Early Childhood Education Symposium - June 2014

Even the smallest of birds, the rearea, can make it to the highest branch of the kahikatea

What fabulous weekend-long celebration of all things ECE!  With a huge selection of workshops, great keynotes speakers, networking opportunites, plus the chance to experience either the Kingitanga Trail or visit select settings in the Hamilton area.

Keynote Presentations

Ngā Tapuwae - The Pedagogy of Reggio Emilia Through a Māori Lens

Brenda Soutar (Mana Tamariki) and Te Hemara Rauhihi (investigative reporter and director for TVNZ)

This presentation considers the pedagogy of Reggio Emilia within a Māori cultural context and makes historical connections to the inspirational story of the C Company, 28 Māori Battalion. Ngā tapuwae - Footprints, reflects on the journeys of those gone before and how their journeys impact the present. We are leaving our own footprints everyday, markers that will indicate to future generations the hopes and aspirations we have for them.

You can find out more about Brenda and Te Hemara here.

Connecting with People, Places and Things Through our Te Whāriki Curriculum.

Vanessa Paki (Faculty of Education, University of Waikato)

This presentation explores the four principles of Whakamana (empowerment), Kotahitanga (holistic development), Whānau Tangata (family and community), and Ngā Hononga (relationships) embedded in Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1996).  Fundamental to Te Whāriki is the interaction of how each principle forms the foundations to weaving a curriculum that is created by the people - for the people. 

Vanessa has a particular interest in the relationship between philosophy and theory where she will discuss how these four principles continue to reveal important understandings for teaching and learning.  Exploring both a Māori and critical perspective this presentation will then discuss and reflect on the implications of these principles for weaving effective and inclusive practices around language, culture and identity.

You can find out more about Vanessa here.


Savouring the Moment: Living Te Whāriki

Wendy Lee (Director, Educational Leadership Project, Ltd)

As Carl Honore states, these days our culture teaches us that faster is better. The ‘slow movement’ is not about doing everything at a snails pace; it challenges us to question the view that fast is better!  To savour the time we have with children rather than to race through a programme, to enable children to explore, investigate, create, question so we can support them to learn how to learn and to develop a love of learning.  These notions are deeply embedded in Te Whāriki, a vision that shapes aspirations for children – that of their being “competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society” (Te Whāriki, p. 9).  As adults in ECE settings to engage with issues considering is ‘our mind full or mindful’? Guy Claxton challenges us to consider a different vision of the mind ‘in which ambiguity, paradox and the tinkering towards the truth that characterises the child’s mind are the path to wisdom’.  To consider what we might do to value our intuition, to improve our working lives, to make them more rewarding and productive so that we have a richer and fuller life.

You can find out more about Wendy here.






From Principle to Practice: Te Whāriki, an Inspired Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers

Facilitated by Lorraine Sands

We start from Te Whāiki Principles where learning is Empowering, Holistic and embedded in Family and Community Relationships.  By ourselves and inside our teams are we relentlessly building learning cultures that enable infants and toddlers to follow their energies, passions and spirit?  Do we have competence, judgement, insight and inspiration, and the capacity for improvisation as we strive to make a difference in children’s learning lives?  Most importantly how do we know?  This workshop explores the role self review has in building teams that are committed, collegial, thoughtful, and wise and offers practical, smart ways to embed self review into our daily practice through truly understanding Te Whāriki Principles in action.

Learn more about Lorraine here.


iPad Pedagogy - We Are Who We Teach

Facilitated by Kathryn Delany

In this workshop we will explore how teachers support learning through intentional engagement with technology such as iPads and tablets in the spirit of the principles of Te Whāriki.  We will look at the possibility of avoiding viewing this technology as an undesirable ‘plug in drug’ or a tool to drill in shallow literacy or numeracy skills. What might the pedagogy of iPads and technology look like?

Learn more about Kathryn here.


Whānau Transformation Through Education

Facilitated by Traci Ani Tuheke, Hinemoa Pohatu and Carol Palmer

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa ki Tainui Early Learning Centres present how New Zealand’s largest tertiary provider’s mission for “whānau transformation though education” starts from the early years in our puna wānanga.

