Family and community | Whānau tangata

Sean Dolan New Zealand Tertiary College

Editorial: Vol 7, No 2 - October 2022

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Drawing on one of the principles of Te Whāriki for its inspiration, He Kupu sought contributions that highlighted the connectedness of the Family and Community | Whānau Tangata to the early childhood sector. Testifying to the responsiveness of the early childhood sector to their communities, many of the articles in this issue provide insight into how kaiako are working in authentic partnerships to develop a deep sense of belonging with children and whānau. Encompassing a wide spread of early childhood settings, this issue highlights the significant role of parents and the community to the sector and considers good practices that may further consolidate those relationships.

The first article in the practitioner research section speaks to the development of the local curriculum for the tamariki in two early childhood centres nestled in the foothills of the Waitakere Ranges. Written by Julia Holdom, a lecturer at New Zealand Tertiary College and Chelsea Page, her son’s early childhood teacher, the article provides an organic description of how partnerships created between kaiako and parents foster a local curriculum reflective of the whānau interests, community and land.

The second article in this section from Shu-Yen Law examines a Burmese refugee family’s sense of belonging, and how this relationship developed through their interactions with the kaiako from their children’s early childhood centre. Through the narrative, the author highlights practices employed by the centre to encourage the family’s participation through valuing their heritage language and culture.

Continuing the thread of developing belonging, in the peer-reviewed section, Lesley Rameka, Ruth Ham, Linda Mitchell and Raella Kahuroa examine the role of the pōwhiri, the traditional Māori ceremony of welcome, for refugee families and the significance of this kaupapa (custom) for early childhood education. Through their interviews with kaiako and whānau the authors illustrate how the pōwhiri acts as a catalyst for the refugee families and promotes a sense of belonging.

Elise James and Karyn Aspden report on the experiences of rural parents in Playcentres throughout New Zealand, highlighting common challenges, strengths and opportunities. This exploratory study illustrates the importance of these early childhood services in providing essential networks in rural areas and as places of learning and community bonding.

Parisa Tadi and Amir Sadeghi report back on a quantitative study that aimed to increase fathers’ participation in early childhood settings. An intervention that fostered greater communication and planning between kaiako and parents facilitated greater engagement for fathers in their child’s learning.

In the final article of this edition, Keshni Kumar explores the teaching experiences of Indo-Fijian early childhood teachers and their efforts to become established practitioners. Utilising the Communities of Practice as a theoretical lens, Kumar examines the challenges and affordances experienced by teachers from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD) and suggests how this perspective allows them to act as a broker for families from similar backgrounds.

This issue of He Kupu concludes with three book reviews. Chelsea Bracefield recommends early childhood teachers read Pacific educators speak: Valuing our values by F. Rimoni, A. Glasgow and R. Averill. (2020). Emily Coleman-Hill provides a detailed summary of Supporting positive behaviour in early childhood settings and primary schools: Relationships, reciprocity and reflection by L. O’Toole and N. Hayes. (2019). In the final review, Sina Fowler looks at the tensions and discourse examined in T. Grimmer’s (2021), Developing a loving pedagogy in the early years: How love fits with professional practice.

How to cite this article

Dolan, S. (2022). Family and community | Whānau tangata [Editorial]. He Kupu, 7(2), 1-2.