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J1 Lecture Theatre. The University of Auckland, Faculty of Education

74 Epsom Ave

Auckland, Auckland 1023

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Early Childhood Seminar Series 2019

Playing nicely in the ‘Playground’ or not?: ‘Turning the Tide’ or not?

Emeritus Professor Helen May, University of Otago

I have been documenting the politics of early childhood care and education since writing my master’s thesis ‘The Politics of Childcare’ (1983). In later years I widened the focus of my political gaze to embrace the broader institutions of early childhood, including Discovery of Early Childhood (1997, 2013) and Politics in the Playground (2001, 2009). I have just completed a third edition of Politics in the Playground. I selected around 10 ‘stories’ that could collectively frame the political playground from 2008-2018. The stories aptly cover the National Government years and the Labour Government win with a promise to ‘Turn the Tide’? This seminar is an opportunity to share some of these stories; for you to tell me what other stories I might have told; and to hear opinion of whether the ‘tide will turn’ or not!?

In her early career Helen May worked as a junior school teacher and in childcare In 1987 Helen began work in teacher education. During the early 1990s at the University of Waikato she was the co-director, with Margaret Carr, of the early childhood curriculum project. In 1995 Helen was appointed to the first early childhood professorial Chair at VUW. In 2005, she shifted to Otago, and was the foundation Dean of the University of Otago College of Education. Helen retired in 2017 as an Emeritus Professor. As well she became an Adjunct Professor at VUW . Helen has spoken and published widely in the field of early childhood curriculum and the history and politics of early year’s education. Her most recent book (with Kerry Bethell) is: ‘Growing a Kindergarten Movement in Aotearoa New Zealand: Its people, politics and programmes (2017). She is currently cataloguing a treasure trove of 60 years of papers and projects from Geraldine McDonald’s estate. Sue Middleton and Helen are co-editing a book to be launched at NZARE this year: Improving the lives of women and children: Education research legacies for the twenty-first century: A tribute to Dr. Geraldine McDonald (1926-2018).


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J1 Lecture Theatre. The University of Auckland, Faculty of Education

74 Epsom Ave

Auckland, Auckland 1023

New Zealand

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