Learn more about the Traci Ani, Hinemoa and Carol here.


Never Give Up

Facilitated by Stephen Bird

Are there any barriers in your life that hold you back?  Is there anything that encourages you to strive even further than before? Life can feel like a rollercoaster and can be challenging during difficult times.  Living with a disability known as Cerebral Palsy has given me the drive to overcome different obstacles and challenges while saying YES to opportunities to help fulfil my goals and work towards my dreams. During this presentation I will share my personal and early childhood education career journey, including what it is like working in early childhood as a male and as a Pakeha working within a centre that strongly fosters ahuatanga Māori. If you can dream it; you can achieve it.  I believe it is about your attitude, attitude, attitude!!!

Learn more about Stephen here.


Organic Teaching and Learning in a Community-based Setting

Facilitated by Michelle Flower, Daryl Phillips and Briar Heskette

In this presentation Michelle, Daryl and Briar will share a planning story that has been written by the Lintott teaching team.  It all started with reflections on strengthening relationships with children, whanau and community.  We decided as a team to reach out to the community to make connections.   A team car rally lead our teachers out to connect with local business to see if there was a way that materials that would normally be thrown away could be collected and used by children in play.  This journey has challenged us to reflect on what learning and teaching looks like in our place.

Learn more about Michelle, Daryl and Briar here.


Do You Know Me?  Do Teacher Attitudes Towards Gaming Influence Learning?

Facilitated by Carol Marks

“Sooner or later, those who grew up without video games will have to understand the gamers.” (Carstens, A & Beck, J., 2005, p 22).   Do we create an environment where the use of ICT is controlled in ways that are meaningful to teachers but is limiting for children?  Within early childhood, people have strong and emotive views about the values of gaming.  Many teachers see little value in gaming or else make sure the games fit into what they see as appropriate learning.  Te Whāriki is a socio-cultural document and gaming offers opportunities for learners to take turns at being leaders and to build relationships.

Learn more about Carol here.


Documentation as a Form of Listening: Sharing Stories of Listening and Learning

Facilitated by Helen Aitken, Lesley Pohio and Bronwen Stevenson

This workshop presentation will draw on the notion of documentation as a form of listening to children.  It is also our aim to provoke thinking and discussion in relation to the ‘pedagogy of listening’ and documenting children’s learning (and teacher reflection) more effectively.
The workshop will include opportunities to view and discuss some of the large Pedagogical Documentation panels produced by REANZ (in collaboration with five centres).  Bronwyn and Lesley will present the stories behind some of this documentation – including insights, explanations and reflections of the learning and documentation process.

Learn more about Helen, Lesley and Bronwen here.


Getting the Balance - Te Whāriki in Action

Facilitated by Karen Ramsey

In the fast pace world we live in, we are interested in finding a balance between nature and technology.  This workshop will explore how the principles of Te Whāriki look in action, from providing risk and challenge in the natural world to integrating the use of iPads as a multimodal literacy tool.  Learning Stories will be shared, making visible the learning outcomes for our community of learners.

Learn more about Karen here.


Uru Taiao (Into the Realms of Nature) - Matapihi Kindergarten

Facilitated by Anglea Kimber and Lindy Moir

We believe that when children are given ample opportunity to love and connect with nature they become motivated to care for and begin to take responsibility for our natural world and all living things.  During our nature education programme we are seeing children expressing respect for each other and the environment, directing their own learning and becoming confident and competent explorers of their world.  By sharing our experiences and observations we hope to encourage you as teachers, parents and adults to enter the realms of nature with children and celebrate our innate connection with this natural world.

Learn more about Angela and Lindy here.


Cultivating Teacher Presence

Facilitated by Kathryn Delany

Being present is not as easy as you might think!  How often have you arrived somewhere and suddenly realised that you have very little recollection of the journey?  Or maybe you reach for that cup of tea only to discover you have already drunk it?  Where were you?  In this workshop, we will explore growing presence, mindfulness and intention in our teaching and lives.

Learn more about Kathryn here.


