Understanding and developing early literacy : partnerships between parents and teachers in early childhood education.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
Research highlights the critical interrelationship between the literacy events, routines and practices parents embrace in their home settings, the literacy practices of the early childhood settings and the teaching of reading at schools. In this study, I explored the understandings that two teachers and two groups of parents of young children had about literacy, as it was interwoven into centre practice. In addition to this I reviewed the partnerships that existed between the home and centre settings, particularly the aspects that related to literacy learning and how this was linked with the centre-based programme for the children's learning outcomes. This study highlights the complex issues of implementing a comprehensive curriculum base - Te Whaariki, as well as the untapped resource of the parents involved in the setting. This research work further highlights the non-specific nature of the Early Childhood Curriculum document, and the difficulties of translating the sociocultural underpinnings it contains. The findings in this study led to suggestions that may enhance literacy learning and develop stronger partnerships for the future. Firstly, that the teachers consider being involved in further professional development in both the understanding of sociocultural theory, as well as how this may be implemented - 'theory into practice'. Secondly, that there is further professional development needed in understanding and implementing 'literacy whaariki', in order to more effectively co-construct children's varying literacy pathways as they move toward the formal reading programmes of the compulsory sector. Thirdly, that effective and meaningful communication of what the curriculum is offering to children is better understood by the parents, for clarification and for strengthening the links between the settings. The intent here is not to bring the school curriculum into the early childhood setting, but rather to establish seamless and effective means in which to assist children on their life-long journey of being literate citizens.