The whole child and the whole teacher within the dynamics of the place – here and beyond.
Welcome to the 30th edition of He Kupu, to celebrate this milestone we invited submissions on the theme of The whole child and the whole teacher within the dynamics of the place – here and beyond. The articles in this issue explore the meaning of holism and its role in supporting children’s learning and development. A theme common to many of the articles is the examination of connections, within oneself, to others and to the natural environment. We also include in this issue, a focus on the barriers and support for Pasifika learners and disabled kaiako in early childhood settings.
That early childhood education learning and teaching ought to be holistic in approach seems uncontested. Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early Childhood Curriculum (Te Whāriki) (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2017), like most early childhood curricula, defines holism based on the Aristotelian view that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This paper invites a conversation about the conventional perception of holism and self in early childhood education. Teachers’ beliefs about holism matter, as do how the self is conceptualised in relation to, within, and between me, others, and the Universe, for these are instrumental in how relational connectedness underpins teaching and learning.
Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early Childhood Curriculum (Te Whāriki) (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2017) states that holistic development sees the child as a whole, encompassing all dimensions of children’s learning and development. What holistic development looks like in practice, however, is left open-ended in Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017). It can therefore be difficult for the practitioner to know what holistic development entails and how it can be practiced. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to holistic learning and development, and with this in mind, the authors will explore what holistic development involves and more specifically how it is practised in a range of teaching approaches.
Growing up with ample experiences in nature and forming a strong connection with it left me to assume that all people equally value its influence and impact on the holistic development and wellbeing of children. That is, until I recently started working in tertiary initial teacher education. Coaching student teachers on facilitating learning for children in nature shed new light on these suppositions of mine when some of them did not share my sentiments. Wait, they don’t? This autoethnographic narrative of my personal experience with teaching early childhood student teachers in a nature-based, outdoor learning environment highlights a number of benefits of teaching and learning in and from nature. Literature is analysed within the narrative to review the challenges and some alternative strategies, when not all early childhood education students in the natural outdoor learning environment portrayed equal enjoyment of being in and learning from nature.
Early childhood practitioners in Aotearoa New Zealand are guided by a vision of children as competent and confident learners in the national early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education 2017). This vision reflects an assumption of children’s agency which has been the subject of discussion in early childhood education and childhood studies. In this article, the meaning of children’s agency is discussed through a childhood studies lens. Childhood studies as a discipline and its key tenets in examining knowledge of children and childhood as socially constructed will be briefly introduced. The meaning of children’s agency will be further unpacked through a sociological perspective. Two themes from childhood studies in relation to children’s agency, the relational approach to agency and notions of being and becoming, will be discussed to explore pedagogical possibilities for realising children’s agency in early childhood settings. This article makes practical recommendations for early childhood practitioners to nurture agentic children in a relational way, embracing both notions of being and becoming.
This article explores notions of holism and acknowledges that different cultures and societies have a wide range of beliefs of what holism might be, how it is practiced and how it can be supported. Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 2017) is a holistic curriculum in its own right and yet it is important to acknowledge the cultural differences that shape varying forms of holism when working with children and families. Kaiako in Aotearoa are entrusted with fostering the learning and wellbeing of children from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and their openness to the different forms of holism and wellbeing are required to ensure that all voices are heard and that all families can feel supported. The authors recognise the challenges that particularly beginning hanau might face as they navigate a range of holistic health and wellbeing models that families practice and the commitment they have while taking guidance from Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 2017).
Initial cycles of an action research project brought together local early childhood (ECE) teachers, and tertiary ECE teacher educators, to explore possible uses of the Ōtātara Outdoor Learning Centre (ŌOLC), adjoining the campus at Hawke’s Bay’s Te Aho a Maui Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), Napier, New Zealand. EIT is situated below Ōtātara Pa, a historic site that holds cultural and historical significance for local Māori, specifically Ngati Pārau Hapū and Ngati Kahungunu Iwi. Education in New Zealand is underpinned by commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi), ensuring that the principles; partnership, participation and protection of kaupapa Māori are supported through bicultural curricula. Māori holistic perspectives strengthen this focus and shifting understanding that place-based learning authenticates environmental approaches to education and cultural knowledge. During the first meeting, participants walked the hillside site and shared group discussions. From these conversations, the teachers identified three main themes: establishing connections between children and the physical place, new opportunities for teacher learning and challenges to implementing spontaneous teaching and learning in this unique environment. Future cycles of the research will focus on workshops for teachers to address these themes for teachers’ working with children in the space.
