Leading curriculum learning for children at NZTC Symposiums

Leading curriculum learning for children at NZTC Symposiums

Sue and Selena celebrate the launch of the He Taonga Teaching and Learning Guide at the symposiums

Early childhood education expertise was again shared at this year’s NZTC Symposium events held in Auckland and Christchurch. Leading research both nationally and globally was explored with ‘Children…The Heart of Curriculum’ at the core of the presentations.

Each year the international keynote speakers are the topic of conversation and excitement as the college has been lucky to have leading expert voices from around the world impart their knowledge. This year, Dr Sue Bredekamp, an early childhood education specialist from Washington DC, graced the New Zealand shores and she did not disappoint.

A consultant on developmentally appropriate practice, curriculum, teaching and professional development for state and national organisations in the US, Bredekamp shared the importance of a number of fundamental curriculum building skills in her keynote address.

These skills included intentional teaching strategies to cater for the individual needs of children and a research based plan that describes goals for children’s learning and development. She also noted that effective curriculum is purposeful and playful, as well as achievable and challenging (developmentally appropriate), but all must be considered within the sociocultural context.

Later in the day, Sue captivated delegates with her workshop on brain development and the implications for practice, highlighting the importance of intentional strategies to promote executive function and self-regulation.

Symposium delegates were also enthralled by Professor Claire McLachlan’s presentation on the revised Te Whāriki at the Auckland event. McLachlan shared her immense knowledge of the revisions having been one of the hand selected panel to review the curriculum updates.

McLachlan stressed that although there were no changes to the principles, strands and goals of Te Whāriki, it was “not business as usual with a bright new cover”. There were many changes including a reduction of the learning outcomes from 188 to 20, an introduction of influential theories beyond just Bronfenbrenner (1979), and a broad update to reflect the huge societal changes that have occurred over the last 20 years.

More than 150 delegates enjoyed the symposium days with feedback including:

“The most beneficial aspect of the NZTC Symposium is having the opportunity to gain knowledge that was new to me and be able to take it with me.”

“Thank you so much for the great work you put together today to help us put each individual child in the heart of our curriculum.”

“So much learning and great strategies to implement.”

NZTC Chief Executive Selena Fox commented, “It is a privilege to be able to share the experience and expertise of such a globally renowned ECE curriculum specialist like Sue with the New Zealand ECE sector at our NZTC Symposiums this year. Complementing Sue and her expertise, our Advisory Committee member Claire further prompted and encouraged us with her timely overview of the important updates made to Te Whāriki.

“We are hugely grateful to Sue for travelling such a great distance from Washington DC to share her knowledge with us. We thank her, and Claire, and all those who presented at the symposiums and attended, collaborating to dig deeper into this foundational area of curriculum for young children.”