A new Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato has been established in the Faculty of Education with a focus on education and children aged 0 to 8 years.
The centre will be led by its Director, Professor Margaret Carr, with associate directors Associate Professors Linda Mitchell and Sally Peters.
Professor Carr says the new centre will provide a broad platform of research and focus on three research themes: pedagogy, policy, and community connections.
"It has a social justice agenda and aims to make a difference for young children, families and whānau in Aotearoa New Zealand and to provide cutting edge research of interest to scholars in this country and abroad," she says.
Recent projects by researchers in the centre include museum education with children under five years, evaluation of early childhood in Timor Leste, polyphonic video analysis of the perspectives of babies, the use of i-Pads in early childhood centres, a study of children after an earthquake, and an exploration of documentation strategies in collaboration with kaiako in a kōhanga reo.
Professor Carr says the new centre's research has been translated into Danish, Italian and Japanese, and its launch validates an international reputation already developed through the research and teaching by its staff over the past 20 years.
Establishing Waikato University as a leader
"Through the establishment of this centre we aim to consolidate the reputation of the University of Waikato as one of the most innovative contributors and leaders in the ECCE field," says Professor Carr.
Among the programmes that will come under the umbrella of the new centre is a new four-year international collaboration called 'Pedagogies of Educational Transitions' (POET), a Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) involving five universities: University of Strathclyde, UK; Mälardalen University, Sweden; University of Iceland; Charles Stuart University, Australia ; and the University of Waikato.
The New Zealand team's participation in that programme is supported by funding from the New Zealand Royal Society.
The Early Years Research Centre, He Kōhanga Toi Tangata, will be launched at a cocktail function at 5.30pm on Friday 7 June with a celebratory symposium following on Saturday 8 June and featuring speakers from New Zealand and Australia.