Where have all the children gone? Experiences of children, parents and teachers in a changing early childhood education service
Hawkes, K. F. (2014). Where have all the children gone? Experiences of children, parents and teachers in a changing early childhood education service (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9291
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9291
This study analyses the experiences of children, parents and teachers in a changing early childhood education (ECE) service in New Zealand. This thesis derived from the researcher’s growing awareness of neo-liberal politics and the institutionalisation of children resulting from social, economic and cultural changes. The researcher’s interest in connecting children within ECE services to the local community outside of the ECE service’s gate was also explored. The study revealed experiences and perspectives from children, families and teachers within one independent, community based, not for profit ECE service that recently underwent changes. Drawing from literature, the thesis acknowledges the changes that have taken place within ECE in New Zealand over the past 20 years. The changes identified within the literature are identified within the historical, economic and social context. The changes include marketisation, competition, the increase of hours and days that young children are placed within ECE services and the government support of families to return to work. The study was based on a social constructionist framework that used a qualitative inquiry research methodology. Perspectives and views were gathered from the head teacher, parents and children at the ECE service utilising the Mosaic approach. The methodological tools included semi structured interviews, walking interviews, a diary of outings collated by the head teacher, children’s auto photography and interviews with the children while viewing their learning journals. The collected data was analysed in relation to the study’s social constructionist framework. The patterns and themes that emerged included marketisation, intrinsic and extrinsic pressures on children, parents and teachers, leadership, changes to the operational structure of the service and curriculum experiences for parents, teachers and children. Foundational to the study are the rights of the child and need for children to have their perspective heard. The Mosaic approach to the methodology utilised within the study raises the perspectives and views of the child giving equitable value to their contribution within the study. The outcome of the study is to propose an ideological framework that could assist in ensuring the child is heard within ECE and that the child is represented within all matters affecting them. This ideological framework aspires to be an underpinning framework that is utilised by ECE leaders and teachers when making decisions on all matters relating to children, their families and the ECE service.
University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses