika infant and toddler theory and practice in early childhood education. Paper presented at theEarly Childhood Convention,Rotorua, New Zealand.

Rameka, L., & Glasgow, A. (2015, May). Polynesian perspectives of infant and toddler care and education in early childhood education. Keynote address to the Autumn Research Seminar. Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Burgess, F., & Fiti, S. (2015, April). Using stories of traditional infant and toddler child rearing practices in order to direct observations of caring behaviour in a Wellington A’oga Amata. Paper presented at the 25th FAGASA Conference. Apia, Samoa.