Ngā Haeata Mātauranga - The Annual Report on Māori Education, 2007/08
Ngā Haeata Mātauranga – The Annual Report on Māori Education, 2007/08 is the ministry’s one-stop-shop for data, evidence and information about Māori education.
Author(s): Education Information and Analysis Group / Group Māori [Ministry of Education]
Date Published: February 2009
Chapter 2: Foundation Years
This chapter looks at what has been achieved in 2007/08 to make progress towards the Foundation Years goals of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.
The journey towards realising a child’s potential starts right from the beginning of life and involves a range of people playing many important, interrelated roles. It is a dynamic and seminal journey that has far-reaching implications.
The foundation years, in this report, cover the period in a child’s life spanning birth through to the first few years at school.
Successful learning in the early years is a vital first step towards realising a child’s educational potential and gaining the competencies and knowledge he or she needs to be engaged and achieve in education throughout life.
Children who are supported and nurtured by the adults in their lives to learn, grow and develop right from the start are more likely to become confident and competent learners, to develop constructive behaviours and to enjoy improved social outcomes.
A 2008 literature review on outcomes of early childhood education (ECE) finds that all children benefit from high-quality ECE. Research shows that longer experience in good-quality ECE has benefits for both achievement and attitudes such as motivation which last well into secondary school.13 These gains may be greater for young children from low-income homes.
However, participation in ECE is unlikely to provide benefits by itself – the quality of provision must be good. Some studies have found small negative effects of aggression, anti-social behaviour and anxiety linked to long hours in centres rated as low quality and frequent changes in childcare.14
Currently, the ministry uses factors such as teacher registration, qualifications and ratios to indicate the quality of ECE experiences a child is likely to receive, and the ministry’s 10-year strategic plan for ECE, Pathways to the Future: Ngā Huarahi Arataki has focused on improving these factors.
The effective implementation of Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa–Early Childhood Curriculum is fundamental to quality improvement in ECE. Integral to the approach taken in Te Whāriki are the concepts of ako, of knowing, respecting and valuing who children are, where they come from and building on what they bring with them. Te Whāriki has a strong bicultural approach and this has influenced practice in early childhood services.
Strand one of Te Whāriki is wellbeing or mana atua, which emphasises the health and wellbeing of children. Strand two is belonging or mana whenua, which highlights the importance for children and their families to feel a sense of belonging. Strand three, contribution or mana tangata, emphasises children having learning opportunities that are equitable and value each child’s contribution. Meanwhile, strand four, communication or mana reo, highlights the importance of language learning and learning about cultural symbols. Finally, strand five emphasises exploration or mana aotūroa.
Research provides important insights into what helps children succeed. Children are more likely to flourish in an ECE or school setting that acknowledges, embraces and celebrates cultural diversity and which integrates a real understanding of diversity within all teaching and learning processes.
Young children are also more likely to do well with support from effective, high-quality teachers who can build relationships and harness the wealth of knowledge and resource within a child’s community.
The transition to school process has a strong influence on the ongoing success of a child, both in terms of self-concept as a learner and achievement. It also provides an important opportunity for establishing productive and collaborative school–whānau relationships.
In addition, some areas of learning, such as literacy, are particularly important for ongoing success. Research demonstrates that literacy achievement in the first year of school has a powerful effect on longer-term achievement across the curriculum into secondary school. Children who do not establish the foundations of literacy in the first year or so of school tend not to catch up with their peers and find it harder and harder to participate in other learning.15
Research consistently demonstrates that the more children know about language and literacy before they arrive at school, the better they will read. A key ministry resource for teachers, Effective Literacy Practice, says that when children start school they benefit from knowing:
- how texts work
- that the spoken language is made up of sounds and words
- the alphabet (spoken and written)
- that the alphabet relates to the sounds of spoken language
- the visual features of print.16
In addition, dispositions and attitudes such as perseverance, willingness to try and confidence are essential for successful learning at school and throughout life.
These findings provide the focus for actions to improve the performance of the system for children in their foundation years.
2.2: Statistical highlights
2007/08 figures show:
- ninety-one per cent of Māori children starting school had participated in ECE compared to 86% in 2002
- between 2005 and 2007, the proportion of Māori ECE teachers who were registered increased from 38% to 49%.
2.3: Strategic focus
The ministry, in its Statement of Intent 2008–2013, has identified ‘strong learning foundations’ as one of five strategic outcomes. Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success provides the framework for achieving this outcome and is the overarching way of working for the ministry.
The Statement of Intent has three interrelated intermediate outcomes:
- increasing participation in high-quality ECE
- increasing literacy and numeracy achievement in primary school
- earlier identification of and intervention for children with specific barriers to learning.
These outcomes are directly linked to the Foundation Years goals of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success:
- strengthen the participation of Māori whānau in their children’s learning in the early years at school
- continue to increase Māori children’s participation in ECE
- improve the quality of early childhood experiences and education services attended by Māori children
- strengthen the quality of provision by Māori language ECE services
- improve transitions to school
- improve teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy for Māori learners in their first years of school.
The ministry’s 10-year strategic plan for ECE, Pathways to the Future: Ngā Huarahi Arataki, provides the overarching framework for change within the ECE sector.
In 2008, the ministry was halfway through implementing the strategic plan for ECE, with the evidence clearly showing good progress towards the three goals of: increasing participation in high-quality ECE; improving the quality of ECE services; and stronger collaborative relationships. However, the evidence also shows more must be done to ensure the gains are shared equitably throughout the sector – particularly for Māori children and their communities.17 Some of the actions will lie around addressing the barriers specific to particular areas. For example, barriers to access to ECE in rural areas are to do with distance and lack of services. Barriers to participation in South Auckland are more due to family choice and cost.
Participation in early childhood education
Over the past 15 years, the number of children attending ECE services increased, particularly the number of Māori children. In 2007, 91% of Māori year 1 (new entrant) learners at school were reported as having participated in ECE compared to 86% in 2002. Māori comprised 19% of total enrolments in ECE services (35,618 out of 190,907).
However, data show Māori children are still less likely to attend ECE services for sustained periods of time than their non-Māori peers.
The aim of Pathways to the Future: Ngā Huarahi Arataki is to improve participation, quality and responsiveness of ECE in New Zealand. To achieve this the Free ECE policy was introduced in July 2007. Under the scheme, three- and four-year-old children attending kōhanga reo and teacher-led ECE services (kindergartens, centre-based and home-based) can receive up to 20 hours free ECE per week. A year after its introduction, more than 2300 services (80% of services) are participating and there has been a 30% growth in ECE enrolments.
Research shows that for parents of Māori children, the availability of culturally-appropriate services is important for deciding whether to participate in ECE (44% of parents with a Māori child rated this as important or extremely important, compared to 18% of parents with a Pākehā child).18
A key focus of the ministry’s work in 2007/08 was encouraging parents and whānau to enrol their children in high-quality ECE that reflects their own cultural aspirations for their children.
The Promoting ECE Participation Programme has been implemented to help whānau access high-quality ECE services. The ministry contracts community-based organisations to address barriers to participation in their communities. Children enrolled in ECE as a result of this initiative in the 2007/08 year included 803 Māori children.
An evaluation of the programme found that most Māori and Pasifika providers aimed to place children in ECE environments that delivered ‘culturally-appropriate’ learning environments. This meant different things to different providers: for some Māori providers, this equated to a total immersion programme based on kaupapa Māori, while for others this corresponded to an environment that supported Māori tikanga and second language learning. Still other Māori providers defined this as an environment developed by Māori for Māori.19
In addition, the ministry has partnerships and relationships with about 20 iwi and Māori education groups focused specifically on helping iwi and whānau to support Māori learner engagement and achievement in education.
The partnerships facilitate opportunities for iwi to be full participants in the education system alongside learners, parents, education providers including early childhood settings, and the ministry. When all these parties work together much more can be achieved for and with Māori.
The relationships allow iwi to proactively develop and implement local solutions to meet the specific education needs of learners in their communities. The focus is on learning contexts that are meaningful and relevant for learners and their whānau, and developing excellent practice to support lifting Māori educational achievement. An example of this is the establishment in May 2008 of an iwi-designed early childhood service, which by October 2008 had grown to a roll of about 50 children.
Quality of early childhood education services
High-quality, effective teaching
In 2007/08 the ministry continued to focus on increasing the quality of teaching and learning in ECE.
High-quality ECE is marked by adults’ responsiveness to children and an intellectually stimulating, language-rich environment where children have the opportunity for dialogue and to use complex language. It provides activities that are suitable and engaging, and opportunities to problem-solve. The adult–child interactions involve sustained shared thinking and open-ended questions to extend thinking.20
Evidence is clear about the important roles whānau and high-quality teaching can have on children’s learning success. The aim of the ministry’s work in this area is to bring these two powerful influences together to develop productive partnerships and relationships that focus on fostering children’s learning. Te Whāriki provides a strong basis for whānau involvement through acknowledging the importance of the child’s world outside the ECE service and integrating this within the teaching and learning programmes and relationships.
There is also new evidence that an early childhood curriculum where children can investigate and think for themselves, such as Te Whāriki, is associated with better achievement in later schooling than one that has an emphasis on more formal teaching.21
Such an approach to enquiry-based learning is also supported by the teacher resource Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars. This is a best practice resource to help teachers and whānau assess children’s learning in relation to Te Whāriki. Early feedback shows that opportunities for parents and children to reflect on and discuss their learning have increased through the use of assessment portfolios, which document children’s learning and work. The exemplars are discussed later in this chapter under Professional learning and development programmes.
One of the actions included in the ECE strategic plan to improve quality was to mandate Te Whāriki for use in all ECE services. This was achieved when a new, mandatory curriculum framework based on Te Whāriki was introduced; this was one of the changes in regulations made as part of the strategic plan to simplify the current system and improve quality. The curriculum framework includes a te reo Māori component and a component specifically for kōhanga reo affiliated with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.
From 2009, all ECE services and playgroups (funded by the ministry) will be required progressively to implement the curriculum framework. This will support the implementation of Te Whāriki in ECE and further quality improvements, as well as affirm the approaches of kōhanga reo and other Māori-medium services.
The Education Review Office (ERO) is responsible for reviewing the quality of ECE services. For these reviews ERO has developed a socio-cultural framework, consistent with Te Whāriki, which emphasises the connections with children’s wider lives and relationships. These connections are a key factor in effective teaching for and with Māori learners. In addition to Te Whāriki and the new curriculum framework, having such a framework for ERO reviews encourages services to focus on children’s wider life contexts and relationships in their professional practice.
In 2007/08, the ministry continued to work with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust to provide national leadership to kōhanga reo. A key feature of this work was the discussions around the new regulations and curriculum framework for kōhanga reo, as well as the provision of professional development for kōhanga reo by the Trust.
In 2006, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust and the New Zealand Council for Educational Research looked at quality of kōhanga reo.22 They found that kōhanga reo that rated ‘stronger’ on the study’s quality rating items are more likely to have:
- teachers fluent in te reo Māori
- one or more kaumātua present in the programme
- teachers with Tohu Whakapakari qualifications23 or in their final year of training
- whānau who attend wānanga about language and culture
- very good or satisfactory te reo Māori resources.
The stage 1 evaluation of Pathways to the Future: Ngā Huarahi Arataki examined quality improvements between 2004 and 2006.24 For the eight kōhanga reo included in the evaluation, four had improved overall quality between 2004 and 2006, three were consistently ‘good’ (rated as ‘good’ in both 2004 and 2006), and just one had a negative shift. This compares favourably with other service types. Kōhanga reo were rated highly on meeting cultural and language aspirations, but the picture was more mixed for other aspects of quality such as implementing Te Whāriki, assessment practices and teacher qualifications.
Most Māori children attend ECE services where the main language of teaching and learning is English. The stage 1 evaluation of Pathways to the Future: Ngā Huarahi Arataki reported that of the 46 services evaluated, those services with over 12% Māori children attending (24 services) were more likely to be rated highly for implementing a bicultural curriculum and meeting cultural and language aspirations of parents.25
A 2008 evaluation by the Education Review Office of a pilot study found that in just over half the 16 services, Māori children had opportunities to develop as confident and competent learners through programmes that included aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori. This supports the rather mixed picture of culturally-appropriate ECE provision demonstrated in the other studies.
This pilot study included 6 kindergartens and 10 education and care services. It did not include casual education and care services, playcentres, home-based services or kōhanga reo. ERO also found that:
- in many services teachers and managers said that they treated all children the same, and that they did not have aspirations for Māori children that differed from those held for all children
- most of the services included reference to Māori perspectives in documentation such as their philosophy statement and policies, although such intentions were not always reflected in day-to-day practice, programmes and routines
- most services lacked a systematic approach to finding out about the aspirations of the parents and whānau of Māori children
- most services had not established adequate self-review processes to evaluate the effectiveness of their provision for Māori children.
ERO found that some teachers lacked the confidence and competence to integrate te reo and tikanga Māori into their practice.26 The ministry’s professional development will include a focus on this in the next round.
Qualifications and recruitment
Data show that for many years the proportion of Māori teachers in ECE has been lower than the proportion of Māori children. In 2007/08, approximately 1250 Māori teachers, representing 8% of all ECE teachers, were employed within the ECE sector. Almost all (98%) of Māori teachers were female, a figure that compares to 99% nationally.
In 2007/08, the ministry’s teacher recruitment programmes continued to attract Māori to careers in ECE services.
TeachNZ27 offers scholarships to people enrolling in approved early childhood teacher education programmes with a Māori or Pasifika focus and to people from low-income backgrounds. In 2007, TeachNZ allocated 810 scholarships for ECE of which 119 (15%) were allocated to Māori.
Other teacher supply initiatives include:
- study grants for primary-qualified teachers or other graduates moving to ECE. (In 2007 a total of 212 grants were awarded, including 7 to Māori. In 2008 a total of 180 grants were awarded, and 5 went to Māori)
- incentive grants for services to support a staff member undertaking ECE. (A total of 2099 were awarded in 2007, and 255 went to Māori. In 2008 a total of 2147 were awarded, the largest number since the first round in 2001, and 260 went to Māori).
A key means to increase quality has been the new requirement for ECE staff to be qualified. Latest data reveal that between 2005 and 2007, the proportion of Māori ECE teachers who are qualified and registered increased from 38% to 49%. Figures also illustrate that Māori early childhood educators are becoming qualified and registered at a faster rate than non-Māori. The number of qualified Māori educators has increased from 210 in 2002 to 616 in 2007.
In 2007/08, the ministry also continued to support teachers in Māori language ECE services to upgrade their qualifications to meet the recent teacher registration requirements. In 2007 a total of 59 Early Childhood scholarships were awarded to students studying towards an approved Māori language education qualification; 20 of the recipients were Māori.
Professional learning and development programmes
Teachers increase their effectiveness28 when they are involved in strong learning and professional communities and take part in ongoing high-quality professional development.
A recent literature review29 identifies the valuable contribution professional development makes to teaching practice leading to better outcomes for children.
In 2007/08, the ministry continued to offer a wide range of professional development to teachers working in the ECE sector to improve the quality of ECE. Each year approximately one-third of all services access fully-funded general professional development. Services with high numbers of Māori children continue to be prioritised for professional development.
For example, the ministry’s Kei Tua o te Pae / Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars project aims to improve the quality of early childhood educators’ teaching practice with an assessment resource and associated professional development. The aim is to provide in-depth professional development for all 3500 ECE services, together with a small number of schools, over the five-year contract period. Exemplars are specific examples of teaching and learning used to assess and better understand teaching and learning generally as well as for Māori children specifically. Five kaupapa Māori services took part in the project and examples from their services are being used in the Kaupapa Māori Assessment Exemplars (Te Whatu Pokeha) which are to be published and distributed in April 2009.
A 2006 evaluation30 of Kei Tua o te Pae highlights the importance of high-quality assessment practices and the role professional development plays in helping early childhood educators become more effective. It found that the professional development had a positive impact on the assessment practices in the case study services, which reported substantial and sustained shifts in the quality of the assessment practices.
A 2007 evaluation of ministry-funded ECE professional development programmes notes that 85% of survey participants believe their practices have changed a great deal or a fair amount as a result of professional development.31 The top three rated areas of change are around pedagogical practices (improved quality of educational practice; changed approach to teaching and learning; increased theoretical knowledge). The evaluation notes some variability in the effectiveness of existing professional development programmes in strengthening bicultural understandings and practices in early childhood services.
Services generally are not prioritising professional development focused on bicultural practices, with survey respondents ranking it seventh out of ten priority areas. Yet, the report notes, services that did undertake programmes focusing on bicultural understandings and practices rated the effectiveness of their professional development highly.
Overall, the evaluation recommends professional development programmes continue to help services to develop bicultural teaching and organisational practices to effectively work within a socio-cultural paradigm and deliver on Te Whāriki, the bicultural curriculum. This requires a dual approach, integrating bicultural perspectives within professional development that has a wider focus, together with professional development that specifically focuses on bicultural understandings.
There is also evidence that the professional development had strengthened the focus of teachers on the people in and contexts of children’s lives. Services had taken significant steps in building a community of practice that included whānau, parents and children. Despite this, the parent voice and children’s learning experiences and opportunities outside the ECE centre were not strongly evidenced in assessment documentation. Further work is also needed to support services to consider how assessment practices might reflect Māori world views.
To support quality improvement in Māori language ECE, the ministry provided a range of programmes in 2007/08. These programmes included the Te Whāriki professional development programme for kōhanga reo to implement the early childhood curriculum and Me Whakapūmau, designed to increase the quality of te reo Māori used in kōhanga reo.
Developing exemplars of what quality looks like in Māori language ECE services to support teaching and learning quality remained a focus in the 2007/08 year.
Research and development
The Centres of Innovation (COI) research programme is designed to support ongoing quality improvement through promoting leading-edge practice. The programme involves ECE teachers working alongside researchers to explore effective teaching and learning and develop the sector’s understanding of effective teaching practice in ECE.
In 2008, the ministry published on the Education Counts website the final reports from the second round of the COI programme involving Te Marua Mangaroa Playcentre, Massey Childcare Centre, Citizens Preschool and Nursery and Te Kopae Piripono.
The 2008 literature review on outcomes from ECE32 notes the COI as an example of a project helping services to build up teaching and learning processes that are associated with positive outcomes.
A fourth round of the programme started in 2007/08 and involves three services, Te Kōhanga Reo o Mana Tamariki, Childspace Ngāio Infants and Toddlers and Otaki Kindergarten. This round focuses on effective and innovative teaching that strengthens learning outcomes through responsive, respectful and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things.
Two of the three services designated as COI for round 4 (from January 2008) have a specific focus on Māori language and culture. The kōhanga reo is focusing on the intergenerational transmission of te reo Māori and the kindergarten, in an area with a high Māori population, has a focus on environmental sustainability including indigenous knowledge and citizenship in a bicultural community.
The participation of Māori language and kaupapa Māori services in the COI programme will help build the strength of this part of the sector.
The ministry has supported Ngāti Whakaue to open in May 2008 a distinctively Ngāti Whakaue early childhood education centre called Te Ao Kapurangi – Moko Puna. The name honours a heroine from Ngāti Whakaue history.
The puna fully involves and supports whānau. It is different from most ‘playgroups’ in that it has two staff who organise sessions and develop and run the learning programme, in addition to parents attending with their children. About half a dozen kuia and koroua (kaihāpai) also assist at the puna, and they each contribute in different ways according to their skills and wishes – for example waiata, stories, child-rearing skills and transport for the parents and children.
The puna will operate as a playgroup for a three-year period to the end of 2010. The intention is to progress to a distinctly Ngāti Whakaue fully-licensed centre from 2011 onwards.
An important element of the project is a longitudinal evaluation and research into the impact on children and whānau of the puna and being nurtured within its distinctively Ngāti Whakaue environment. This evaluation and research is expected to start in 2009 and run until 2018, potentially enabling researchers to track the progress of children until they reach secondary school.
Evidence is clear that the earlier the support for effective learning, the more successful the outcomes for children and whānau.
Ministry programmes to support parents and whānau to enhance their children’s learning include Parents as First Teachers and Family Start. These programmes are being provided by the Ministry of Social Development from late 2008.
Family Start provides intensive, home-based support services for families with high needs (at risk of poor outcomes) to ensure that their children have the best possible start in life. Family Start providers also deliver the Ahuru Mowai: Born to Learn curriculum, which is the education component of the programme.
Parents as First Teachers provides practical support and guidance to whānau with young children from before birth to age three. The programme reaches some 7000 families per year. Māori made up 35% of families in 2007/08.
Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters is a home-based two-year educational programme for children aged four and five that fosters parental education skills. It emphasises parents and children spending regular time together to develop their relationship and do literacy and numeracy activities. This programme will be provided by the Ministry of Social Development from late 2008. In 2007/08, of the 1110 families who participated in the programme, 44.3% were Māori.
One of the case studies in this chapter profiles the strong teaching and learning relationships shared by parents and educators in two Waikato ECE services that are taking part in the ministry’s ECE centre-based Parent Support and Development programme.
Atawhaingia Te Pā Harakeke
Atawhaingia Te Pā Harakeke is a whānau development programme responsible for developing and providing training and support services for Māori and iwi organisations. The programme offers an intensive process of training and support to help build provider capacity as facilitators of specific support for Māori parents and whānau.
Since 2001, a total of 117 providers and 456 participants have either attended the marae-based wānanga facilitated by the team or are currently receiving intense mentoring and support from the regional Waewaetaha (coordinators) with the support of Te Kāhui Whakaruruhau (cultural advisors) and Te Hunga Whakangūngū (specialised facilitators).
In 2009, the team will consolidate its activity alongside providers while strengthening links across community organisations to better support whānau they service.
Special education early intervention
Early intervention is specialist intervention and support for children aged from birth until six years with developmental delay, disability and/or behaviour difficulties.
Statistics for learners being supported by the ministry’s special education schools indicate that although Māori make up about 21% of the overall ECE and school age population, they are over-represented in the numbers of referrals to the ministry’s behavioural support services.
Analysis of behaviour referral patterns for Māori children and Pasifika children will lead the ministry to improve access to services for these groups.
A programme being run in the Manukau Otahuhu early intervention area is an example of the success of a coordinated response to service delivery to Māori children and Pasifika children. The ministry’s special education services are working with and alongside kōhanga reo, Pasifika language nests, other ECE centres and a range of community groups including churches, marae and health care groups. The target group is children aged from birth to five years. As well as following up individual cases, for instance where a family has not responded to specialist appointments, the initiative has set up a monthly ‘drop in’ service where families can access the services of an early intervention teacher, speech language therapists, psychologist and cultural specialists. An early result is that more children are being diagnosed before starting school.
The ministry’s Incredible Years programmes are a series of evidence-based special education programmes (some of which are specifically for Māori whānau and parents) to support young children aged two to eight with behaviour needs.33
Incredible Years programmes aim to develop strong, positive relationships between parents and children and give parents a toolkit of behaviour management strategies to increase desired behaviour, decrease inappropriate behaviour, set limits, maintain household rules and give children an understanding of consequences. Incredible Years programmes are effective across a range of cultural settings and positive effects can be sustained over time.
Transitions to school
Research shows that the transition to school and the first years there have a significant influence on later achievement at secondary school – particularly so for children from low-income backgrounds.34
The transition from ECE to school requires significant adjustments for children and their whānau. The adjustments are greater for some than others, depending on the degree of continuity from the ECE setting to the school. The success of moving from one to the other depends on the ability of early childhood services and schools to support children and whānau through the transition and manage differences between the service and the school.35 It is very important that parents, teachers in ECE and teachers at school share information about children’s early learning to support the transition to school. The alignment of The New Zealand Curriculum with the strands of Te Whāriki through the new key competencies will help teachers from the early childhood service and the school communicate better with each other and with whānau about children’s learning at the transition to school.
Children are more likely to succeed at school if they have already developed foundation literacy and numeracy knowledge and the dispositions needed for success, such as motivation, persistence and curiosity. The focus of Te Whāriki on the development of these dispositions provides a strong basis for children’s future learning.
The ministry makes available a range of support for the transition to school, including online guidelines36 for Māori whānau with children with special education needs. The Team-Up website provides families with a range of useful tips.
Team-Up is part of the ministry’s information-sharing approach that aims to increase the participation, engagement and achievement of Māori by providing information and resources to young Māori, Māori parents and whānau, and teachers. Team-Up includes information and resources for parents and whānau to support their engagement in early childhood education and to support the transition to school, as well as information to support parents with older school-aged children.
Te Mana, another information campaign, specifically focuses on supporting Māori learners and whānau. The Te Mana website has a parents and communities section that supports parents and whānau to get involved with a school. It also has a section for parents to support the transition to school. In addition, Te Mana produced new advertisements in October 2008 to encourage whānau participation in schools, one focusing specifically on supporting children starting school.
Another focus of Te Mana is the 25 pouwhakataki (information brokers) throughout New Zealand, who work with iwi, whānau, and Māori communities to provide information and support, to ensure Māori can access all the educational opportunities that are available.
The following case study looks at what has been achieved in 2007/08 to make progress towards the Foundation Years goals of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.
Case study 1
TWO Waikato services seek to empower whānau with knowledge and skills
Above photo of Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka tumuaki Tere Gilbert (Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Atiawa) and PDS family worker Kathleen Harawira (Ngāti Awa).
Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka
PROVIDING whānau with a place to feed on knowledge is the aim of a Hamilton-based kōhanga reo involved in the Parent Development and Support project.
Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka is one of 18 services participating in the three-year project across the country. Its namesake is the godwit (or kuaka) – a seabird that visits Waikato’s coast to feed each spring before returning to its birthplace in Alaska.
Kōhanga tumuaki Tere Gilbert says the project’s aim draws on the godwit’s example. She explains: “The kuaka reminds us how important it is to have a place where nourishment can be found as we journey through life.
“The kuaka also reminds us about the joy of returning again and again to that place. Whānau, like the kuaka, come to Waikato to feed on mātauranga.
“In this project we want to give whānau a place to find the information, support and tools they need to be great parents. We also want to foster among them a sense of whakawhanaungatanga – to ensure they keep coming back and their children do, too.”
The Parent Development and Support project’s main aim is to improve the support available to vulnerable families across New Zealand through early childhood education services. The programme is part of a package of early intervention services led by the Ministry of Social Development and supported by the Ministry of Education.
Tere’s teacher-led kōhanga has been part of the project for more than a year. In that time they have made contact with dozens and dozens of whānau, surveyed whānau about their information and support needs, run weekend and evening parenting workshops, hosted guest speakers, organised children’s events and coordinated on-site baby checkups by health professionals such as Plunket, dental nurses and ear clinic specialists.
The kōhanga activities reflect the project’s emphasis on the important role early childhood education services can play in building up the knowledge and skills of parents. Evidence suggests children benefit from a connection between the home and early childhood education setting and when parents are engaged in their children’s learning and development.
For the past six months, Kathleen Harawira has been the project’s main coordinator after taking over from Parehau Richards earlier this year. She says the range and timing of activities reflect the needs and wants of the kōhanga whānau, most of whom spend long days working or studying.
At the outset, Kathleen provided parents with information about babies’ health, learning and development. But, as their babies have developed and grown, parents’ interests have changed, too.
“At the moment they’re keen to know more about helping their child make a successful transition to the neighbouring kura or school. We’re also talking more about how to help their children gain the early literacy and numeracy foundations they need to succeed at school,” she says.
Below photo of Te Whānau Pūtahi Childcare Centre PDS coordinator and whānau worker Rarangi Carr (Ngāti Raukawa).
Te Whānau Pūtahi Childcare Centre
ACROSS TOWN, another early childhood education service and Christian family support centre, Te Whānau Pūtahi Childcare Centre, has spent more than a year participating in the Parent Development and Support project.
Here, the project is helping the centre to inject new hope into the lives of whānau.
Project coordinator Rarangi Carr explains: “Our whānau are predominantly single parents who need intense support – both for themselves and their tamariki. They want the best for their children but don’t always have the confidence to do that. We provide the nurturing, encouragement and support they need to get to that place.”
Valuing tamariki as tomorrow’s leaders is part of our approach to providing services, she says. “Ko ngā tamariki o enei rā, hei rangatira mō apopō.”
Rarangi says the project has helped the centre extend the services and support they provide to whānau.
This year, the centre continued to run their subsidised annual summer camp at Ngāruawahia, where children and their whānau spend a week holidaying and accessing family and educational support, as needed. For many whānau, it is their only holiday.
Families have taken part in workshops on self-esteem to help them face the world again. They have participated in Toolbox parenting courses to help build up their skills. Mums Matter, a weekly parenting support group run by the centre this year, has given attendees the chance to network, hear a range of speakers and take part in fun activities. Meanwhile, a new men’s drop in service has seen a good turnout, too.
The centre continued running their counselling, foodbank, budgeting and childcare services. It also continued running its afterschool club for primary-aged children, a drop in service for intermediate and secondary school students, a school holiday programme and its adult literacy, numeracy and driver’s licence courses.
Te Whānau Pūtahi Childcare Centre has also continued to offer a crèche for children whose parents attend centre workshops and courses, which parents are finding is a great first step to smoothly transitioning tamariki into regular early childhood education.
“We strongly believe in the power of early childhood education to help children grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators – healthy in mind, body and secure in their sense of belonging,” says Rarangi.
“We want our tamariki to have a positive experience here – and for that positive feeling to influence their later early childhood and school experiences. We see our role as providing a strong foundation for success later in life.”
“This project really supports our belief that children learn best in a positive, safe, caring and stimulating environment, where they receive encouragement and develop a sense of belonging,” says Rarangi.
She says all the Parent Development and Support project activities are underpinned by this philosophy.
Building on the interagency services and support available at the centre has been another major achievement over the past year. The centre has fostered close working relationships with Child, Youth and Family, Work and Income New Zealand, Plunket, Te Ara Hou, Women’s Refuge, and Community Mental Health – all for the purpose of providing whānau with the support they need to grow and develop as parents.
“My dream is for all tamariki to have the opportunities they need to grow and develop confidently and spiritually. I’d like to keep building on the services we provide to support Māori potential and independence. My ultimate goal is to see whānau ‘own’ this place by helping others on their journey through life, as the centre has done for them.”
Case study 1
Ko tā ngā kaimanaaki o Waikato, he mātauranga, he pūkenga hei whakamana whānau
Ngā kōrero mō te whakaahua: Te tumuaki o Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka, ko Tere Gilbert (Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Atiawa) me te kaimahi whānau PDS a Kathleen Harawira (Ngāti Awa).
Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka
KO TE WHĀINGA o tētahi kōhanga reo i Waikato i raro i te kaupapa Whakapakari Mātua, ko te whakarite āhuatanga hei whāngai i ngā hua o te mātauranga ki ngā whānau.
Ko Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka tētahi o ngā rōpū whakarato 18 o te motu kua uru atu ki tēnei kaupapa, toru tau te roa. Nō te manu kuaka tonu tōna ingoa – te manu ka tau mai ki ngā tai o Waikato i ia koanga ki te kai, ā, ka hoki atu ki tōna kāinga, ki Arakaha.
Hei tā Tere Gilbert, te tumuaki o te kōhanga, ka noho ko ngā tikanga o te kuaka hei tohu mō te kaupapa nei. Hei tāna, “Ko tā te kuaka, he whakamahara i a tātou, me whai kāinga pātaka kai hei waiū mō tātou i ngā kōpikopiko haeretanga i te ao.”
“Ko tā te kuaka anō, ka rite te manaaki, ka rite te hoki ki taua kāinga anō. He rite ngā whānau ki te kuaka, ka hokihoki tonu atu ki Waikato ki te kai mātauranga.”
“Ko tā mātou mō te kaupapa nei, he whakarite wāhi mō ngā whānau hei whare kimi kōrero, hei pou tautoko, hei wāhi whai tikanga hoki hei whakapakari i a rātou hei mātua. Ko te whakawhanaungatanga te kawa – māna rātou e poapoa, e whakarata kia hokihoki mai me ā rātou tamariki.”
Ko te whāinga matua o te kaupapa Whakapakari Mātua he whakapai ake i ngā ratonga hei āwhina i ngā whānau e noho whakaraerae ana puta noa i Aotearoa mā ngā akoranga kōhungahunga. Koinei tētahi o ngā kaupapa o te kete kaupapa wawao moata e kawea nei e Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora, ā, e tautokona ana e Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga.
Neke atu i te kotahi tau e noho ana ki te kaupapa nei, te kōhanga e kawea ana e ngā kaiako a Tere. Nō roto i taua wā, e hia kē nei ngā whānau kua whakapāpāhia e rātou, kua uiuia mō ō rātou hiahia hei kōrero, hei tautoko i a rātou anō, kua whakahaeretia e rātou ngā wānanga āwhina mātua i ngā mutunga wiki, i ngā pō hoki, kua whakaritea he tāngata hei kaikōrero, kua whakahaeretia ngā kaupapa mō ngā tamariki, ā, kua whakaritea hoki ngā whakamātautauranga hauora mō ngā pēpi e te hunga hauora pērā i a Plunket, i ngā nēhi tiaki niho, i ngā tākuta tiaki taringa hoki.
Ko ngā mahi a te kōhanga nei e whakanui ana i te whai wāhingamai o ngā ratonga akoranga kōhungahunga ki te whakapakari i ngā mātua kia mātau, kia mārama, kia whai pūkenga anō hoki. E ai ki ngā kōrero taunaki ka whai hua anō ngā tamariki menā ka noho whanaunga te kāinga me te akoranga kōhungahunga, ā, ka hou mai ko ngā mātua ki roto i ngā mahi ako, whakapakari tamariki.
Nō roto i ngā marama e ono kua hipa, nō muri mai i te hekenga o Parehau Richards, ka noho a Kathleen Harawira hei kaiwhakarite matua mō te kaupapa nei. Hei tāna, kei te whānuitanga, kei te putaputanga mai hoki o ngā mahi te āhua o ngā hiahia o ngā whānau o te kōhanga, ko te paunga tērā o te rā i a rātou te mahi, te akoako rānei.
Nō te tīmatanga mai ka tukuna e Kathleen he kōrero ki ngā mātua mō te hauora, te tikanga ako, te tipu o ngā pēpi. Engari, ka tipu ake ngā pēpi, ka tipu anō hoki ngā aronga o ngā mātua.
Hei tāna, “I tēnei wā, kua kaha hiahia rātou ki te mōhio ki ngā tikanga hei āwhina i te whakawhitinga o ā rātou tamariki ki te kura e tata ana. Kei te nui hoki ā mātou kōrero mō te āwhina i ā rātou tamariki kia pakari ki te tākupu, ki te tatau hei pārekereke mō rātou i te kura.”
Ngā kōrero mō te whakaahua: Te kaiwhakarite PSD, kaimahi whānau hoki, a Rarangi Carr (Ngāti Raukawa) o Te Wharetiaki Tamariki o Te Whānau Pūtahi
Te Wharetiaki Tamariki o Te Whānau Pūtahi
Kei wāhi kē atu o te taone tētahi akoranga kōhungahunga, whare Karaitiana āwhina whānau, ko Te Wharetiaki Tamariki o Te Whānau Pūtahi, kua neke atu anō i te kotahi tau e noho ana ki te kaupapa Whakapakari Mātua.
Kei konei te kaupapa e whakakipakipa ana, e whakahihiri ana, e whakaihiihi ana i ngā whānau.
Hei tā Rārangi Carr, kaiwhakarite o te kaupapa nei, “Kotahi anō te matua o te nuinga o ō mātou whānau, heoi, kia nui rawa ngā āwhinatanga – mō rātou tahi me ā rātou tamariki. Kei te hiahiatia kia whāia e ā rātou tamariki ngā pae tawhiti o te pai, engari ka heke te wairua i ētahi wā. Ko tā mātou, he āwhina, he tautoko kia māia, kia manawanui ko rātou.”
Hei tāna anō, ko te whakamana i ā tātou tamariki hei rangatira mō āpopō tētahi o ā mātou tikanga, “Ko ngā tamariki o enei rā, hei rangatira mō apōpō.”
Ko tāna hoki, nā te kaupapa nei kua whānui kē atu ngā āwhinatanga a te wharetiaki mō ngā whānau.
I tēnei tau, ka whakahaeretia tonutia tō rātou noho puni raumati ā-tau ki Ngāruawāhia, he wā whakatā mō ngā whānau, he wā hoki ka whai wāhi ki ngā āwhinatanga ā-whānau, ā-mātauranga hoki e hiahiatia ana. Koinei anake te hararei mō ngā whānau e maha nei.
Kua uru atu ngā whānau ki ngā wānanga whakamana whānau kia tū anō rātou hei whānau, hei tangata i te ao. Kua uru anō hoki ki ngā kaupapa āwhina mātua, arā, ko Te Kete Whakatika37 hei whakapakari i ō rātou pūkenga. Kua whakahaeretia e te wharetiaki i ia wiki i tēnei tau te kaupapa tautoko mātua e kïa nei ko Mana Māmā, ā, he whakawhanaunga te tikanga, he whakarongo hoki ki ētahi kauhau, he ngahau anō hoki te mahi. Heoi, he autaia te putaputa mai o ngāi tāne ki te ratonga hou mō te tāne.
Ka whakahaeretia tonutia e te wharetiaki ā rātou kaupapa kōrero āwhina, pātaka kai, tiaki pūtea, tiaki tamariki hoki. Ka whakahaeretia hoki ko ngā kaupapa tamariki, te karapu mō muri i te kura mō ngā tamariki o te kura tuatahi, te wāhi hei torotoro mā ngā tamariki o ngā kura waenga, kura tuarua hoki, te kaupapa hararei kura, ngā kaupapa tākupu, tatau, whai raihana taraiwa hoki mō ngā pakeke.
Ka noho tonu Te Wharetiaki Tamariki o Te Whānau Pūtahi ki te tiaki i ngā tamariki o ngā mātua e uru ana ki ngā kaupapa ako o te whare, e mea ana ngā mātua he pai rawa mō te whakamāmā i te whakakāinga i ā rātou tamariki ki roto i ngā akoranga kōhungahunga.
Hei tā Rarangi, “Pono tonu atu mātou, ka mana ngā tamariki i ngā akoranga kōhungahunga hei tangata kaha ki te ako, māia ki te whai mātauranga, pai ki te whakawhiti kōrero – ora ana te hinengaro, te tinana, te mana whakapapa hoki.”
“Me pai rawa te noho o ā mātou tamariki ki konei – mā tērā e pai ake ai i ngā tau kōhungahunga, kura rā anō. Ko tā mātou, he whakatakoto i te pārekereke e kaha ai te tipu, ā pakeke noa.”
“Ka tino tautoko mai te kaupapa i tā mātou e whakapono nei, ka ora te ako o te tamariki mēnā kua tau te noho, kua pai, e manaakitia ana, e whakahikohikohia ana te wairua, e whakamanahia ana, e noho tangata whenua ana,” hei tā Rarangi anō.
Hei tāna hoki, ka whārikihia ngā mahi katoa o Whakapakari Mātua e tēnei kaupapa.
Ko tētahi kaupapa nui i tutuki i a rātou i tēnei tau ko te whakanui atu i ngā here whanaunga ki ngā āwhinatanga o ngā momo tari mō te wharetiaki. Kua mahi tahi rātou me te Tari Āwhina Tamariki, Taiohi, Whānau, Te Hiranga Tangata, Plunket, Te Ara Hou, Te Whakaruruhau Wāhine, Te Mana Hauora Hinengaro i Te Hapori, – hui katoa he āwhina whānau te tikanga kia tipu ai hei mātua pai.
“Ko tāku e wawata nei, kia whāia e ngā tamariki katoa ngā hua angitu o te ao, hei whakatipu, hei whakapakari i a rātou e rangatira ai te noho, e mauritau ai te wairua. Ka whakatipu tonu ahau i ngā āwhinatanga hei tautoko i ngā pūmanawa tino rangatiratanga o te Māori. Ka mutu, ka tangata whenua mai a Māori ki tēnei wāhi ki te āwhina i ētahi atu, pērā i ngā āwhinatanga anō i a rātou, kia tipu hei tangata ki te ao.”
A ministry project exploring home–school relations within and between five Flaxmere schools has provided insight into the benefits of programmes that focus on helping children successfully move from ECE to school.
About 1800 learners attend the five Flaxmere schools (of which 71% are Māori), with around 100 teachers. The five schools were classified as decile 1A, which indicated they serve some of the lowest-resourced communities in the country.
A 2007 evaluation38 of the Flaxmere project found that generally teachers considered the early childhood transition-to-school initiative bridged the gap between home and school. Teachers said children settled into school more easily and whānau had an immediate connection with the school.
Practices noted as successful included:
- teachers and parents working together to set goals and expectations
- development of supportive practices for children at home and school, with parents given equipment and strategies (behaviour and learning) to help them support the learning at home
- expansion of the model of Parents as First Teachers, which gave opportunities for modelling of best practice
- opportunities to talk about teaching and learning to develop understanding and expectations
- establishment of opportunities for building positive relationships between home and school early on in schooling.
The evaluation found the effects of the transition-to-school programme were expected to be far-reaching and to show up in longer-term outcomes such as achievement as the children and their parents progress through the years of schooling.
Literacy and numeracy for Māori learners in their first years of school
Another important area of focus for the ministry is ensuring children acquire the early literacy and numeracy skills they need to succeed at school.
Literacy is the key to all formal learning at school.
‘As language is central to learning and English is the medium for most learning in The New Zealand Curriculum, the importance of literacy in English cannot be overstated.’
The New Zealand Curriculum
Children who are literate and numerate have the skills to effectively access the rest of the curriculum. For example, one study found that 14-year-olds with low scores in reading comprehension also had negative attitudes about maths and science probably because literacy skills are essential in all subjects.39
Learner differences in literacy achievement tend to increase from school entry. Evidence from Ministry offices suggests that in lower-decile schools up to half of all learners are still at the first levels of reading at the end of their first year at school.
Research (in English-medium schools) shows that by the end of year 1 literacy achievement for many Māori children is lower than for any other ethnic group, even when the starting point is similar. It also shows that these differences do not necessarily occur if teaching is made more effective through professional development and support.40
Other studies indicate that when teachers have low expectations of their Māori learners, those learners achieve less than other children after a year at school even when their starting point was similar.41
Recent national school entry assessment data show significant differences between Māori children and non-Māori children on measures of concepts about print and story retelling. Other studies indicate differences on measures of alphabet knowledge and writing vocabulary.42
The latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) looks at the reading achievement of New Zealand children in year 5. Findings, soon to be published, show that there were some very high-performing Māori learners. Just fewer than 25% reached the high benchmark.43 However, Pākehā and Asian students on average scored significantly higher than both Māori and Pasifika learners. There was no (statistical) difference between the mean scores for Māori learners and Pasifika learners, with both significantly lower than the international mean. There was also no change from 2001 to 2005 in the mean scores.
Another study,44 which integrates the findings from a range of national and international studies on learner achievement, paints an improving picture for young Māori learners at primary school.
It shows Māori and Pasifika average achievement increasing, particularly for years 4 to 6 reading, writing and mathematics. However, it also finds the achievement of some Māori boys particularly concerning.
Data from the National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) science and graphs, tables and maps assessments in 2007/08 showed that although many Māori learners in English-medium schools performed well, Māori learners, on average, performed less well than Pākehā learners. These differences were small for practical tasks but bigger for tasks that required factual knowledge. This is consistent from 1999 to 2007.
The ministry’s Literacy Strategy has been successful in exploring and implementing a range of initiatives to improve literacy and has resulted in some significant pockets of success. However, international and national data show that pockets of success have not been sufficient to create any significant system-level improvement in literacy over the past five or more years.
Current data show that Māori learners continue to be over-represented in lower achievement levels and under-represented in higher levels. These trends are apparent at school entry and generally increase throughout schooling.
As a result, in 2007/08 the ministry began reviewing the way it invests in literacy and numeracy initiatives to ensure knowledge about best practice is disseminated widely and that investments are more equitably shared and are reaching those learners with most need.
The ministry is also aiming to make greater use of the organisation’s regional networks to support schools to gather, analyse and use literacy and numeracy achievement data for each learner and effectively tailor their teaching practice.
Overall, this work aims to ensure insights from good practice are incorporated more systematically in a wider range of professional development to benefit Māori learners.
Improving first teaching
Results from the Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP)45 and Numeracy Development Project show that classroom teachers can be far more effective in their instruction with all children, and particularly with Māori children.46
Numeracy Development Project findings show that learners who traditionally have lower levels of achievement (ie Māori learners, Pasifika learners and learners from low-decile schools) benefit most from participation in the project’s numeracy programmes. Further research suggests the gains can be sustained over time.47
The LPDP began in March 2004 and provides schools with an evidence-based professional development programme which aims to improve learning and achievement in literacy.
Findings from the 2008 LPDP show learners’ gains in reading and writing are twice as high as the gains that can be expected normally. More importantly, findings show schools are able to increase the rate of progress for most ‘at-risk’ learners by four times the expected gains.48 Results for Māori learners in 2008 were not as high as in previous years, although they still made significant gains. The reasons for this are being investigated further.
An independent evaluation of LPDP was commissioned and undertaken by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) with the University of Canterbury. The final evaluation report was received by the ministry in August 2007. Overall, the evaluation confirmed that the gains in reading and writing achievement by learners from schools in the LPDP were greater than those that could be expected without the intervention. There is also evidence to show that subsequent cohorts in LPDP have similar gains.
A total of 288 schools (3288 teachers) have participated in the project to date. Schools work within the project for two years.
The ministry’s Literacy Learning Progressions, published in 2007, set out what learning is necessary for ongoing success in reading and writing in English. The progressions are a tool for teachers to improve their understanding of literacy learning. They are also intended to encourage more effective teaching by raising teachers’ expectations of what learners should be achieving, and by when.
The progressions sit alongside specific initiatives to improve teaching effectiveness, such as the very successful LPDP.
Meanwhile, research from schooling improvement projects in clusters of low-decile schools with high Māori and Pasifika rolls, shows that improved learner outcomes can continue after project funding ceases. Emphasising good teaching practice, using learner assessment data and involving principals as well as lead and classroom teachers has resulted in two clusters improving Māori learner reading achievement to the level of the national cohort.49
One of the case studies in this chapter explores how a South Auckland primary school succeeded in lifting the literacy and numeracy achievement of its Māori learners, by education partnerships that improve teaching and learning at the school.
Evidence from the Educational Leadership Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration reveals large gains in achievement through joint school–home endeavours to support learning. Bringing family and community knowledge, such as whakapapa and hapū knowledge, into the classroom programme, can have a positive impact on learner outcomes.50 This strengthens educationally powerful cultural connections with communities and the knowledge and input of families becomes a resource for the school. When community funds of knowledge are used effectively to strengthen teaching, there are large achievement gains, decreased disparities across different curriculum areas, and enhanced learner identity.
In addition, applying school-based learning outside the classroom can have significant and sustained impacts on learners’ knowledge, attitudes, self-esteem, independence and confidence.51
For a significant proportion of Māori learners, first teaching is not effective enough to ensure adequate progress in literacy. Schools use a range of literacy interventions to assist these learners.
Reading Recovery is a national intervention that provides intensive individual help for six-year-olds who are at risk of underachieving in reading and writing. Tuition focuses on a learner’s specific learning needs and supports a learner to progress towards the expected reading level of the age cohort at the school.
A New Zealand Council for Educational Research report and ministry data have found that learners from all schools make significant gains with Reading Recovery. Māori and Pasifika learners make even greater gains, although this is largely because their starting point is often lower.52
While a high proportion of Reading Recovery learners are Māori, many Māori learners do not get access to Reading Recovery. This is because Reading Recovery is often not offered by schools with larger numbers of Māori learners (schools in low-decile or rural areas, or Māori-medium schools). The decision not to offer the programme is made by a school’s management, generally because of cost or because they choose a programme (often commercial) that takes larger numbers and thus can cater for more learners in a school.53 However, research suggests that schools are not evaluating the effectiveness of these other interventions either before or after purchasing them.54
The ministry is looking at the causes of low literacy achievement and why current interventions are not making impact across the system. It is focusing on the quality of teaching and the adoption by schools of practices and interventions that are not effective. A research and development programme is underway to develop a more effective nationally-coordinated system of effective literacy teaching and interventions. In 2009, Reading Recovery tutors will be expected to support schools with high numbers of Māori students, whether or not the schools currently choose to offer Reading Recovery. Schools that do offer Reading Recovery will be supported before and after the Reading Recovery intervention.
The ministry continued to provide a range of literacy interventions and resources in 2007, for example, the Resource Teachers: Literacy and the Literacy Development Officers, whose roles are being included in the review of the Literacy Strategy.
There are around 109 Resource Teachers: Literacy nationwide working with referred learners in years 1 to 8 who are at risk of not achieving in literacy. They also work with classroom teachers within a cluster group of schools. There are currently 87 clusters.
Literacy Development Officers are based in the Schools Performance Teams in local and regional ministry offices to increase the effectiveness of literacy programmes in primary schools. Thirteen regional officers were appointed in 2004 and support over 600 schools (with learners in years 1 to 8) every year. They work directly with school leaders to help focus on improving literacy achievement and review the effectiveness of literacy programmes, analyse literacy data and practices, decide on the literacy support needed, broker support, sustain gains made by professional learning programmes and establish systems.
Te Reo Matatini is the Māori-medium Literacy Strategy, which aims to ensure students in Māori-medium education are actively engaged in literacy experiences to reach their academic, cultural, social and developmental potential. Te Reo Matatini is designed to establish a foundation that supports the sector-wide development of well informed literacy initiatives and solutions by making the best use of a developing national and international body of knowledge. In line with the vision ‘mātauranga reo ki tōna taumata’, the strategy sets an expectation that students in Māori-medium settings will achieve successful bi-literacy outcomes to succeed as Māori.
As mentioned previously there have been large gains from specialist interventions to assist parents to support their children’s reading in English-medium and Māori-medium schools, and even larger gains for joint home–school interventions. The ministry provides a range of home–school interventions. The interventions have most benefit when implemented early but have been used at primary, intermediate and secondary school level.
Reading Together involves teachers enabling parents to support their children’s literacy learning at home and has shown extremely large benefits. It is also developing stronger and more responsive ongoing relationships between teachers and whānau focused on children’s literacy learning through five workshops run by teachers with parents and whānau. The impact on student learning in an initial trial was huge, producing gains higher than several years of normal teaching.55 Childen whose parents participated in the workshops showed significant on-going progress in reading.
A scaling-up tool, the Reading Together: Workshop Leader’s Handbook has been developed to support widespread use of the programme. A replication implemented by the senior leadership team of a decile 1 school achieved an effect size of 0.68 not only for the targeted children but also siblings aged 6–13 years.56
In 2008, a pilot of Reading Together is beginning that will eventually be implemented in schools with a high proportion of Māori learners.
A range of joint whānau/kura literacy programmes for Māori-medium schools are having a strong impact on children’s learning.
Five examples of programmes in relation to the school–whānau literacy context are: an intervention to assist parents and tutors to effectively help children with their reading (Tatari, Tautoko, Tauawhi); a phonological awareness programme (TATA); an intervention using elders reading in Māori language onto tapes used at school and home (RAPP); a 10-week programme where elders in the community correspond with individual children in Māori language (Tuhi Atu Tuhi Mai); and training for parents and whānau to address behavioural and learning difficulties (Hei Āwhina Mātua).
The following case study looks at what has been achieved in 2007/08 to make progress towards the Foundation Years goals of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.
Case study 2
Otara primary school links literacy success to education partnerships
Above photo of Wymondley Road School principal Tone Kolose and Otara: The Learning Community coordinator Nicky Knight.
Developing a network of successful education partnerships is one way Wymondley Road School is boosting the literacy achievement of its mostly Māori and Pasifika learners.
In 2004, the decile 1 school of around 200 students became part of a schooling improvement project called Otara: The Learning Community (OTLC), involving 13 schools in South Auckland and a network of education partnerships.
Wymondley Road School had been steadily improving the literacy and numeracy achievement of its learners since the late 1990s, when the Education Review Office (ERO) found too many students throughout South Auckland were underachieving in the crucial areas of literacy and numeracy.
ERO recommended a raft of changes, most of which were put in place through two successful projects: Strengthening Education in Mangere and Otara (SEMO) and Analysis and Use of Student Achievement Data (AUSAD).
Yet, principal Tone Kolose (who joined the school in 2002) and OTLC coordinator Nicky Knight agree that student achievement in literacy has really started to take off at Wymondley Road School in the past two years.
Reading comprehension data for 2005 show the achievement of learners in years 4 to 6 has shifted to an average score from a below-average score in the previous year (stanine 3.21 to stanine 4). Meanwhile, writing data shows a higher percentage of learners are writing at the level appropriate to their age.
Tone and Nicky attribute the results to the ongoing impact of SEMO and AUSAD on teachers’ practice, as well as the latest OTLC project, which is taking the gains an important step further.
Tone explains: “We’ve really consolidated what we’ve learned and continued to build on that. Our long-standing education partnerships are a good example of what we’ve taken into the OTLC work.”
Nicky says the partnerships are many and varied – each one crucial to lifting student achievement within this community.
Together, the partners share a common vision for their community and have agreed on what’s needed to achieve that vision. All partners have high expectations for their learners and a strong belief and commitment to discussing and using the latest research evidence to inform teaching practice.
“The partners have regular contact, with the teachers and support teachers within Otara having access to high-quality professional learning opportunities” says Nicky.
They’re also focused on enhancing the involvement of parents in education and working together using a method called co-construction to come up with joint solutions and to make decisions.
One of the partners is the Otara Boards Forum, a group of school trustees who developed a strategic vision for the Otara community and who raise, administer and monitor some education funding for their schools. The group is responsible for a series of parent education programmes and lifting the profile of literacy within their community through the popular Otara Literacy Day.
Local business and the Ministry of Education are other partners. As is a number of principal associations, who lead and implement the board’s strategic vision within their schools.
Meanwhile, academics from Auckland University’s Woolf Fisher Research Centre research and evaluate schools’ progress, upskill teachers and contribute valuable research evidence about teaching practice to each school, with the help of lead teachers and consultants like Nicky.
“It’s my role to turn the all-important research findings into something practical that classroom teachers can use,” says Nicky.
For example, Auckland University research was published last year advocating the OTLC make better use of data to improve student achievement. Nicky soon turned the theory into action.
“Our teachers were collecting data, but really needed to understand what to do with it to make the shift – so that’s been a major focus of my work,” says Nicky.
She says Wymondley Road School teachers are now expert at taking data from asTTle (Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning), PROBE (Prose Reading Observation Evaluation), running records and STAR (Supplementary Tests of Achievement in Reading) and using them to understand where students are at, why they are there and where they need to get to next.
“Using data in this way and getting into classrooms to observe and identify best practice has become embedded in everything that teachers do here. It’s an approach that’s resulted from our education partnerships. And it’s why we have data showing that more than 50% of our students in years 4 to 6 are writing at or above the national norms – this represents a significant improvement on last year,” she says.
