IECS Autumn Seminar 2018

Education for sustainability in Early Childhood Education: Making it real

Ka tangi te tītī, ka tangi te kākā, ka tangi hoki ahau, Tihei mauri ora!

As the tītī calls, the kākā conducts the dawn chorus, I also am reawakened. Behold, there is life!

This symposium explored what sustainability means for early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Aotearoa. UNESCO states that sustainability “has to be integrated in all curricula of formal education, including early childhood care and education”. Sustainability means developing in the present, without exceeding available resources and without causing future harm. Sustainability is not just environmental, being also social and economic. Symposium presenters addressed sustainability in a range of ways, including keynotes, brilliant bursts, discussion and workshops to expand our understandings of sustainability goals in practice in early childhood care and education in Aotearoa and emphasising some of the cultural, linguistic, social, environmental and political implications of these goals for ECCE.

Keynote Addresses

Professor Rangi Matamua, University of Waikato

Matariki and early childhood care and education

In the past 20 years there has been an explosion of interest in Matariki, especially within schools and teaching institutions. However, as this phenomenon has expanded there is often a disconnect between the traditional observations of Matariki and its modern practice. This keynote address will present research showing how Matariki was celebrated by the ancestors of the Māori, detailing the traditional celebration and explaining how it was embedded within ceremony, cultural practices, the environment and day-to-day life. It will also present a future pathway, discussing how the Matariki practice might be introduced within the education sector and collectively celebrated across the country.

Prof Rangi Matamua presenting his research on Matariki. His slide shows the faces and names of the Matariki stars.

Find out more about Professor Matamua's research:

Matariki: The Star of the Year

Marina Bachmann and Kate Harris, Collectively Kids

An environmentally sustainable present and future —our children’s right, our responsibility

Our relationship with the environment has become more complex as the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation increasingly impact our lives. Environmental education offers a framework to address big global issues in meaningful ways within our communities. It has been the foundation of work at Collectively Kids for more than a decade and has enriched learning for its entire community. During this presentation, Marina Bachmann will talk about the problems that face us and the many practical and empowering ways in which they can be addressed within early childhood education. There will be time for discussion and the aim is that you will leave with a range of ideas to begin, or further, your journey in this area.

Brilliant Bursts

The ‘brilliant burst’ format included three speakers each speaking for 15 minutes on sustainability from their particular roles and perspectives. Participants were asked to interpret sustainability in Aotearoa and as much as possible in relation to the early childhood care and education sector, while also referencing United Nations sustainable development goals.

Councillor David Lee - Portfolio leader ‘climate change’, Wellington City Council

David is the first Chinese councillor on the Wellington City Council and is portfolio leader for climate change, as well as for technology, innovation and enterprise. He is an urban planner and has previously worked in both central and local government for 25 years. He is a certified Resource Management Act commissioner. His work at the council has involved: * promoting the uptake of electric vehicles * championing renewable energy (Wellington boasts the largest number of solar photovoltaic systems in the SchoolGen programme) * developing a low carbon capital plan * winning an innovation award with the Smart Energy Challenge * supporting community-led village planning in Brooklyn and Vogeltown * working to establish an innovation hub to enable ideas, talent and business to come together. Under his leadership, the council won the Renewables Innovation prize at the 2014 NZI Sustainable Business Network awards in Auckland.

Rebecca Matthews-Heron - Community campaigner for NZEI Te Riu Roa

Rebecca has been working in the union movement for more than 12 years across three different unions. She has worked on a variety of issues in that time, including increasing paid parental leave, the Living Wage movement and working with the children’s sector through the Tick for Kids coalition. Her focus now is on pay equity in early childhood education and promoting inclusive education alongside whānau, community groups and disabled people. NZEI is the union for early childhood teachers and support staff working in early childhood services including centres, kindergartens, kōhanga reo, language nests, home-based services and Te Kura (the Correspondence School). It advocates on behalf of New Zealand children aged under five and their families, and for the 22,500 early childhood teachers working with them.

