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Generating Waves: Innovation in Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education Centres of Innovation (COIs) were established in 2002 as part of the 10-year plan for early childhood education, Pathways to the Future/Ngä Huarahi Arataki. In COI projects, innovative early childhood centres reflect on and investigate their practices through action research, and share their findings with the wider education community.

Generating Waves is about the transforming influence of COIs. Not only have COIs revolutionised their own thinking, the practitioner-researchers have shared their discoveries with thousands through websites, publications, open days, conferences and talks. The fact that it is teachers talking research and innovation to practitioners invites open dialogue between presenters and audience, generating waves that ripple through education communities.

The six COIs featured reflect on their research discoveries and their dissemination journeys. For KidsFirst Bush Street Kindergarten and Botany Downs Kindergarten, their dissemination processes influenced their thinking and the direction of their research. Massey Child Care Centre added a unique approach to their dissemination by forging a longer term relationship with two buddy centres, with whom they had formal dialogues about effective leadership practices. Te Köpae Piripono and Te Märua/Mangaroa Playcentre’s findings centre on entering into collaborative dialogues with different groups of parents that seldom enter the sphere of early childhood services—fathers, and parents with their first-born babies. Citizens Preschool and Nursery found that, as they investigated how to improve support to the families at their centre, what worked were often the little things that strengthened relationships. All Round One and Two COI final research reports are available on