Jenny Ritchie

AProf Jenny Ritchie profile picture

Associate Professor School of Education


Teaching in 2020

Research interests

Early childhood care and education; civics education; social, cultural and ecological sustainability.


DipNZFKU Ham, BSocSci MEd(Hons) PhD Waik


Jenny has a background as a child-care educator and kindergarten teacher, followed by 30 years’ experience in early childhood teacher education. Her teaching, research, and writing has focused on supporting early childhood educators and teacher educators to enhance their praxis in terms of cultural, environmental and social justice issues. From 2004-2009 she led three consecutive two-year studies funded by the New Zealand Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. She has also been an International Research Fellow with the Velma E. Schmidt International Critical Childhood Policy Studies Collaborative under the leadership of Professor Gaile Cannella.

Research Interests

Early childhood care and education; childhood studies; young children’s civic action; education for social, cultural and ecological sustainability.

Current research

With Elisabeth Jacob, l'Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, we are working on a project ‘Mobilizing indigenous knowledge in the context of play in early childhood education settings: Collaborative research with Innu in Quebec and Māori in New Zealand’

Along with Sandy Morrison of the University of Waikato, we are working on the New Zealand branch of an international project “Reorienting Education and Training Systems to Improve the Lives of Indigenous Youth” that aims, in line with the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goal of quality education, to generate community-based academic research into how education and training systems can better meet the education needs of the Indigenous children. The project aims to provide knowledge about perceptions of quality education, offer recommendations and collect examples of promising practice to assist education and community leaders worldwide to improve the overall quality of education for Indigenous students.

Recently completed research projects

Exploring Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approaches in relation to benefits for Māori children and whānau. A Study Funded by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.  (2018-2019)

‘Civic Action and Learning with Young Children: Comparing Approaches in New Zealand, Australia and the United States’ (2015-2017)

International Research Fellow with the Velma E. Schmidt Critical Childhood Public Policy Research Initiative at the University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA (2014)

Research and evaluation project in relation to the impact on tamariki and whānau of their involvement in a Ngāti Whakaue early learning centre (2012)

Titiro Whakamuri, Hoki Whakamua. We are the future, the present and the past: Caring for self, others and the environment in early years’ teaching and learning (2010)

Supervision interests

  • Early childhood care and education: histories, philosophies, pedagogies.
  • Childhood studies.
  • Comparative education.
  • Pedagogical innovations: Indigenisation, decolonisation, relationality.
  • Sustainability (cultural, linguistic, ecological, economic, social).


  • Ethnographic
  • Qualitative
  • Narrative

Recently completed supervisions

Doctoral thesis completions

Moana Mitchell (2017). “Ka Ao, Ka Ao, Ka Awatea: Emergent whānau experiences of education employment transition”. Co-supervised with first supervisor Hazel Phillips.

Vanessa Sophia Clark (2017). Gathering: An A/R/Tographic Practice for Teaching in Early Childhood Care and Education. Committee member, chief supervisor Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, University of Victoria, BC.

Angel Chan (2014). “The politics of identity, belonging and exclusion Chinese immigrant parents’ involvement in New Zealand early childhood education." Massey University. (Second Supervisor, with chief supervisor Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, Massey University, Albany).

Chris Jenkin (2011). “‘Let us support instead of criticising’: An investigation of the delivery of Treaty based aspects of Te Whariki in mainstream early childhood education.” Auckland University of Technology. (Second Supervisor, with chief supervisor Assoc Prof Love Chile, AUT).

Master’s thesis completions

Hoana Pearson (2015) "He kahui hononga. Ka whirihia e te tumu kuratahi i ngā taura tangata mai tana mana awenga kia puta te ihu o te mokopuna i tana tū Māori, ki te ao Mātauranga. Bridging the divide: Bringing the powerful influence of the primary school principal to the task of whānau engagement as a means to changing outcomes for Māori students." Unitec Institute of Technology. Joint first supervisor.

Rowena Nicole Job (2014). "Raranga mai ngā akoranga o mua hei kinaki mo ngā rangatahi: Weave together the teachings of the past to bring sustenance to our youth." First supervisor.

Aroha Beach (2013). "Understanding choices in the grouping of children within early childhood education: An Auckland-based study of same-age/multi-age grouping arrangements." Second supervisor.

Jenny Baber (2012). "Senior Leader Efforts to Improve the Educational Outcomes of Maori Students in NZ Secondary Schools." Unitec Institute of Technology. Second supervisor.

Jenny Sherriff (2010). "Investigating Factors Influencing the Retention of Maori Students within Secondary Education in Aotearoa-New Zealand." Unitec Institute of Technology. First supervisor.



Teaching in 2020