Building Culture and Language Through Meaningful Learning Experiences and Learning Story Documentation in a Samoan A'oga Amata Setting

Facilitated by the Samoa Taumafai A'oga Amata team

In this workshop, we have reflected on our Learning Story writing journey and we will share our experiences. This has enabled us to think more reflectively about children’s learning and about our own teaching. We are proud to share some of our learning stories celebrating our culture and traditions as they weave into our everyday practice here at Samoa Taumafai.

Learn more about the Samoa Taumafai team here.


Ephermeral Art - A Practical Workshop

Facilitated by Marianne MacPherson and Lynn Rupe

Ephemeral art requires us to pay attention to the small and beautiful moments that unfold in life, celebrating the everyday.  A workshop looking at art made with materials that are at hand and can be resourced from the environment the art is created in.  Thinking about ways that children can have the opportunity to explore their community, choose their materials and create in ways that are meaningful for them.  This is Te Whāriki's exploration woven through art experiences.  This workshop will be an opportunity for both inspirational reflection and practical exploration.

Learn more about Marianne and Lynn here.


Exploring Te Whatu Pōkeka

Facilitated by Tania Bullick

This workshop looks at the metaphors and ideas of the kaupapa Māori document Te Whatu Pōkeka for mainstream teachers who are just beginning to explore this document.  Te Whatu Pōkeka requires us to view children and their learning from a perspective that is rich with potential to enrich pedagogy, curriculum and assessment.  Taken from the perspective of a mainstream teacher on a journey of bicultural development, participants will go away with a beginning understanding of the assessment framework but even more questions to explore on their own journey of bicultural development.

Learn more about Tania here.


Hey!  Where Are All the Kids Then?

Facilitated by Sara and Simon Archard

Insoll Children and Families play group emerged from a previous play group and research involving a refugee community.  The current playgroup is teacher led and held once a week for children 0-5 years and their families where English is an additional language.  The ethnic and cultural identities of the current participants include Japanese, South Korean, Chinese and New Zealander.  This workshop will talk about the development of the play group, some practices and routines and reflections/impressions of the group by parents and the co-ordinators.  Of particular note will be the sharing of some aspirations of parents for their children and what this group provides for them and their children.  The session will also consider the sustainability of this play group and where professional development and research might have a place.

Learn more about Sara and Simon here.


Sustainability and Environmental Possibilities: Thinking Through Some of the Issues to Become More Sustainable - A Practical Workshop

Facilitated by Donya Feci and Kerry Neas

Education for sustainability has been building momentum in Early childhood.  In this workshop we will look at why it’s important, looking through 3 lenses, identity, culture of care and language.  It will be an interactive workshop where ideas and resources are shared.

Learn more about Donna and Kerry here.


Toku Reo, Toku Ohooho - My Language, My Awakening

Facilitated by Lynn Rupe

This workshop looks at the importance of building resilience through the acknowledgement of language, culture and identity being deeply understood.  Often we have a single story of cultures, a story made up of assumptions and preconceived ideas. Participants are invited to think about societal prejudices toward various cultures - particularly the systemic prejudice toward Māori culture.  The workshop asks the question - if we are treating all children the same are the outcomes equal?  A question for the future of education is whose view of what success and knowledge should we be aspiring to?  Are we aspiring to teach using the Te Whāriki principles through  teaching and learning that acknowledges well-being is tied to culture?

Learn more about Lynn here.



Facilitated by Rukshat Singh, Jayde Colby and Jenni Potter

The team at Kids to Five Bader Street have been using Story Park's e-portfolio system for 9 months.  Jayde Colby (Head Teacher) and Rukshat Singh (centre manager) will speak about the journey so far; from setting it up with their 70+ whānau and getting staff on board to opening up ICT to children.  They will share with you the examples of their photos, videos, assessment and the reciprocal communication between whānau and the centre, with the positive impact to children's learning, care and education.

