Anti-racism commitment in early childhood education: The limits of cultural competency

Type of content
Journal Article
Thesis discipline
Degree name
SAGE Publications
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Azarmandi M, Mahdis
Delaune, Andrea
Surtees, Nicola
Te Rongopatahi, Kari Moana

jats:p Racism is pervasive in education in Aotearoa New Zealand, including in early childhood education. The preparedness of early childhood teachers to respond to the Ministry of Education's current anti-racism policy direction is a pressing concern. This is particularly the case, given the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa offers little guidance to support early childhood teachers to develop anti-racism pedagogies. This primarily theoretical article seeks to contribute to dialogue with early childhood teachers about both racism and anti-racism pedagogies. The theoretical arguments advanced in the article focus on document analysis of Te Whāriki. Analysis includes consideration of the themes of inclusion, equity and social justice. It also includes consideration of what these themes might imply about expectations for early childhood teachers’ uptake of anti-racism approaches in their practice. Document analysis is supplemented by limited preliminary survey data drawn from the initial findings of the Anti-racism Commitment in Early Childhood Education: Pathways to Inclusion, Equity and Social Justice (ARC-ECE) study. Drawing from race-critical scholarship to further advance the theoretical arguments, the article highlights tensions in early childhood teachers’ understandings about racism. The limits of narrow definitions of racism that explain it as the result of ‘cultural difference’ are explored. In making a case for thinking beyond cultural competence and culturally responsive practice, the article calls for an immediate rethinking of racism in (and beyond) the sector. </jats:p>

Azarmandi M, Delaune A, Surtees N, Te Rongopatahi KM Anti-racism commitment in early childhood education: The limits of cultural competency. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood.
early childhood education, racism, anti-racism, cultural competency, anti-racism pedagogies
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
39 - Education::3903 - Education systems::390302 - Early childhood education
47 - Language, communication and culture::4702 - Cultural studies::470212 - Multicultural, intercultural and cross-cultural studies
© The Author(s) 2023 CC BY-NC