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Te Whatu Kakahu: Assessment in Kaupapa Maori Early Childhood Practice

Through the exploration of Kaupapa Māori assessment approaches, I examine the reclaiming and reframing of Māori ways of knowing and being within early childhood practice. Assessment is the vehicle for reclaiming and reframing while Kaupapa Māori theory is the fuel that ignites and drives the vehicle. The effects of successive education policies remain today with Māori children, and their families continuing to disengage from education and consistently receiving disproportionately lower outcomes, opportunities and benefits. Reclaiming and reframing Māori ways of knowing and being within early childhood assessment thinking and practice is a means of addressing the cultural and educational disparities faced by Māori children within an education system that upholds western cultural and educational superiority, privilege and truths. Key questions in this process of reclaiming and reframing are: Who has the power to define? Whose truths are being reflected and how are these truths constructed? The metaphor of whatu kākahu or weaving of clothing has been used to frame this thesis. The process has involved weaving the Kaupapa Māori theory elements of conscientisation, resistance, transformative praxis and Māori ways of knowing and being, across and within historical, cultural and educational paradigms and understandings, to fashion assessment kākahu that afford comfort, warmth and flexibility in a contemporary early childhood context. This research case studies the progress of three Māori early childhood services and kōhanga reo towards the development of Kaupapa Māori early childhood assessment understandings and framings (kākahu), that reflect their particular ways of knowing and being, context and aspirations for children. This thesis has been about their assessment journeys. These journeys are a work in progress and that work continues. A qualitative, Kaupapa Māori research methodology was used to gather, collate and analyse data in this research. In accordance with Kaupapa Māori research aspirations and expectations, this research focuses on areas of importance and concern for Māori, and involved retrieving space for Māori voices to be heard. This research can be seen as a means of privileging Māori approaches, perspectives and ways of knowing and being in early childhood assessment practice. Kaupapa Māori assessment is an important agenda for early childhood. It builds upon Māori philosophical and epistemological understandings that express Māori ways of knowing and being. Kaupapa Māori assessment is able to contribute significantly to children’s learning and potential growth and is an important tool in constructing educational outcomes for Māori children. It is therefore an important agenda for early childhood.
Type of thesis
Rameka, L. K. (2012). Te Whatu Kakahu: Assessment in Kaupapa Maori Early Childhood Practice (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6597
University of Waikato
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