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Contents – NZ Research in ECE Journal, 2014, Vol 17

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The titles, authors and abstracts for papers published in the NZRECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy, Volume 17, 2014, are shown below.  To read any article a member login is needed – join us if you are not already a member.  Many libraries subscribe to the journal so you may be able to view articles through your library’s system.

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Invited Country Note

Mapping Policies and Pathways in Early Childhood Education: A Note from Aotearoa New Zealand

Andrew Gibbons and Sandy Farquhar
Auckland University of Technology and University of Auckland
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy, Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 1 – 10. 

Key words: Government policy; early childhood education; politics; funding; teacher qualification; teaching; teacher education; Māori participation.

Abstract: In 1988 the future of early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand was mapped out by two documents: Education to be More (Meade, 1988) and Before Five (Department of Education, 1988). The former, a ground-breaking report to government, and the latter, the responding government agenda, have significantly shaped policy strategies for the purpose, nature and provision of education of children ‘before five’ years of age. This country note traces some of the policy directions that were made possible by a coherent national vision and a strong sense of direction. In surveying the current terrain of early childhood policy in Aotearoa we reflect on the historical policy events that continue to influence early childhood education today, and outline a few of the continuing and persistent challenges that are likely to lead, and at times threaten, future development. Our discussion of these challenges reflects a need for policy makers to engage more strongly in understanding the challenges and supporting the early childhood education community – a community which, we believe, is critical to the welfare of the nation.

Invited Country Note

The State Play in Early Childhood Policy: A Note from Australia

Frances Press
Charles Sturt University, New South Wales
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood PolicyVol. 17, 2014, pp. 11 – 20.

Key words: Policy reform; quality; accreditation; parent involvement.

Abstract: This brief country note on Australian early childhood education and care (ECEC) policy commences with an outline of the types of services that comprise the sector. A brief overview of the history of Australian early childhood education and care follows, including the challenges faced by the sector in the years leading up to the introduction of the Reform Agenda for Early Childhood. The changes instigated by the 2007 Early Childhood Reform Agenda and their significance are then explained and current policy and funding arrangements summarised. The paper concludes with a précis of the opportunities and challenges facing the early years’ sector.

Invited Country Note

Early Childhood Care and Education Policy: Ireland Country Note

Deirdre Horgan, Shirley Martin, Maura Cunneen and Marcella Towler
University College Cork, Ireland
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy, Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 21 – 34.

Key words: Ireland; policy, state expenditure, funding, early childhood care and education.

Abstract: Historically early childhood care and education infrastructure and policy in Ireland has been underdeveloped compared to other OCED countries (OECD, 2004). According to the OECD (2012), access to childcare, staff training, high-quality provision and public expenditure are vitally important if all children are to benefit positively from ECCE provision. This Country Note addresses these issues briefly and discusses some key transitions in ECCE policy in Ireland.

Original Policy Paper

Children’s Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction as Curriculum

Dian Fikriani and Jane Bone
Gadjah Mada University Indonesia and Monash University Australia
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy,Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 35 – 50.

Key words: Disaster risk reduction; early childhood curriculum; earthquake; tragedy.

Abstract: Children are always involved in disasters, both natural (fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunami) and man-made (wars and displacements of people). Informed by perspectives embedded within the sociology of childhood, the authors discuss what happened after a major earthquake in Indonesia. In this earthquake many people died or were seriously affected by this tragedy. The focus of this research is on the right of children to participate in matters that affect them through a strategy known as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Instead of waiting to deal with children as ‘victims’ of trauma or injury it is argued that children can work with educators to deal with disaster in a useful and proactive way. Teachers in Indonesia, who had themselves been affected by the earthquake, were asked to consider the possibility of including Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as curriculum in their early childhood centre. We discuss how the notion of participation is interpreted in this specific context and ask what kind of policy agenda might support this recommendation for DRR to be included as curriculum in countries where disasters are experienced.

Original Policy Paper

Parents’ Choices of Child Care in Australia

Wendy Boyd
Southern Cross University, Australia
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy,Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 51 – 70.

Key words: Childcare choice; quality; access; care preferences; infant care.

Abstract: Little is known about how parents make decisions about care for their child, especially first-time mothers returning to paid work after the birth of their first child. This paper investigates first-time mothers’ intentions and decisions for care of their child as they return to paid work. This study tracked 124 Australian first-time mothers from third trimester of pregnancy until 12 months postpartum. The investigation analysed intentions and choices of care. The key findings indicate that the women preferred care in the home by a known person, yet were often unable to access this care. To choose a childcare setting where the staff were unknown to the mothers, they frequently relied on the reputation of the centre. However some parents did not feel supported when using childcare centres: they expressed concern over the staffing levels, the group sizes and the constant ill-health of their child. Policy on care for the child needs to consider parents’ preferences for care of the child, as all children are affected by parents’ decisions.

Original Policy Paper

Breach of Trust – Getting it Right for Children in Early Childhood Care and Education in Ireland

Mary Moloney
Mary Immaculate College, Ireland
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy,Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 71 – 88.

Key words: Regulations; child abuse; early childhood education; policy; duty of care; participation; childcare supply.

Abstract: In May 2013 an exposé of verbal, physical and emotional abuse of young children attending three early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings in Ireland was aired on national television in a documentary called Breach of Trust. This paper argues that while the programme raised public awareness of fundamental flaws within the ECCE system in Ireland, it also came as no surprise that bad practises had been exposed. This paper specifically explores the policies and government in/action that led to the public revelations. It also critiques the Irish government’s response to the issues highlighted and its proposed plan to address these issues.