The Curious Cubs team will share their journey with Educa -  Have you thought about using e-portfolios?  We have been using Educa for a year now at Curious Cubs and can’t believe the positive benefits and feedback we are receiving from parents and whānau.  I will show you how easy it is and some of the tricks we have learnt to make writing and uploading learning stories, videos, and newsletters –even policy review.  This will be a workshop on the "how to's" of Educa.

Learn more about Rukshat, Jayde and Jenni here.


Opening Up A Can of Worms - Transition to School Programmes and Strengthening Parent Partnership in Full Day Centres

Facilitated by the Glenview Kindergarten team and Rick Fourie

We will take you into our (often heated) team debate of implementing a 4 year old programme that maintains the integrity of our early childhood philosophy and curriculum.  The battle between what parents want and what we know as best practice for transitioning to school.  You will hear from a teacher who was against the ‘programme’; a whānau perspective; the Manager who will discuss the financial pros and cons; and the Assistant Manager who had to pull it all together. 

The second part of the workshop will be on strengthening parent partnership in full day centres.  Often full-day early childhood centres find it difficult to have strong parent partnerships.  Parents may be working full time and time is very limited.  Come along and hear about how Creators Christian Childcare Centre have set up a Parent Committee to strengthen parent partnership and the way it has enabled parents to have a strong voice in the vision, governance and culture of the centre.  It has given staff an effective structure to gain valuable feedback about our programmes, and has led to the development of a stronger community for whānau who are a part of the centre.

Learn more about the Glenview Kindy team and Rick here.


Puraakau Māori (Māori traditional stories) Driving Assessment

Facilitated by Jenelle Pearce and Rina Greaves

Since it’s opening 4 years ago Maungaarangi Kindergarten and Whanau Centre has implemented an assessment framework that uses purakau Maori as a tool for growing authentic connections between people and places, and things. Purakau Maori assists us to engage with the history of Aotearoa/New Zealand and the unique cultural heritage of our country.  We also localise the curriculum with purakau Maori that are specific to our particular community and whanau. Whaea Rina Greaves and Whaea Jenelle Pearce will explain the assessment process, and give examples of how learning stories are used to reflect the purakau Maori.  They will also discuss the benefits of using this system, some of the challenges that have arose, and the direction forward with researching children’s individual whakapapa.

Learn more about the Jenelle and Rina here.


It's called LOVE...Actually

Facilitated by Tania Bullick

Our youngest consumers of early childhood education, babies up to two years old, deserve teachers committed to their every need - physically, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually.  This workshop explores the the brain development research of recent years that establishes very clear guidelines for how teachers relate with babies.  Te Whatu Pōkeka supports and extends on the brain development research by introducing us to traditional Te Ao Māori that 21st century science is catching up with.

Learn more about Tania here.


Dancing Stories to Life

Facilitated by Clare Battersby (aka Fairy Clare)

In this workshop, we will bring the language of dance to life.  Stories will begin and end through movement.  Imaginations will be awakened and enlivened.  Our body, mind and spirit are ignited when we explore the Arts together.  Just as with opening a book, let's open our creativity, travel through the pages of possibilities, and punctuate the moments of magic!

Story and dance are forms of communication and a means of connecting with others in a unique way.  Like a good book, dance has a beginning, middle and end; it has a shape, rhythm and flow.  Dance has light and shade; it weaves its own story.  Dance helps our minds and imaginations to journey into the known and unknown.

Join Clare in opening this book together and creating some inspiring  dancing stories to develop with the children you love to be with.

Please wear comfortable clothing if you are attending this workshop.

Learn more about Clare here.
















Angela Kimber

I began my teaching career in 1997 after having a family and developing a strong interest in the learning that takes place in early childhood.  My friend opened a centre in Raglan and asked me to work with her and I quickly became hooked and did my training as a ‘mature student.’  Setting up a centre in the country was a dream for a while and when after much searching we finally found the perfect place Matapihi Kindergarten became a reality 5 years ago.  It is awesome to be able to share such a special environment with our children and immerse ourselves in nature every day.

