Senses of hauora and well-being in early childhood initial teacher education during a pandemic

Andrew Gibbons, AUT, New Zealand (
Pauline Bishop, Unitec, New Zealand (

Background: A group of Initial Teacher Providers (ITP) were invited to join Healthy Families Waitakere to investigate issues that impact tamariki (children) and whanau (family) in early childhood education in West Auckland. The hauora and well-being of kaiako (teachers) was identified as recruitment and retention is a current issue in early childhood education in Aotearoa (New Zealand).

In the Healthy Families Waitakere work with early childhood kaiako (teachers) experiences of hauora and well-being, the experience of kaiako education was identified as a key element and influence. One theme that emerged was the potential benefit of more focused discussions about kaiako hauora and well-being during kaiako education. A team of ITP decided to explore kaiako tauira (student teachers) experiences of hauora and well-being across four kaiako education providers.

Aim: to explore what early childhood professionals know about hauora and well-being. In this research we aim to explore the experiences of early childhood education (ECE) kaiako tauira progressing towards their qualification. The study will focus on the experiences of hauora and well-being during study, and on their study of hauora and well-being for their professional kaiako practice during a pandemic. The research will include analysis of the role and the impact of kaiako education for kaiako tauira knowledge and experience of hauora and well-being. The research will go on to gather the views and experiences of kaiako educators and allied/professional staff involved in ECE kaiako education. We will explore the audience’s ideas about hauora and well-being as we partner with the professional early childhood community of learners during this unprecedented time of the Covid19 pandemic.

Method: A survey has been developed to canvas early childhood kaiako tauira views on how their hauora and well-being is supported during their study. This will be followed by hui to wananga ideas.

Implications for children: Kaiako love working with you and want to make sure they are doing the best they can for you. We want to help kaiako take better care of themselves.

Implications for families: Early childhood Kaiako work hard to support your tamariki. We would like to know how kaiako could take better care of themselves. They work long hours for low income considering they study for five years to become fully qualified and certified.

Implications for practitioners: For early childhood kaiako to be the best they can be for tamariki they need to be well. The income after a five-year investment is low and kaiako are often not appreciated. We need the government, employers and centre whanau to take better care of you. 

Key words: kaiako voices, innovations, workforce issues, hauora and well-being, communication, education, health, policy, government, COVID-19, qualitative methods.

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