KEI HEA TE ORA? THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN IN THE EARLY CHILDHOOD CURRICULUM OF AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND
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The policies and practices of early childhood teaching in Aotearoa New Zealand have been an ongoing site of political, economic, social and cultural contestation. Competing values and beliefs regarding experiences of both the child and the teacher have been central to the contesting. Helen May (2001, 2009) tracks these tensions through the waxing and waning of particular landscapes or paradigms, each of which can be seen to have contributed to the growth of the early childhood sector, its purpose, operations, manifestations, and its arguably tenuous cohesion as an educational sector. This paper provides a brief overview of the various paradigms, their purposes, and their spheres of influence before analysing the discourses of child health in relation to the early childhood curriculum. Health is woven into the strands and principles of Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education [MoE], 1996). Yet, this paper questions whether teachers and student teachers are attuned to what it means to have health as a key part of the curriculum, and explores whether health is a marginal consideration in the curriculum. The paper engages Foucault’s work, exploring tensions between pedagogical and medical disciplines in relation to the professionalization of early childhood teaching. The idea of holism is then discussed as an approach to early childhood education curriculum discussions with reference to the participatory approaches to the development of Te Whāriki.
87 – 102
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