Research work as curriculum work in New Zealand early childhood settings: What should be taught and learned?

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Abstract

This article draws from experiences in an ongoing study of children’s narrative competence in the early years across early childhood education and school settings. Focusing on the research as it is being conducted in the early childhood context (a kindergarten), the paper inquires into what it means to do research in education settings where curriculum is constituted as everything that happens there, and principles of curriculum demand empowering, responsive and reciprocal, inclusive and holistic practices. Questions of research ethics, children’s rights to assent or dissent to participate, to learn about the findings and consequences of the research, and to have the research recognised as curriculum experience are raised. Sitting at the intersection of research work and pedagogical/curriculum work the paper explores lessons from New Zealand of striving towards a fuller curriculum policy implementation and of addressing demands for ethical research practices with children who are very young.

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