This article investigates barriers to Pasifika learners in a range of educational settings in Aotearoa New Zealand and offers strategies for kaiako to support the Pasifika learners in overcoming these barriers in early childhood settings. This article will also explain and define the term ‘Pasifika’ according to the terminology used in the Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017 (Ministry of Education, 2013). The growing population of young Pasifika learners in educational settings and the disparities between Pasifika learners’ achievement and other ethnic groups is a concern. This article examines the ways that this disparity is being addressed by the New Zealand Government through Ministry of Education policies and documents, and how these can support kaiako in early childhood settings to support Pasifika students to fulfill their potential and achieve academically.
Objective three of Aotearoa New Zealand’s He Taonga te Tamaiti, Every Child a Taonga: Early Learning Action Plan 2019–2029 (Ministry of Education, 2019) is directed towards ensuring a well-qualified, diverse, culturally competent early childhood education (ECE) teaching workforce. The document also outlines actions needed to attract, retain and support diverse kaiako (teachers) in the ECE sector. These actions include “reducing barriers to people with disabilities entering the teaching workforce” (p. 24). Our aim in this article is to advance kōrero (conversation) about the opportunities and challenges associated with applying policy in practice for this group of kaiako (Griffiths et al., 2021, 2022). We do this by documenting Aotearoa New Zealand’s legislative obligations and responsibilities with respect to people with disabilities and examining what these mean for kaiako in training or working in ECE settings. We also look at the rights of disabled kaiako within the context of inclusive and non-discriminatory learning and teaching environments (New Zealand Government, 2019). The article concludes with a call for more research on removing barriers and supporting inclusion for kaiako with disabilities in the early childhood teaching profession.
In Aotearoa New Zealand and globally, anthropogenic climate change and other socio-environmental issues are having a profound and negative impact on natural ecosystems, cultural sites, human communities, and multiple species. These impacts have significant implications for the education of our children and early childhood education, for sustainability offers a hopeful way forward. In this article we suggest that the principles of ecopedagogy hold promise for a holistic form of ECEfS (early childhood education for sustainability) in Aotearoa New Zealand. ECEfS supports the development of sustainability values, dispositions and concepts in young children. The authors demonstrate how these characteristics of ECEfS link well with Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 2017) as a holistic, place-based and relational curriculum. In this paper we use vignettes drawn from our experiences as researchers and educators in ECE as prompts for reflection. The vignettes provide opportunities for teachers to inquiry into their own pedagogical practice and implications for weaving ecopedagogy into the curriculum. In this article we propose a holistic form of ECEfS that is cognisant of the interdependencies between healthy environments, non-human animals and communities.
He atua, he tangata: The world of Māori mythology (2021) is the latest, revised edition of Reed’s Treasury of Māori folklore (1963). The 1963 original is renowned as the first of its kind to document in English the vastness and richness of the Māori world and Māori spiritual/religious belief by compiling different tribal versions of Māori oral tradition into one book.
Geoffrey L. Cohen, a social psychologist and Stanford University professor reminds us that a sense of belonging is as crucial as food and shelter. In his book The science of creating connection and bridging divides, Cohen explains that when people experience division and exclusion, the threat to their sense of belonging triggers a similar response in the brain to physical pain. Exclusion affects our self-esteem and our performance; it can even make us sick. The ability then, to change the effects of belonging insecurity is a powerful skill.
Alice Tate, Barbara Scanlan, Professor Colin Gibbs, Derek Hartley, Donna Williamson-Garner, Edgar Burns, Erin Hall, Fleur Hohaia-Rollinson, Galina Stebletsova, Gillian Postlewaight, Glynis Cooper, Jackie Solomon, Jenny Malcolm, Kayla Charteris, Kerry Purdue, Dr Lynley Tulloch, Maddie Hendrie, Marjolein Whyte, Michelle Andrews, Phoebe Tong, Sina Fowler, Tania Du Plessis, Tanya Shorter, Veronica Griffiths