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Hamilton Public Lecture Series - Professor Linda Mitchell

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Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts

The University of Waikato

Gate 2B, Knighton Road

Hamilton, Waikato 3216

New Zealand

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Early childhood education creating a world - by Professor Linda Mitchell

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Early childhood education is a notoriously undervalued and highly contested domain, yet understandings of children’s learning and development tell us how important it is in the lives of children and families. In Aotearoa New Zealand, like many countries worldwide, ideas conveyed by governments and international organisations about the purposes of early childhood education have become dangerously narrow. Early childhood education is increasingly portrayed as serving parental labour force participation, rescuing children from disadvantage, and promoting the future economic standing of the country. In these conceptualisations, children and families do not feature in their own right, their agency and mana are invisible.

This presentation refers back to John Dewey’s famous statement “Democracy has to be born anew every generation and education is its midwife” to argue for early childhood education as a site for democratic citizenship and social justice; for social criticism and critical thinking as a fundamental approach to pedagogy; and, taking from the principles and strands of our national curriculum Te Whariki, for mana – empowerment, agency and possibilities as all-encompassing values.

Linda will draw on her research to illustrate messages about these democratic ideals: community connectedness, discussing early childhood development work and research possibilities in Timor Leste; policy, analysing New Zealand’s market approach to early childhood education and the growth of for-profit education and care provision as an Achilles heel in our education policy framing; and pedagogy, drawing on her current research about refugee and immigrant families in early childhood education constructing pathways to belonging. Linda will ask questions and offer possibilities for reclaiming a rights-based approach and asserting democratic values as a way towards radical alternatives in Aotearoa New Zealand’s early childhood education provision.

The Hamilton Public Lecture Series introduces our newest professors to the community and gives them a chance to demonstrate how their work is having a real impact on the world around us.

Professor Linda Mitchell has been at the forefront of early childhood education for over 30 years. Director of the Early Years Research Centre and of the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research at the University of Waikato, Linda has led several evaluations of national early childhood education policies and has been a strong voice in the development of New Zealand’s strategic plans for ECE. She is currently leading a Marsden-funded and a TLRI-funded project about how early childhood education can enable refugee and immigrant families to construct positive outcomes for belonging and participating in Aotearoa New Zealand, while sustaining and contributing important cultural aspects from their home country. She is also supporting early childhood development work in Timor Leste.This 35 minute public lecture will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, starting at 5.45pm. Complimentary drinks and nibbles served from 5.15pm. Free parking is available on campus via Gate 2B, Knighton Road, Hamilton.

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Date and Time

Location

Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts

The University of Waikato

Gate 2B, Knighton Road

Hamilton, Waikato 3216

New Zealand

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