To find out more about NZEI's pay equity campaign, visit:

Dr Mere Skerrett - Senior lecturer, School of Education, Victoria University of Wellington

Mere has a background in teaching in early childhood, with a focus on kōhanga reo. After qualifying as a primary school teacher, she returned to further qualify in the early childhood sector. She then gained further qualifications in teaching students who are Māori/ English bilinguals. Mere has led the development of Te Iti Rearea, an initial teacher education programme that enables students to teach in both the early childhood and primary sectors. She also successfully led the development of the exemplary Master of Teaching and Learning programme with an early childhood endorsement, Te Kahukiwi o Aotearoa. She is a senior lecturer in the Wellington Faculty of Education. Mere has iwi affiliations with Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Rakiāmoa, Ngāti Ruahikihiki, Ngāti Māhuta, Ngāti Unu, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Te Rangiunuora and Ngāti Pūkeko.

Workshop Sessions

Paparārangi Kindergarten teaching team: Isabel Boyd, Liz Lee and Robyn Mockett

A continuing journey to cultural sustainable practices

Over the past few years, the team at Papārarangi Kindergarten has been on a journey to embed cultural sustainable practices within their every practice. In this workshop, team members will share their journey using the theoretic lens of place-based education, tiriti-based practice, Enviroschools kaupapa and global citizenship and how these can be incorporated into everyday practice and documentation.

Ali Glasgow

Sustainability of language and culture for Pacific people

In this presentation, Ali Glasgow looks at language and cultural sustainability, sees this as a social justice issue and asserts the rights of people to maintain heritage language and culture. Currently, many Pacific languages are at risk, with the languages of the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau now classified as endangered and intergenerationally extinct (McCaffery, 2015). This trend sits within a wider global problem where May (2000) suggest there is an unprecedented scale of language loss and language shift that some describe as a form of linguistic genocide. The Pacific region is ranked in the second-worst position for language loss, with no Pacific language considered safe (Whalen & Simons, 2012). The spread of English has been connected to the decline of indigenous languages, (Baker, 2006) and this is the case in the Pacific (Lotherington, 1998). Given the inextricable relationship between culture and language, the demise of language is also accompanied by the loss of cultural knowledge and practice. Culture is semantically encoded in the language itself and culture and context cannot be wholly expressed, nor practiced, without the relevant language (Baker, 2006.) In this presentation, I will outline research on Pacific language nests and the ways they promote language and culture in their early childhood settings. Practices and principles covered will provide models for how language and culture can be maintained and sustained for Pacific people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Kath Cooper

Promoting human rights within an early childhood setting

Inclusive and responsive teachers create learning environments that are child sensitive. These environments are safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all. It is an expectation that by 2030 all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote human rights, inclusion of all and appreciation of diversity. In this presentation, what it means to be an inclusive and responsive teacher will be linked to the three curriculum. The silencing of minorities within an early childhood educational setting will be unpacked and explored. Drawing upon research documented in her Master of Education study, as well as her Doctorate in Education literature review, Kath Cooper will help develop participants’ understanding of their own bias and look at some practical ways in which they can extend themselves. The presentation will link to the following United Nations sustainable development goals: 4.a, 4.7, 10.2, and 10.3

Anita Mortlock

Slowing down as sustainability: An exploration of slow pedagogies in Aotearoa and abroad

It is commonly heard that our earth and the whole of humanity is in crisis; our consumption of resources is unsustainable and our anxiety levels are soaring. This workshop will present a range of slow pedagogies and their historical and ideological underpinnings. Of particular focus is (1) holism (soul and spirit), (2) conviviality and relationships, (3) locality, place and time and (4) individualism versus individuality. It is through these topics that we will explore sustainability as selfhood, community, humanity and planet.

Amanda Dobson and Michelle Ducat

ECE Enviroschools—Nurturing the next generation of Kaitiaki

This workshop will paint a picture of how Enviroschools ECE throughout our rohe of Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui / Greater Wellington Region are contributing to creating sustainable communities, sharing examples that align with and reflect Sustainable Development Goal 4, particularly 4.7. The workshop will share ways diverse ECE have engaged with the Enviroschools Guiding Principles to develop place, programmes and practices in the contexts of their particular communities, including some time for group discussion Biographical