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An Evolving Vision for Designing Professional Learning: Inspiration From Aotearoa New Zealand

Kathy Reschke and Donna Ruhland

Abstract

A study tour of early childhood education (ECE) programs in Aotearoa New Zealand offered a rich opportunity to explore the implementation of Te Whāriki, the national ECE curriculum. This article describes three central aspects of the Te Whāriki approach that have garnered international admiration as a model for ECE: the high value placed on the child’s image, voice, and identity; nurturing a culture of inquiry; and the use of learning stories to document children’s explorations. The authors share questions that have emerged in considering how to apply a parallel approach to the work of designing and facilitating professional learning experiences for educators.

If you always look out of the same window, you always see the same view. We have been working in professional development in the field of early childhood education (ECE) for a combined total of more than 40 years, increasingly wondering how our perspective of the work could be expanded or improved. Recently we had an opportunity to see ECE curriculum and pedagogy through a new window, and it is affecting our view of professional development in some exciting and profound ways.

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