Early childhood education Centres of Innovation (COIs) were announced in 2002 as part of the New Zealand Government’s 10-year plan for early childhood education policy: Pathways to the Future/ Ngä Huarahi Arataki (Ministry of Education, 2002).
Centres of Innovation are to:
- build the use of innovative approaches that result in improved early childhood learning and teaching based on Te Whäriki (Ministry of Education, 1996)
- facilitate action research, with the help of researchers, to show the results the innovative approaches have on learning and teaching
- share the knowledge, understanding , and models of practice with others in the early childhood sector and parents/whänau.
In 2003 the first six COIs (round One) were selected. In this publication, Catching the Waves, the teachers collectively tell their stories about change and innovation. Reading the stories told by the centres, it is clear that all the COIs had teachers/ educators/ kaimahi who felt empowered to take action about their own actions. They seized opportunities- caught a wave, did not let it tumble them about, and did not wade out to shore. Those taking action were motivated by their kaupapa or by an aim to improve their practice in order to enhance children’s growth, development, and cultural identity.