Multiple Perspectives on Early Childhood Education

Volume 3, Number 1 - June 2012

Editoral

As a multiple perspectives issue, finding a common link (apart from early childhood education) is not easy. However, it may be suggested that a link can be found in policy. At one level, policy can be regarded as no more than a statement of government intent in regard to a particular issue. Thus, policy may show the way or describe the intended course of action, defining what is appropriate in a given set of circumstances.

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Peer-reviewed Papers

Nonsense as a genre of writing is well established in the English literature tradition. Young children’s interest in playing with the aesthetic properties and meaning potentials of language as they master it for everyday use, is also well recognised by parents, teachers, and even by Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (1996). However, these two playful language traditions, and two groups of language practitioners, have not been sufficiently considered in relation to each other. In this article, I attempt to bring them together to demonstrate the strong links between them. Ultimately, I wish to highlight both the sophistication of nonsense language play and the learning value it has for young children. I provide, first, a brief background to nonsense as a genre and a literary tradition. This tradition is then linked to children’s humorous language play. Finally, teachers’ responses to children’s spontaneous play with nonsense language are explored. It is important to point out, however, that this is not a study about how children learn language. My focus is on how children play with the language they are learning.

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This paper explores different perspectives about globalisation and its implications for early childhood education. Globalisation has ushered vast historical change in terms of social relations, culture, politics and education. Globalisation is also responsible for the unprecedented mobilisation of people, drawing them into an economic, social, political and cultural centre. It is thus critical to understand this phenomenon and the transformations it has brought about.

Early childhood educators enrolling in initial teacher education programmes in Aotearoa/New Zealand must learn about theories of education and how to be effective early childhood practitioners. They must also become academically literate students at the same time. How can Web 2.0 tools, such as wikis and blogs, contribute to supporting these students? This article begins by describing who these students are and then defines the skills which they are expected to possess in order to study at tertiary level and meet the Graduating Teacher Standards. Critical reflection on the potential benefits and implications of Web 2.0 use in tertiary education is necessary in order to understand how that technology can be harnessed by students and teacher educators for the development of student academic literacy. The article concludes with an invitation to a Cloudworks discussion on this topic.

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Commentary

This commentary recognises the increased participation of the under two age group of children attending early childhood settings, and considers the impact this has on children, whanau, families, teachers and the wider society in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Research suggests that there is increasing discourse regarding the impact of children attending these environments at such a young age, focussing on health and attachment issues, alongside offering support to disadvantaged and vulnerable children through into adolescence. Many infants spend the majority of their early years in long hours of day care, however, research findings report that parents and caregivers are supported by being able to return back to work and financially support their families. Due to this growth in ECE, Government spending on the early childhood sector is now being closely monitored, and the current National government has established an ECE Taskforce to monitor effectiveness and efficiency of this spending. Missing from this discourse however, is the question of whether it is better for the whole of society if infants should stay at home. Politicians may lead the way by giving parents more freedom of choice in who cares for their infant.

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Deciding on effective leadership strategies when building a sustainable learning organisation can be complex. An organisation must have strategies to support their leaders to develop the skills necessary to produce and maintain sustainable learning in their community. The purpose of this article is to analyse the various ways of developing leadership that is effective and authentic. Two main perspectives are analysed in light of published literature: deciding whether learning from a text, or learning from within our own experiences is the most effective way of leading and sustaining a learning organisation. There is significant literature that focuses on leaders developing from their own experiences and identity rather than learning from a management text or formal management training. Literature is discussed, showing that a mix of experiences and formal learning is an effective leadership development strategy. It is concluded that although it is not possible to decide upon a best practice model of fostering leadership, it is important for authenticity to be shown in a leader’s practice and that distributed leadership models in education are recommended in order to produce a sustainable learning organisation.

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Contributors