'Mat weaving' : factors influencing the implementation of Te Whāriki : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education at Massey University

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Massey University
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This study investigates the kinds of professional development delivery appropriate to the early childhood sector in New Zealand. The study centres around 15 educators from kindergarten, childcare, playcentre, and Barnardos family daycare who participated in a professional development programme to assist them to implement the national curriculum document Te Whāriki: Draft Guidelines for Developmentally Appropriate Programmes in Early Childhood Services (Ministry of Education, 1993). The importance of such a study rests in the need for government funding for professional development to be used to benefit all stakeholders. Three delivery models using a consultancy approach to professional development were compared in this study. The delivery models were particular to this study and originated from overseas research and a small amount of anecdotal information about past early childhood professional development methodology in New Zealand. The researcher's knowledge of the diverse needs within the early childhood sector also contributed to the development of the delivery models. The delivery models used for this study were as follows: 1. An in-centre based delivery model consisting of representatives from the same-service-type. Participants were involved in a combination of in-service courses and external support opportunities; 2. An individual based delivery model consisting of representatives from mixed-service-types involving in-service courses only; 3. An individual based delivery model consisting of representatives from mixed-service-types involving participants in a combination of in-service courses and external support opportunities. The study compares the effectiveness of the three delivery models as revealed through the journal recordings of 15 participants, and interviews involving three journal writers. Delivery models with external support were found to be effective however, the study's findings suggest that participant reflection did not always lead to implementation. A model was therefore developed to demonstrate the change process for educators as a consequence of professional development. Particular note was taken regarding the influence of two variables (a) participant qualifications, and (b) service-type, on participants' ability to move through the model sequence and to produce outcomes. In addition to these variables, other variables were also found to have a strong influence. These were: (a) service support; (b) prior knowledge of Te Whāriki; (c) existing systems for observation, planning and evaluation; and (d) participant motivation.
Whāriki, Preschool education, Early childhood education, Curricula, New Zealand