Contributors: Volume 4, Number 2 - October 2015


Beth Blue Swadener is Professor of Justice Studies and Associate Director of the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on internationally comparative social policy, impacts of neoliberal policy on local communities, and children’s rights and voices. She has co-edited and authored 11 books and numerous articles and chapters, and is active in several child advocacy organizations.

Andrea Delaune has been a highly active early childhood teacher and manager since graduating from the Christchurch Teachers’ College in 2001. Currently completing a Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Canterbury (completion date December 2014), Andrea has a passion for increasing the awareness and value accorded to gifted education in the early childhood years. Positioning herself as an advocate for social justice in education, Andrea utilises the theoretical understandings of post-structuralist and post-humanist theory to advocate for equitable educational outcomes for all children in Aotearoa New Zealand. Andrea is an elected Board member of giftEDnz, The Professional Association for Gifted Education.

Dr Laura D’Olimpio is lecturer in Philosophy and Ethics at The University of Notre Dame Australia. Laura completed her PhD The Moral Possibilities of Mass Art at The University of Western Australia. Laura has published in the areas of aesthetics and philosophy and education and regularly contributes to The Conversation and Radio National’s ‘The Philosopher’s Zone’. Laura is President of the Australasian Association for Philosophy in Schools (WA), Inc. and co- editor of the open-access Journal of Philosophy in Schools (

Maxine Dyer is a registered teacher and has a Master’s degree in education from the University of Canterbury. She works as a lecturer at New Zealand Tertiary College and is a part-time PhD student. She has a strong interest in societal and educational inequalities and her thesis explores education, knowledge and inequality in the twenty-first century. Her research is based on critical pedagogy and Utopian educational theory.

Heleine Feki is from the tropical island kingdom of Tonga. She is interested in success for Pasifika students in tertiary education. She has worked in the early childhood field since 2003 and has vast experience from teaching to being an educator/coordinator. She has studied at Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington and currently the University of Auckland.

Sonya Gaches is assistant professor of practice in early childhood education at the University of Arizona. Her research and teaching interests include teacher narratives of their lived classroom experiences, classroom engagements and children’s rights.

Dr Shirley Harris is the Teaching and Curriculum Manager at New Zealand Tertiary College. She is currently a Council Member of the New Zealand Association of Research in Education and co-editor for the Journal of Educational Leadership Policy and Practice. Shirley has extensive experience working across all sectors in the education system, including working as a private educational consultant and contract researcher in community-based projects at both local and national levels. Her research interests include leadership, mentoring, change management, pedagogy, and research methodologies.

Kaye Kara has been a lecturer at New Zealand Tertiary College in Christchurch for three years. She has a Masters of Education from Canterbury University. Trained as a primary teacher, she has been involved in adult learning, in particular with preservice trainees in both primary and early childhood, since 2003. Her research interests include mentoring, leadership, assessment, history and philosophy of education, politics of education, and intercultural pedagogy.

Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Ngati Porou me Te Whanau-a-Apanui nga iwi
Ko Ra Keelan toku ingoa
Tena tatou katoa

Ra Keelan continues to lecture and assess within early childhood education for New Zealand Tertiary College, and is primarily involved in supporting student teachers in the areas of Te Ao Māori, bicultural and multicultural development, and field practice. His current research interest focuses on unpacking Maori mythology in relation to developmental domains as a means to advocate for the inclusion of more indigenous knowledge in teacher training programmes.

Rebecca Kendall graduated with a Bachelor in Teaching (ECE) from New Zealand Tertiary College in early 2015. She is passionate about working with children and has worked in early childhood education for the past three years. Her interests include language and culture and she enjoyed exploring the importance of these within early childhood toward the end of her studies. She has also recently completed her TEFL certificate to further develop her practice in the areas of language and culture.