Brenda Soutar

Brenda Soutar has been interested in the Reggio educational experience since 1999 when she had the opportunity to visit Reggio Emilia following the C Company Māori Battalion tour of Italy.  Reggio is one of several inspirational approaches that has stretched Brenda’s thinking in relation to her role as pedagogical leader in the Māori language immersion setting where she works (Mana Tamariki).  Brenda is a strong advocate that all children in Aotearoa New Zealand have the right to a high-quality educational experience that reflects the cultural context of this country.  She believes that the Reggio experience is a fine example of what can be achieved when communities are assisted to define and implement their own progressive thinking about children.  This requires proper resourcing which in Reggio has seen a strong commitment to research and experimentation develop over decades, a commitment underpinned by high-quality professional development.

Briar Heskett

The Lintott teaching team have been doing professional development through the Educational Leadership Project for a number of years.  Writing great Learning Stories has grown our teaching practices from year to year.  Between the three of us we have 26 years teaching experience at Lintotts.  Our early childhood journeys have been diverse with backgrounds in Playcentre, a degree in Visual Arts, and the school of hard knocks.  We enjoy the creative environment at Lintotts, where relationships with children and their families are pivotal to learning and teachers are passionate about a programme that is child led (taking us on many unexpected learning journeys!).

Bronwen Stevenson

Bronwen has been teaching in early childhood sector for many years, having trained initially as a primary teacher and then retraining in ECE.  She is a senior teacher at Tots Corner in Auckland and is actively engaged in action research and exploring the implications of the principles and values that underpin the Reggio Emilia approach.

Bronwen was involved with the children whose stories are shared in several of the pedagogical documentation panels and will share the way in which ‘listening with our eyes’ has enabled the teachers to critically reflect on the multiple ways we can interpret children's actions.

Carol Marks

Carol Marks is currently working for ELP and has been using ICT to strengthen children’s learning since 2001.  In recent years Carol has become interested in gaming as a literacy practice to strengthen learning in ways that are meaningful to children, that can foster imaginations and creativity.  An opportunity to question our beliefs and stretch our thinking around gaming for young children.

Carol Palmer

Ko Ruawhero te tohunga

Ko Ngati Whawhakia rāua Ko Te Ngaungau ōku hapū

Ko Te Kauri tōku, ko Pouakani ko Papawai rāua ko Teoreore ōku marae

Ko Kaaro Harikona rawa ko Te Mako Wharemahihi ōku Tupuna

Ko Carol Kaaro Palmer tōku ingoa

No neira tēna koutou katoa.


Currently my mahi is with Te Wānanga o Aōtearoa and I am in a supporting role with the 3 Tainui centres.  I have worked across the early childhood landscape in various roles throughout the past 30+ years.

When I stop to think about the time, it doesn’t seem to have been that many years… to busy having fun to notice smiley.  

My passion is early childhood education and in particular a focus and commitment to transformation through education for Māori.               

Clare Battersby (Fairy Clare)

Clare Battersby (aka Fairy Clare) is known across New Zealand for her work teaching and celebrating children.  She is a qualified dancer and early childhood teacher with a Graduate Diploma in Movement and dance from the University of Melbourne.

Fairy Clare emerged as part of her teaching in Melbourne Botanic gardens from which she developed shows for and with children about the stories of the nature.  These shows have been performed in Botanic gardens around the world.

Recently she presented at Tui Tuia ONZA International Conference at Waikato University.  This was followed by presenting at the Early Childhood Conference of Performing Arts Melbourne.  She previously lectured in movement, dance  and P.E at the Auckland College of Education and today continues to encourage teachers to bring the Arts alive in their daily work with children.

Daryl Phillips

The Lintott teaching team have been doing professional development through the Educational Leadership Project for a number of years.  Writing great Learning Stories has grown our teaching practices from year to year.  Between the three of us we have 26 years teaching experience at Lintotts.  Our early childhood journeys have been diverse with backgrounds in Playcentre, a degree in Visual Arts, and the school of hard knocks.  We enjoy the creative environment at Lintotts, where relationships with children and their families are pivotal to learning and teachers are passionate about a programme that is child led (taking us on many unexpected learning journeys!).

