Strengthening Responsive and Reciprocal Relationships in a Whānau Tangata Centre: an Action Research Project

Funding year: 
2 years
University of Waikato
ECE sector
Project start date: 
January 2007
Project end date: 
January 2009
Principal investigator(s): 
Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips
Research team members: 
Margaret Carr, University of Waikato
Research partners: 
Teachers from Taitoko Kindergarten, Levin; the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten

Project Description

This project came about after discussions with the general manager of the Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Association and Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips (University of Waikato) about setting up a research partnership to support the teachers at Taitoko Kindergarten in Levin. The teachers were establishing an integrated community centre (the whānau tangata centre) as part of a parent support and development initiative funded by the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development. The parent support and development initiative in Levin includes a drop-in centre for parents, parent workshops on topics of their choice, a well-resourced whānau room, facilities for infants and toddlers, school liaison visits and liaison with local health centres. The initiative at Taitoko is one of six pilot parent support and development projects. These pilot projects do not include any research components to evaluate the processes and outcomes for teaching and learning, or the level of engagement of the community. This TLRI research project, in one centre, researched these aspects of the initiative in an ongoing action research project.

The parent support and development contracts are a relatively new initiative for New Zealand, and this research project was designed to provide information to guide this teaching and learning policy for future similar initiatives. The aim of the TLRI research project was to investigate the development of the whānau tangata centre at Taitoko Kindergarten with teaching and learning in mind.

Project Outputs



Clarkin-Phillips J & Carr, M (2012): An affordance network for engagement: increasing parent and family agency in an early childhood education setting. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 20:2, 177-187.