Sara Murray worked in both the advertising and IT industries before beginning her career in early childhood education, and completed her Master’s thesis on the spontaneous prosocial behavior of young children. She qualified as an early childhood teacher after having her own family. She worked in the kindergarten sector as both a teacher and head teacher for a number of years, before returning to her love of research and teaching adults. Over her teaching career she has developed a particular interest in the experiences of culturally-diverse early childhood students while in training, and is currently researching what constitutes a successful practicum for Asian-born students for her doctoral qualification. Sara's research interests lie around inclusive education, cultural awareness, diversity and practicum. She is a member of NZARE, and is one of the co-conveners of the ECE Special Interest Group. She currently works as a lecturer in the degree and postgraduate early childhood education programmes at New Zealand Tertiary College in Christchurch.

Anna Niles is a lecturer at New Zealand Tertiary College, based at the Christchurch Campus. She has been working with New Zealand Tertiary College for the last five years, supporting and mentoring students. She is working toward a Master’s in Education from the University of Canterbury. Her research interests include assessment and curriculum. This article reports on initial findings from her Master’s thesis and looks at some of the practical ways teachers are assessing children's learning within early childhood settings.

After having spent fifteen years exploring Africa, Olivia Paul now lives and works in Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. She volunteered in her children's kindergarten and primary classrooms before being offered a job as an Education Support Worker with the Ministry of Education, Special Education. During her two years in this role, she was privileged to be able to work in many different early childhood settings alongside some truly wonderful children and professionals. She became passionate about inclusion in education and decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) degree with NZTC as the first step on a new career path. She was offered a job in a local centre and has worked as a full time student teacher with Pukekos Educare for the duration of her study, which she has just completed. She is interested and intends to specialise in Early Intervention.

Lacey Peters is assistant professor in early childhood education in the School of Education at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her scholarship aims to promote the voices and perspectives of members of the early childhood community that are often excluded from discourses on policy and practice, particularly those of children.

Ko Tararua te Maunga, Ko Ohau te Awa, Ko Tanui te Waka, Ko Ngāti Raukawa me Ngāti Tukorehe ngā iwi, Ko Tukorehe te marae. Dr Lesley Rameka’s early childhood experience began as a mother te kōhanga reo (early years language nest). This was the beginning of her academic journey as a teacher, researcher and academic. She works at the University of Waikato teaching in the early childhood and Māori mediums. She has previously worked at Victoria University of Wellington, Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa, New Zealand Childcare and Early Childhood Development. In previous research she has focused on Kaupapa Māori (Māori philosophy/worldview) assessment in early childhood education. This work involved working with kōhanga reo and Māori early childhood services to develop Māori understandings, framings and exemplars of assessment. Her current research interests also include Kaupapa Māori/Polynesian infant and toddler provision, early childhood curriculum implementation and pedagogy.

Louise Tapper is the current Chair of giftEDnz, The Professional Association for Gifted Education, which supports professionals who work with gifted and talented students in schools and centres in Aotearoa New Zealand. She has had almost two decades of experience as a parent, a teacher, a researcher and a parent and teacher educator in the gifted education area. She worked previously as a teaching assistant and lecturer at the University of Canterbury, across a range of education courses. In 2014 Louise completed her PhD through the University of Canterbury in the area of gifted education, looking at the experiences of school in New Zealand for a group of gifted and talented adolescents, and in particular their understandings about achievement and underachievement. Currently, she works as both an independent researcher and as a contracted researcher for The Collaborative for Research and Training in Youth Health and Development, in community-based youth related projects in Canterbury.

Christoph Teschers is Senior Lecturer at New Zealand Tertiary College. He studied education, psychology and philosophy at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany, followed by a PhD in philosophy of education at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His scholarship focus is on well-being, the art of living, positive psychology, philosophy for children, and educational philosophy applied to teaching practice. He is co-editor of He Kupu and member of the Editorial Development Group of Educational Philosophy and Theory.

Trish Thomas has a background of teaching in the Aotearoa/New Zealand early childhood sector, followed by 17 years in early childhood teacher education with New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC). She is currently Senior Lecturer at the College. Trish’s teaching experience and professional interests include culturally responsive early childhood education, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Tiriti-based practice, child and family advocacy and mathematics.