Manukau Institute of Technology
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School of Education Highlights

Early Childhood Research symposium
The 11th MIT Early Childhood Research symposium held in May 2014 showcased staff, student and invited centres who presented their research in early childhood education to the Manukau Institute of Technology community of practice (students, professionals and academics). The theme for this symposium was 'Curriculum and Transformation: the sum of everything we do.'

The invited keynote speaker was Associate Professor Missy Morton, University of Canterbury. The feedback from Associate Professor Missy Morton was very complimentary. She mentioned the quality of the presentations; the fact that graduates came back to present – they had been bitten by the 'research bug'.

Missy picked up on some of the themes that came through the symposium such as the kinds of spaces and relationships that give life to the values that we hold; the need to make time for teachers and children to retreat and reflect; the need for teachers to be confident in letting go of the curriculum so learners can lead; that we must consider testing the unstated assumptions – the sacred things that we do not usually touch.

Missy also reflected on the respectful nature of the research that was presented – that children were not seen as bugs under the microscope to be investigated – that they were seen as participants with rights. She noted that the researchers were open to possibilities and acknowledged that sometimes research moves in unplanned directions. She commented on presenters use of the 'pedagogy of listening' i.e. attending to the research participants rather than listening for something in particular or seeking a predetermined outcome.

Playtruck and Playgroup project
The joint action research initiative between the School and Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association entitled Parents and whānau participation in children's learning- innovative models to promote the value of ECE is now underway with the family survey undertaken by the coordinators completed, and Lila Mauigo-Tekene and Bill Hagan have done staff interviews to complete phase one initial data collection. 

 New Zealand Early Childhood Research Conference 2014
On the 6th March 2014 Bill Hagan, Susie Kung and Rita Huang presented a symposia entitled of How relationships are the mortar that gives meaning to the work that we do as educational researchers.

Susie talked on why early childhood teachers are drawn to teaching. Rita discussed community building between ECE teachers and parents from a diverse culture. Bill concluded with how collaborative relationships can be nurtured with academic researchers and co-researchers/ participants in our community of practice in early year's education.

In Rita Huang's MEd thesis completed in June 2013, she argued that Chinese parents' values and beliefs about a play-based curriculum need to be understood if a more effective partnership between early childhood centres and Chinese immigrant parents is to be developed.  This symposium paper Rita focused on examining and discussing EAC parents' perceptions and expectations of early childhood teachers.  The main issues addressed are the role of the early childhood teacher and some concerns about early childhood teachers from the EAC parents' perspective.  

Cheryl Greenfield cited in new book entitled Exploring Outdoor Play in the Early Years There is a new book out that looks at outdoor play internationally, and Alison Stephenson wrote the New Zealand chapter in it.  She says it was a pleasure to acknowledge all the wonderful work Cheryl has done, and continues to do in this area.  The book is called Exploring Outdoor Play in the Early Years, edited by Trisha Maynard and Jane Waters. 

SAASIA Annual ConferenceOn the 4th and 5th of October, 2013, SAASIA (Sosaiete Aoga Amata Samoa I Aotearoa-Samoan Early Childhood Teachers Association) held their annual conference at AUT Manukau Campus. Lila Mauigoa-Tekene was invited to present a paper on O Pēlega o Fanau-Treasuring Children. She presented a paper on Authentic Talanoaga with Families that reflect the theme of this conference. Her presentation is now on SAASIA's conference proceedings. The full paper will be a chapter for the second series of a text;  O Pelega o Fanau 2: Treasuring Children which is a work in progress.