Enacting culturally responsive pedagogies in early childhood education

Yvonne Culbreath, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand (
Lata Rana, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand (
Rose Penn, Independent researcher, New Zealand (

Background: The project focuses on teachers’ narratives of teaching and learning experiences within early childhood education setting that includes Maori, Pasifika, Pākehā, Indian and other communities in early childhood. The research explores different experiences of teachers as we believe that culture and experiences of teachers and learners affect the enactment of pedagogies and enhance learner outcomes.The study is a collaboration between two tertiary institutes and early childhood centres in Auckland New Zealand.

Aim: Our aim is to explore experiences of teachers in a diverse and multi-ethnic city in New Zealand.

Research questions that guide the study are:

What philosophies and pedagogies guide teachers in their teaching in early childhood?

How do teachers incorporate their cultural values in their teaching?

How are teachers influenced by bicultural values in their engagement with learners?

Method: The study aims to use a naturalistic paradigm that includes aspects of narrative methodology and ethnography. Researchers draw on narrative methodology to deconstruct educators’ experiences as early childhood educators.

The study has aspects of ethnography as it portrays experiences of participants in early childhood settings. The data will be gathered from interviews, observations, written narratives, and journals.

The study draws on critical pedagogy to develop a discourse of care and wellbeing of the early childhood community of learners.

Results: This is a work in progress.

Implications for children: You are important to the early childhood community as future citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand. Your voices and learning is important to the community and early childhood teachers.

Implications for families: Educators believe families have a place alongside the teaching team as we teach your children. Your aspirations inform our pedagogies as we build relationships with you and your children.

Implications for practitioners: We believe in sharing our research with ākonga(families and practitioners) as we strive to fully understand culturally relevant pedagogies. This is a collaborative effort to include practitioners in tertiary settings, early childhood settings and communities. It has implications for practitioners in early childhood sector nationally and internationally.

Key words: culturally relevant pedagogies; narratives of practitioners, voices of diversity, discourse of care

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: