Current Projects

Ko te tākaro te kauwaka e pakari ake ai te tangata| Cultural pluralism for play based pedagogy: Developing and implementing an indigenised framework for play in a primary school.

Project Lead

Sarah Aiono, Longworth Education

Collaborating Partners

Tineka Tuala-Fata, Te Whai Hiringa–Peterhead School; Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated; and Tara McLaughlin Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa–Massey University

Project Funding

Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI), New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Ministry of Education

What’s The Project About?

Te Whai Hiringa – Peterhead School is focused on addressing systemic racism and building culturally sustaining teacher pedagogy. Working to indigenise their local curriculum, the school has prioritised home, culture and whānau experiences in their learning materials. Play pedagogy has been identified as a useful approach for ākonga (students) and whānau (family) as they transition to school. With little Aotearoa New Zealand research available addressing the position of play within a culturally sustaining approach to teaching, this project aims to identify how play pedagogy can be used to foster the school’s values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga and māramatanga and honour the goals of mana whenua – whānau, hapū, and iwi. Using design-based research, project partners will work together to develop an indigenised framework for play including observation and reflection tools and professional learning supports to enhance kaiako (teacher) practice and ākonga learning.

Project Reports and Publications

Jeffares, M. (2022, December 14). Te Whai Hiringa Peterhead gets $200,000 research grant for indigenous play-based learning. Hawkes Bay Today. [link to article]

Person-centred analysis of children's learning and development data underpinned by the principles of Te Whariki: An exploration of latent subgroup approaches

Project Lead: Tara McLaughlin

Collaborating Partners: Ellen Zeng (Doctoral Student Massey); Dr Joanne Allen (consultant); Dr. Rachael Pond (Massey); with GUINZs research team members Drs. Te Kani Kingi, Elizabeth Peterson, and Annette Henderson. Policy partner: Ministry of Education Early Learning.

Project Funding: Child and Family Research Fund; MSD

What’s the project about?

The project seeks to support a holistic, strengths-based, culturally responsive understanding of children’s learning and development using data about 4.5 years olds from the Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) study. To this end, we will advance the use of person-centred analysis techniques to identify latent subgroups of children with shared patterns of learning and developmental characteristics. A key objective of the project is to strengthen and support translational quantitative research capacity and appropriate use of data within early childhood education in Aotearoa.

Past Projects

Kōwhiti Whakapae Iteration: Social-Emotional

Project Lead

Ministry of Education

Collaborating Partners

Tara McLaughlin, Sue Cherrington, Linda Clarke, Vicki Gifkins, and Karen MacKay

Project Funding

Ministry of Education

What’s The Project About?

This consulting contract includes three main objectives. First, general, consultation for the Kōwhiti Whakapae online resource development/framing and overarching organisation of online version of the resource. Revision and updates for social-emotional practices and progress content based on feedback from pilot. Continued development of development social emotional practice content and narrative assessment exemplars for children’s learning.

Embedded Instruction for Early Learning: Aotearoa

Project Lead

Tara McLaughlin

Collaborating Partners

Patricia Snyder, University of Florida; and Gaylyn Campbell and Robyn Vine-Adie, Ruahine Kindergarten Association

Project Funding

Massey University Strategic Research Excellence Fund (SREF) and Massey University Research Fund (MURF)

What’s The Project About?

Embedded instruction is a systematic and intentional approach to providing instructional support during ongoing play, activities, and routines for children who have additional learning support needs. The project will focus on the development of New Zealand based approaches to embedded instruction and professional learning and development (PLD) approaches with and without coaching. Embedded instruction and PLD supports will be examined through a series of comparative case studies.

HCK Oral Language Development

Project Lead

Claire Fouhy, Hutt City Kindergarten Association

Collaborating Partners

Tara McLaughlin and Sue Cherrington

Project Funding

HealthCare Plus Chartiable Education Grants

What’s The Project About?

The project focuses on using data to enhance intentional teaching of communication, oral language, and the mana reo strand of Te Whāriki. The project is designed as a series of data-supported teacher inquiries to enhance teacher knowledge of children’s oral language and communication and foster a culture of formative assessment and effective data use to provide better outcomes for children’s learning.

Project Reports and Publications

AKO writer. (2023). Capturing communication. AKO: The Akoranga Issue, Summer, 20-28. https://akojournal.org.nz/2023/02/22/capturing-communication/

Education Gazette editors. (2022). Intentional teaching supports effective language development. Education Gazette, 14, 101, 5-9. https://gazette.education.govt.nz/articles/intentional-teaching-supports-effective-language-development/  

Kōwhiti Whakapae Development and Social-Emotional

Project Lead

Tara McLaughlin and Sue Cherrington

Collaborating Partners
Karyn Aspden, Rachel Beazley, Carmen Dalli, Huinga Jackson-Greenland, Lesley Rameka, and Fa’asaulala (Salā) Tagoilelagi-Leota. The project team were supported by project administrators, critical friends, and a sector reference group.

Project Funding

Ministry of Education

What’s The Project About?

This project focused on the development of Kōwhiti Whakapae which is a resource to help kaiako strengthen formative assessment and teaching practice within the framework of Te Whāriki He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa. Kōwhiti Whakapae is designed to help kaiako attend to individual children’s progress in order to identify ways to deepen or strengthen children’s learning through effective teacher practice.

Kōwhiti Whakapae is embedded in Te Ao Māori cultural perspectives, at the same time as focusing on key areas of learning and development which have life-course significance for all children. These areas are connected across the principles, strands, and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki.

Data, Knowledge, Action: Exploring Sustained Shared Thinking to Deepen Young Children’s Learning

Project Lead

Tara McLaughlin

Collaborating Partners
Lynda Hunt, Sue Cherrington, Karyn Aspden, Claire McLachlan, Vicki Gifkins, Gaylyn Campbell, and Robyn-Vine Adie

Project Funding

Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI), New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Ministry of Education.

What’s The Project About?

Sustained Shared Thinking (SST) involves teachers engaging with children in play, working together in back and forth conversations that provide opportunities to discuss, explore, and think about everyday experiences, problems or challenges in an inquisitive and extended way. Internationally, research suggests SST is critical for high-quality pedagogy as a pathway to deepen children’s learning. Research also shows SST can be complex and nuanced. To address this complexity, the project uses innovative data tools to investigate the nature and frequency of teacher-child SST with a focus on extending these powerful interactions in two settings. The Data, Knowledge, Action projects are guided by the premise that effective data can lead to knowledge and knowledge can lead to action for improved teaching and learning.

Project Reports and Publications

McLaughlin, T., Cherrington, S., McLachlan, C., Aspden, K., Hunt, L., & Gifkins, V. (2022).  Data, knowledge, action: Exploring sustained shared thinking to deepen young children’s learning. TLRI Final Report. [link to article]

Impact of Consistent, Intentional Teaching on Children’s Social-Emotional Competence

Project Lead

Karen Mackay, Best Start Palmerston North

Collaborating Partners

Tara McLaughlin and Monica Cameron

Project Funding

Teacher-Led Innovation Fund (TLIF), Ministry of Education

What’s The Project About?

Children’s emerging social-emotional competence, including self-regulation has been identified in research as critical for developing strong foundations in their first 5 years of life. The project focuses on strengthening teacher confidence and consistent use of intentional strategies to support children’s social and emotional competence. Developing practical tools and processes for teachers to reflect on their own practice, have their practice observed by a project teacher-leader, gather and record information about children’s social-emotional skills, and use this information to inform planning and partnering with whānau are key aspects of the work.

Project Reports and Publications

MacKay, K. (2019).  First Steps Palmerston North (TLIF 4-069) – Unpacking a puzzle of practice: Exploring ways to support consistent, intentional teaching to promote children’s social-emotional competence. [Project advisor and key contributor] [link to article]

Nurturing Mindfulness and Social-Emotional Competence in Early Childhood to Support Competent, Confident, and Resilient Learners

Project Lead

Monica Bay Waters, Totara Park Kindergarten, He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association

Collaborating Partners

Tara McLaughlin and Karyn Aspden

Project Funding

Teacher-Led Innovation Fund (TLIF), Ministry of Education

What’s The Project About?

Drawing on established practices from Te Whāriki, social-emotional teaching and learning approaches, and mindfulness programmes, the project aims to develop a local and targeted approach to supporting tamariki to be competent, confident, and resilient learners. Project-developed tools and resources to support teachers to reflect on practice, gather information about children’s learning, and partner with families to gather information about and support children’s social-emotional learning and use of mindfulness practices are key aspects of this work.

Project Reports and Publications

Ministry of Education (2021). Tōtara Park Kindergarten (TLIF 5-024) – Nurturing mindfulness and social-emotional competence in early childhood to support competent, confident, and resilient learners. [Project advisor and key contributor] [link to article]

Embedded Instruction for Early Learning California Project

Project Lead

Patricia Snyder and Mary McLean, University of Florida

 

Project Consultant

Tara McLaughlin

 

Project Funding

Department of Special Education Programs, California State Department of Education

 

What’s The Project About?

Embedded Instruction is an evidence-based multi-component approach for planning, implementing, and evaluating instruction for preschool children with disabilities in inclusive settings. Participating teachers engage in the Embedded Instruction Tools for Teachers professional development and practice-based coaching program to learn about embedded instruction practices. The project team works with Local educational agencies (LEAs) across California.

Data, Knowledge, Action: A Teacher-led Inquiry into Data-Informed Teaching in Early Childhood Education

Project Lead

Lynda Hunt, Ruahine Kindergarten Association

Collaborating Partners

Tara McLaughlin and Karyn Aspden

Project Funding

Teacher-Led Innovation Fund (TLIF), Ministry of Education

What’s The Project About?

This project used teacher-led inquires to embrace and explore new and emerging technologies and range of tools to generate informative and authentic data to gain knowledge about children’s curriculum experiences and inform intentional teaching in four kindergartens settings. Each team identified a key area of curriculum to explore and worked with critical friends and partner teacher-researchers to collect, analyse, make sense of, and use data to support planning and promote positive child outcomes. The Data, Knowledge, Action projects are guided by the premise that effective data can lead to knowledge and knowledge can lead to action for improved teaching and learning.

Project Reports and Publications

Ministry of Education (2020). Ruahine Kindergarten Association (TLIF 4-016) – Data, knowledge, action: A teacher-led inquiry into data-informed teaching in early childhood education. [Project advisor and key contributor] [link to article]

Examining Teaching Practices to Promote Children’s Learning and Social-Emotional Competence in Early Childhood

Principle Investigator

Tara McLaughlin

 

Co-Investigators

Claire McLachlan and Karyn Aspden

 

Project Funding

Massey University Research Fund (MURF)

 

What’s The Project About?

The project used a multi-phase, mixed-methods approach to examine, develop, compare, refine, and validate teaching practices that promote children’s learning and social-emotional competence. The work resulted in a Teaching Practice List available on this website under teacher resources.

Examining Teaching Practices to Promote Children’s Learning and Social-Emotional Competence in Early Childhood - Infants and Toddlers

Principle Investigator

Karyn Aspden

 

Co-Investigators

Tara McLaughlin
Project Funding

Massey University Research Fund (MURF)

 

What’s The Project About?

The project used a multi-phase, mixed-methods approach to examine, develop, compare, refine, and validate teaching practices that promote infant’s and toddler’s learning and social-emotional competence. The work resulted in an infant and toddler Teaching Practice List available on this website under teacher resources.

Examining Learning Stories in Early Childhood Education

Principle Investigator

Tara McLaughlin

 

Co-Investigators

Monica Cameron, Karyn Aspden, Jo Dean and Massey Child Care

 

Project Funding

Massey University Research Fund (MURF)

 

What’s The Project About?

The project sought to explore quality features of learning stories identified in extant literature as well as from the perspectives of early childhood teachers. Student extensions of this work have also included the perspectives of parents.