Donya Feci

Donya has been teaching children for over 14 years in varying capacities.  She has been an Early Childhood Teacher at Papamoa Free Kindergarten for 5 years, a kindergarten that was well on the sustainability journey at that time.

"I have had the pleasure of being a part of the transformation of our environment into a children's sanctuary, displaying the principles of education for sustainability in practical and fun ways (water harvesting/chickens/gardens/seed saving/composting/waste minimization and sharing and making kai from our immediate and wider community).  For two years I have been an Enviroschools Facilitator for Tauranga Kindergarten Association.

My interests and passions are:

  • food security/ heritage seeds/ whakapapa
  • making healthy soil / composting /seed raising
  • seed saving
  • rongoa rakau/Māori medicine"

Helen Aitken

Helen Aitken is a trustee of Reggio Emilia Aotearoa New Zealand (REANZ).  Helen was born and educated in Hamilton and  is currently employed as a Senior Lecturer in the Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) at Unitec in Auckland -  in this role she enjoys supporting student teachers to re-examine their own views of children, learning & teaching, including their resulting documentation.
Helen has been interested and inspired by things Reggio since 2001 and in particular how ECE teachers and centres in Aotearoa can be inspired and challenged in ways which ‘fit’ with our own cultural context and curriculum.

Hinemoa Pohatu

Ko Takitimu te waka
Ko Mauao te maunga
Ko Pirirakau te hapū
Ko Ngatiranginui me Te Rarawa ngā iwi
Ko Hinemoa Pohatu taku ingoa

My journey in early childhood began 20+ years ago and in 2007, I was introduced to my first leadership role when I joined the team at Apakura Te Kākano, as a Team Leader.
In 2010, I became the Centre Manager which I believe has strengthened my strong passion and understanding of the importance in becoming a strategic leader to support positive transformations through education.

Jayde Colby

Jayde is a qualified registered teacher and she leads the over two’s team at Kids to Five Bader Street.  The Kids to Five Bader team is made up of passionate and hardworking teachers who believe in Kidicorp’s vision of ‘working in partnership with teachers and parents, enabling children to reach their learning potential.'

Jenelle Pearce

Teaching at Maungaarangi Kindergarten, for the past three years, has for me, initiated the process of awakening my own wairua.  My cultural identity has previously been shaped almost entirely by a colonialist view of our country, though somehow I have always believed, that as Pākehā, we are enriched as we grow an appreciation of the land to which our peoples have come, and as such grow a respect for tangata whenua as the indigenous proprietors and guardians of the land that we live.  With no claim to Māori tikanga myself, apart from a love of this precious culture and an understanding that growing identity is linked to knowing ones own history and cultural background, I find myself strangely comforted, and often spiritually in awe, of the kaupapa  surrounding much of the Māori culture that I have come to know over these recent few years.

Jenni Potter and the Curious Cubs team

Curious Cubs is managed and led by the Centre Owner Jenni Potter.  Jenni is a qualified and registered teacher with many years experience in a variety of early childhood education settings.  The Curious Cubs team are all qualified teachers or teachers in their 3rd year of training.  Assistant Manager Debbie Redhead, Rochelle Standing, Jay Fowles and Michelle Ward make up the Under 2’s team.  Michelle Hunt, Caitlin Spear, Aisha-Leigh Richards-Liley with support from the centre cook/teacher Jodie Joyce make up the Over twos team.  Curious Cubs provides an intimate family like environment with family relationships being nurtured and respected.  Curious Cubs is committed to providing high quality child care and education in a learning environment that stimulates and provokes children to investigate, nurturing their natural curiosity.

Karen Ramsey

Karen Ramsey is the Head Teacher at Roskill South Kindergarten and has been apart of this learning community since July 1997.  In 2000, Karen participated in the Education Leadership Project professional development programme.  The discovery of Learning Stories transformed Karen’s teaching and learning practices.  This ignited her interest and passion for documenting children’s learning and her vision for the use of ICT began.  Karen went onto lead the Roskill South Kindergarten Centre of Innovation Project (2003-2006).  The Roskill South Kindergarten community has generously shared their stories with many and Karen has disseminated and inspired teachers throughout New Zealand and beyond.