Original Policy Paper

Play and the Professional Early Childhood Teacher: A Personal Reflection

Sue Stover
AUT University, New Zealand
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy,Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 89 – 100.

Key words: Play; history, learning through play; early childhood education; policy; professionalism.

Abstract: This article draws together some reflections on play and educationalisation in the historic context of the contemporary professionalism of early childhood. Looking historically, I suggest that both play and education are issues whose visibility and vitality seem to reflect social and political drivers. I also consider what a review of Te Whāriki could include with the inclusion of greater emphasis on learning through play. So it is worthwhile to consider how play and professionalism have been – and perhaps still are – tools of larger reform projects.

Original Policy Paper

Negotiating Policy-Driven and State-Mandated Expectations of Leadership: Discourses Accessed by Early Childhood Educators in Australia

Louise Thomas and Joce Nuttall
Australian Catholic University
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy,Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 101 – 114.

Key words: Educational leadership; early childhood education; education policy; Australia; discourse analysis.

Abstract: This paper draws on two recent studies of educational leadership in early childhood education to examine the ways in which educators draw on a variety of discourses to articulate concepts of ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’ in the present early childhood policy context in Australia. The specific focus is on leaders’ responses to expectations of leadership within the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care [NQF] in Australia (Council of Australian Governments [COAG], 2009a), which promotes leadership focused on curriculum and pedagogy rather than on management and administration (COAG, 2009b). A poststructuralist lens is used to analyse the ways in which concepts of leadership embedded in the NQF work to mobilise various discourses of leadership. We argue that educators’ accounts indicate possibilities for new ways of theorising leadership in EC settings, to find ways to hold together seemingly opposite discourses of ‘leadership for management’ and ‘leadership for learning’ in response to current policy shifts.

Original Policy Paper

Early Intervention in Aotearoa New Zealand: Services and Challenges

Kathleen Liberty
University of Canterbury, New Zealand
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy,Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 115 – 146.

Key words: Early intervention; service delivery; cultural responsiveness.

Abstract: This paper describes the bicultural model of early intervention in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the challenges facing the delivery of effective services. The early intervention system is inclusive of culturally different concepts of development, family, disability, wellbeing, risk, prevention and intervention, as well as Kaupapa Māori and Western science evidence-based practices. Service frameworks emphasise culturally appropriate interactions with children and families. However, challenges to improve services exist. Population growth and increasing prevalence of needs associated with early intervention challenge the existing coverage of services. New needs identification systems are highlighting significant gaps between the number of children likely to require early intervention and the number receiving services. Additional challenges in service delivery, retention of families, and difficulties with supporting children with early intervention needs in early childhood services also require attention. Finally, culturally appropriate services should be replaced by culturally responsive services to improve early intervention for Māori. It is urgent that a review of early intervention be undertaken to determine the best approaches to meet the needs of young children with early intervention needs.

Original Policy Paper

Supporting Participation of Indigenous Families in Early Childhood Education

Elizabeth Corridore
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy,Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 147 – 160.

Key words: Indigenous; Australia; values; indigenous; culture; communities; participation; policy, curriculum, Early Years Learning Framework.

Abstract: This paper examines specific discrepancies between Australian Indigenous communities’ values, beliefs and approaches to education and those of mainstream Australian communities. It includes an analysis of relevant impacts of this mismatch on successful participation by Indigenous children in early childhood education settings. Cultural competency, as described in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and expanded upon by current thinking and learning, predominates as a professional skill required in educating young Indigenous children and communities. The confronting issue of colonisation has impacted on the participation levels of Indigenous families and is deserving of significant space and time for reflection around Western education institutions and what they represent and value.

Original Policy Paper

The Relationship between Early Childhood Education and Care and English Proficiency at School Entry for Bilingual Children in Australia

Meredith O’Connor1,2, Elodie J. O’Connor1, Amanda Kvalsvig1 and Sharon Goldfeld1,2
1. Royal Children’s Hospital, Victoria, Australia
2. University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy,Vol. 17, 2014, pp. 161 – 181.

Key words: Transition to school; bilingual; Australian Early Development Index (AEDI); school entry, ECE participation.

Abstract: Children from diverse language backgrounds who enter school with limited proficiency in English may face additional challenges in negotiating this new context. Hence, it is important to consider what antecedent factors might promote English proficiency at school entry. Engagement with early childhood education and care (ECEC) programmes may be one such factor. Drawing on population-level data from the teacher-rated Australian Early Development Index (n=261,147), this study aims to explore the relationship between ECEC (including pre-school, day-care, and other informal non-parental care) and English proficiency at school entry for Australian children from bilingual backgrounds. The findings reveal that attendance at pre-school (OR=1.53, 95% CI=1.37-1.70) was associated with increased odds of being proficient in English at school entry for bilingual children, whereas attending day-care without a pre-school programme (OR=0.78, 95% CI=0.68-0.89), more informal non-parental care (OR=0.72, 95% CI=0.65-0.80), or parental care only (OR=0.59, 95% CI=0.52-0.67) was associated with decreased odds of proficiency in English at school entry. These findings suggest that engagement with pre-school programmes prior to school entry may well present a plausible and modifiable approach to improving English proficiency at school entry for bilingual children, with important implications for policy and programmes that aim to reduce inequality in skills at school entry.


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