'Early childhood education creating a world' by Professor Linda Mitchell.
We all know that importance of early childhood education but why is that governments and international organisations still have a narrow definition of its purpose and place in our lives?
Early childhood education is increasingly portrayed as providing a service for working parents, and is seen as part of the contribution towards the economic development of a country or rescuing children from disadvantage. In these conceptualisations, children and their families do not feature as voices in their own right – their agency and mana are invisible.
In the fourth of the Hamilton Public Lecture series Associate Professor Linda Mitchell examines this narrow definition and argues that early childhood education can be a site for democratic citizenship and social justice; for social criticism and critical thinking; and taking from the principles and strands of our national curriculum Te Whāriki, for mana –empowerment, agency and possibilities, as all-encompassing values.
Linda will draw on her research in three areas to illustrate messages about these democratic ideals: community connectedness, discussing early childhood development work and research possibilities in Timor Leste; policy, analysing New Zealand’s market approach to early childhood education and the growth of for-profit education and care provision as an Achilles heel in our education policy framing; and pedagogy, drawing on her current research about refugee and immigrant families in early childhood education constructing pathways to belonging.
Linda will ask questions and offer possibilities for reclaiming a rights-based approach and asserting democratic values as a way towards radical alternatives in Aotearoa New Zealand’s early childhood education provision.
About the presenter:
Professor Linda Mitchell has been at the forefront of early childhood education for over 30 years. Director of the Early Years Research Centre and of the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research at the University of Waikato, Linda has led several evaluations of national early childhood policies and has been a strong voice in the development of New Zealand’s strategic plans for ECE.
She is currently leading a Marsden-funded and a TLRI-funded project about how early childhood education can enable refugee and immigrant families to construct positive outcomes for belonging and participating in Aotearoa New Zealand, while sustaining and contributing important cultural aspects from their home country. She is also supporting early childhood development work in Timor Leste.
The Hamilton Public Lecture Series introduces our newest professors to the community and gives them a chance to demonstrate how their work is having a real impact on the world around us.
This 35-minute public lecture is free and open to the public. Complimentary drinks and nibbles will be served at 5.15pm, with the lecture starting at 5.45pm. Free parking is available on campus via Gate2B, Knighton Road, Hamilton.
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