Kathryn Delany

Kathryn Delany is an early childhood teacher with a background in Playcentre, Childcare and Kindergarten who has been a  Project Facilitator with the Educational Leadership Project for over 8 years.  She passionate about providing our tamariki with high quality education and experiences in early childhood education.

Kerry Neas

I have been teaching for 9 years interspersed with travel and having a son.  I have been in my current position as teacher for 5 years, 2 of which I have been an Enviroschools facilitator.  My passion for sustainability began from a love of nature as a child.  Not the bush or forest necessarily but the freedom to explore and discover without boundaries and the role animals played in my childhood.  I love learning alongside children and discovering natures wonders together.

Lesley Pohio

Lesley Pohio is a trustee of Reggio Emilia Aotearoa New Zealand (REANZ).  Lesley teaches in the tertiary education sector after many years in the early education context (kindergarten and care and education settings). Lesley has been provoked by the pedagogy of Reggio Emilia, particularly in light of how young children make their thinking visible through many different ‘languages’. The notion of the environment as the third teacher is also of interest and specially as Malaguzzi claims “the environment is like an aquarium, mirroring and reflecting the values and beliefs of the people who inhabit it”.

Lindy Moir

I am Australian and have been teaching in early childhood in NZ for well over 30 years.  During this time I have experienced many learning environments that have been challenging and fulfilling, but none as inspiring as where I am currently teaching at Matapihi Kindergarten.  The nature connection feeds the soul and to see the children go home soaking in the goodness from the day is very gratifying.

Lorraine Sands

Lorraine Sands is a facilitator for Educational Leadership Project working alongside teachers across New Zealand as they explore learning and teaching initiatives in their own settings.  Lorraine has written journal articles focused on innovative teaching and learning, risk and challenge, infant and toddler environments and has had many opportunities to speak at Conferences and workshops in New Zealand and Europe.  She has worked at Greerton Early Childhood Centre inside a shared leadership environment and been involved in a number of research projects with the Greerton team, including  a Ministry of Education Centre of Innovation (2006-2008) research investigation about enquiry learning.

Lynn Rupe

Inspired by personal circumstances has meant that Lynn can passionately talk about building resilience in children and lifelong outcomes.  Lynn has worked as a teacher and kaitiaki of a centre for six years prior to starting with ELP where the outcomes of wise practice regarding language, culture and identity were evident through children having an innate sense of tino rangatiratanga and mana.  She draws on life experience and research to take a very reflective look at equity and equality.

Marianne MacPherson

Marianne has a Bachelor of Teaching (Auckland University) and has been teaching in Auckland for the past 18 years, most recently for the past 8 years at Pigeon Mountain Kindergarten before joining the ELP team last year.

Michelle Flower

The Lintott teaching team have been doing professional development through the Educational Leadership Project for a number of years.  Writing great Learning Stories has grown our teaching practices from year to year.  Between the three of us we have 26 years teaching experience at Lintotts.  Our early childhood journeys have been diverse with backgrounds in Playcentre, a degree in Visual Arts, and the school of hard knocks.  We enjoy the creative environment at Lintotts, where relationships with children and their families are pivotal to learning and teachers are passionate about a programme that is child led (taking us on many unexpected learning journeys!).

Rick Fourie

Rick is the founder and Managing Director of Creators Educational Trust. Together with a great team, he has established Creators Christian Childcare Centre and Creators @ Home, a home-based childcare service. Rick is passionate about excellence and innovation in education, and believes that children and their whānau deserves our very best.


Rina Greaves

Rina Greaves has been with Maungaarangi Kindergarten since May 2011, having taught within the private sector for a number of years.  Bi-lingually competent with an insight into this unique community, and having a genuine commitment to the Ao Māori me ona tikanga, Rina loves to write for their tamariki/children, use their reo/voice, tell their stories so that all whānau can share in the discovery of learning.  Rina is a mother of five children with a background in Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori.