Tone says all results are shared with their partners, enabling their wider network to celebrate success and, better still, learn and develop together.
While he’s aware partners will come and go from the network (many of the OTLC researchers are due to finish up in 2009), Tone is keen to retain the partnership approach that’s seen his school and his community flourish in recent times.
“Our children need to be literate and numerate to succeed in life – it’s clear that working effectively together is helping them achieve that.”
Home–School Partnerships: Literacy programme
The Home–School Partnerships: Literacy programme supports parents and teachers to share strategies and literacy practices (relevant to both home and school) to support children’s increased literacy achievement. The programme is based on principles of cultural inclusion and partnership in schools and involves a lead team of teachers training lead parents, some of whom may be bilingual, to work with parents from the school community.
The aims of the programme are to:
- reinforce that parents and families are one of the greatest influences on children’s learning and are essential to children’s success at school
- endorse what families and teachers are already doing for children’s literacy development
- share ways families and teachers can work together to make an even greater impact on children’s literacy development
- increase parents’ understanding of literacy and provide practical ways of helping children learn.
Although student outcomes were not included in the evaluation of 2007,57 the report looked at the experiences of whānau and found the programme has a high potential to form effective bicultural and multicultural partnerships with schools, because of the focus on first languages and the lead parent role.
Eighty per cent of schools report parental involvement is having a positive impact on children’s opportunity to learn and approximately three-quarters of the schools report some positive impact on learner’s engagement, attitudes, confidence and literacy.
Challenges identified in the evaluation include:
- giving parents more confidence to engage with session leaders about their home literacy practices
- helping teachers realise the importance of the contribution parents can make to teachers’ knowledge and understanding of children’s home literacy experiences and practices
- increasing teachers’ abilities to incorporate learners’ out-of-school literacy experiences into classroom programmes and practices.
2.4: Looking ahead
To deliver the goal of increased participation in high-quality ECE for all children and for all communities, the ministry will shift the balance of focus in our investments from national to local, and from universal to tailored. The ministry will develop locally-based strategies in areas such as South Auckland where participation in ECE is disproportionately low, that are tailored for those children, families and whānau not currently participating fully in high-quality ECE .
A stage 2 evaluation of the ECE strategic plan will run until 2012. This evaluation will assess whether the three goals of the strategic plan (increased participation, quality and collaboration) have been achieved. The sample of services will include kōhanga reo and other services with a high proportion of Māori children.
In order to better understand what makes for a successful transition to school, the ministry will undertake a synthesis of research. This will include a focus on what existing research says about transition to school for Māori children, including Māori-medium ECE into non-Māori-medium schools, and vice versa, and any issues around bilingualism. This research synthesis will inform any other work in this area.
The ministry will also support whānau and their children to make an effective transition to school through the provision of resources and information programmes to whānau.
In 2009, the ministry will focus on better supporting ECE services to promote and reinforce Māori cultural distinctiveness in the context of their teaching and learning environments. Further work will be done on the Kei Tua o te Pae/ Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars project. An evaluation of the professional development supporting the implementation of this resource found evidence of strengthened socio-cultural assessment practice. However, bicultural assessment practices were rare in assessment documentation. This was acknowledged as a low focus area of assessment practice development in the sample services. Many services reflected New Zealand’s bicultural society in their day-to-day curriculum and teaching practices but this was not often reflected in individual assessments. This is an area for further focus and development in the 2008 and 2009 years.
A review of the Literacy Strategy for English-medium schools will focus on ensuring that teaching is as effective as possible and that effective interventions are available for those who require them the most. Another 100 schools have started on the LPDP, and will finish in December 2009. The contract for the project will be re-tendered in 2009 for 2010/13. Current funding allows about 100 schools per cohort. The LPDP model and learning has been used to inform the professional development work of the School Support Services (SSS) to build capability to deliver similar outcomes.
The ministry will focus on strengthening the participation of whānau in their children’s learning in the early years at school through the roll out of programmes that develop strong home–school literacy partnerships. For example, the English-medium Reading Together programme will eventually be operating in 300 schools with a high proportion of Māori learners. Other programmes are the Māori-medium Poutama Pounamu work and iwi education plans and initiatives.
The ministry will continue to provide web-based and print information, tools and face-to-face support to help whānau become involved with education in 2008/09.
- further Te Mana and Team-Up television and radio advertising
- a revised Team-Up website and new booklets to increase understanding of how parents can support the key competencies in the new curriculum and to assist stronger teacher–parent collaboration and more productive interactions
- pouwhakataki will focus on providing face-to-face engagement with whānau around particular learning activities specifically connected to other ministry initiatives.
This section includes the latest data relevant to foundation years.
Table 1: Number of early childhood education services by type of service, 2001/07
Table 2: Number of Māori children enrolled in early childhood education by type of service, 2001/07
Table 3: Number of enrolments in ECE by type of service and gender, Māori and total, 2007
Table 4: Percentage of year 1 learners who attended ECE, Māori and non-Māori, 2001/07
Table 5: Percentage of year 1 learners who attended ECE, by regional council, Māori and total, 2007
Table 6: Number of teaching staff in licensed ECE services by type of service and gender, Māori and total, 2007
Graph 1: Percentage of year 1 learners who attended ECE, Māori and non-Māori, 2001/07
Graph 2: Māori learners and teachers in licensed ECE, as a percentage of total learners and teachers, 2001/07
Graph 3: Number of registered ECE teachers, Māori and non-Māori, 2002/07
Graph 2: Māori learners and teachers in licensed ECE, as a percentage of total learners and teachers, 2001/07
- Mitchell et al. (2008).
Wylie & Hodgen (2007).
- Mitchell et al. (2008).
- Wylie & Hipkins (2006).
- Ministry of Education (2003).
- Mitchell & Hodgen (2008).
- Robertson (2007).
- Dixon et al. (2007).
- Mitchell et al (2008).
- New Zealand Council for Educational Research and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust (2006).
- Specific teacher education qualification for teachers in kōhanga reo.
- Mitchell & Hodgen (2008).
- Education Review Office (2008).
- Ministry of Education (forthcoming).
Ministry of Education (2006b).
Ministry of Education (2003).
- Mitchell et al. (2008).
- Stuart et al. (June 2008).
- Victoria University of Wellington (2007).
- Mitchell et al. (2008).
- ‘Behaviour needs’ is defined as high rates of aggression, non-compliance, defiance, oppositional and impulsive behaviours.
- Rubie-Davies et al. (2006); Tunmer et al. (2003); Wylie & Hipkins (2006).
- Peters (2004).
- Ministry of Education, Group Special Education (GSE) (2005).
- Toolbox parenting courses
- Auckland University (2007).
- Wylie & Hipkins (2006).
- McNaughton et al. (2000); Rubie-Davies et al. (2006); Turoa et al. (2004).
- Turoa et al. (2004).
- Chamberlain (forthcoming).
- Ministry of Education (2006a).
- The average effect sizes from LPDP were 1.90 for reading and 2.50 for writing (a significant effect size is around 0.4 and a large one is around 0.6, so an effect size of over 1 is extremely high).
- Young-Loveridge (2007).
- Tagg & Thomas (2007).
- Learning Media Ltd (2008).
- Davis (2007).
- Wylie & Arago-Kemp (2004). Robinson et al. (forthcoming)
- Alton-Lee (2003).
- McDowall et al. (2005).
- Parr (2004).
- From the asTTLe finding of a 0.35 effect size for a year’s teaching effect in New Zealand, compared to a 0.44 effect size for five hours of the Reading Together intervention with parents.
- Tuck et al. (2007).
- Brooking & Roberts (2007).
- Message from the Secretary for Education
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Foundation Years
- Chapter 3: Young People Engaged in Learning
- Chapter 4: Māori Language Education
- Chapter 5: Organisational Success
- Summary of National and International Assessment Tools and Achievement Data
For more publication-related information, please email the: Information Officer Mailbox