Samoa Taumafai A'oga Amata team

We are all teachers working at Samoa Taumafai A’oga Amata in Tokoroa and over the last few years we have written many Learning Stories to track children’s learning progress as we share our Samoan language, culture and identity with children in our New Zealand setting. Over time our Learning Story writing has become more thoughtful and as a result we are now offering many experiences to widen and deepen children’s learning.  Families now are very interested and we have around seventy people attending our portfolio nights.

Sandra Paymani

The Glenview Kindy team is full of strong-headed opinionated women, when we open up a can of worms everyone knows about it.

Sara Archard

Sara Archard is a lecturer in the Department of Professional studies in the Faculty of Education at The University of Waikato.  She currently co-ordinates and teaches in a Graduate Diploma of Teaching - Early Childhood.  She has taught in a variety of early childhood settings and jointly co-ordinates a playgroup for migrant children and their families.  Her key research interests lie in the humanising of e-Learning environments and the development of relationships within the online community.

Simon Archard

Simon Archard  is a lecturer at the University of Waikato. He lectures in Undergraduate and Graduate Diploma Programmes in early childhood education.  As a qualified early childhood teacher he has worked in many early childhood settings and jointly co-ordinates a play group for migrant children and their families.  He has undertaken research on how ICT supports children's inquiry learning and supports democratic teaching and learning in early childhood education.  Other areas of interest include Inclusive education practices in early childhood education.

Stephen Bird

My name is Stephen Bird, I am 27.  I am the first male to graduate from the Bachelor of Teaching (ece) at Wintec.  Now I’m working for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa as an early childhood educator.  Outside of childhood one of my passions is working with people of all ages.  I enjoy taking on different challenges and continuing to learn and grow my knowledge and understanding of the world.


Tania Bullick

Tania Bullick has worked in Early Childhood Education for 25 years, mainly in Kindergartens in the Waikato, with particularly strong interests in bicultural development, social competence and working with whanau.  She has worked with ELP over the past 18 months and has become passionate about learning alongside teachers working with infants and toddlers and mainstream teachers exploring the metaphors and ideas contained within the kaupapa Māori document, Te Whatu Pōkeka.

Tracy Ani Tuheke

Ngāti Kinohaku te hapū
Ngāti Maniapoto te iwi
Ko Oparure te kāinga
Ko Tracy Ani Tuheke ahau
I’ve lived the vision that my community aspired to for Māori children, so when I feel in love with early childhood education 10 years ago I dedicated my career to the advancement of Māori culture in Aotearoa. As the well-known whakatauaki of my iwi says “Kia mau ki tēnā, kia mau ki te Kawau Māro. Whanakē ake! Whanake akē!” – Stead strong to formation, I will continue to develop and move forward.

Vanessa Paki

Vanessa Paki is of Tainui (Ngāti Mahuta) and Taranaki (Te Ātiawa) descent.  Vanessa lectures in the Department of Human Development and Counselling at the University of Waikato in New ZealandHer research interests are: Matauranga Māori (Māori education), Kaupapa Māori assessment & curriculum in early childhood, and transition issues. 

Through the connections between Te Kura Toi Tangata (Faculty of Education) and He Kōhanga Toi Tangata (Early Years Research Centre), Vanessa is able to contibute to the needs and interests of Māori in early childhood education.  She feels strongly the need to acknowledge the importance of early years learning.

Wendy Lee

Wendy is the Director of Educational Leadership Project Ltd, a professional learning provider for the early childhood sector in New Zealand.  Wendy has been involved in the ECE field as a teacher, tutor, lecturer, manager and professional development facilitator and researcher over the last 40 years.  She has collaborated on four research projects in early years settings with Professor Margaret Carr: (i) Question-asking and Question-exploring, (ii) Integrating ICT into an Early Childhood Setting, (iii) Learning Wisdom and (iv) Learning in the Making: Disposition and Design in Early Education. Prior to this she was a Co-Director with Margaret of the National Early Childhood Assessment and Learning Exemplar Project that developed the Kei Tua of te Pae books for the New Zealand early childhood sector.  More recently she has co-authored two early childhood books: Learning Stories: Constructing Learner Identities in Early Education and Understanding the Te Whāriki Approach: Early years education in practice.