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Exploring learning-partnerships using Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) longitudinal data

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Project contact person(s): 

NZCER has been awarded an MSD contract to undertake a research project focused on exploring learning partnerships using data from the Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) study.   

The aim is to develop a deeper understanding about the extent and nature of good quality learning partnerships between parents/whānau/caregivers and education providers (early learning services, schools, kura), and how such partnerships can best support student wellbeing and learning. 

The research will be led by NZCER with a completion date in January 2021. The Ministry of Education (through Paul Aitken) is the named policy partner for the work.

Findings will be made available on the Growing up in New Zealand website here.

Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ)

Growing Up in New Zealand is New Zealand's contemporary longitudinal study, tracking the development of approximately 7,000 New Zealand children from before birth until they are young adults. The total sample includes approximately 1,000 Pasifika students, 1,300 Māori students, and 160 students who attended kōhanga reo. 

The study is designed to provide unique information about what shapes children’s early development and how interventions might be targeted at the earliest opportunity to give every New Zealand child the best start in life. The data available for this study is from when the children were 54 and 72 months of age.

Research Questions

1. What is the picture of good learning partnerships (culture valued, good communication, feeling welcomed and supported) between mothers and their child’s early learning service (at age 54 months) and between mothers and their child’s school (at age 72 months)? 

2. How are good learning partnerships between mothers and early learning services/ schools/kura related to: 

  • child factors (ethnicity, special needs, order in family)
  • maternal factors (security of cultural identity and language use, maternal self-efficacy and confidence, parenting values, support for child’s learning at home, education level, material hardship, family type, family size, maternal age at child’s birth).

In particular, what patterns do we see for mothers of Māori children, mothers of Pacific children, mothers of Asian children, and mothers of children with special needs? 

3. How are good learning partnerships between mothers and early learning services related to school readiness outcomes and maternal satisfaction with their child’s learning (at 54 months)? 

How are good learning partnerships between mothers and school/kura related to maternal satisfaction with their child’s learning (at 72 months)?

4. Is there continuity of good learning partnerships between early learning service and school? Is continuity or the lack of it related to aspects of the transition to school, and/or other variables associated with the mother or child? 

Reporting will include:

  • a research report  
  • communications content 
  • a policy brief 
  • a seminar presentation. 

Policy relevance

Parent/whānau/caregiver partnerships with education providers is increasingly emphasised in education policy as a key lever to improve children’s wellbeing, engagement and learning outcomes. This policy interest is matched by whānau voices in the Education Conversations | Kōrero Mātauranga consultations and reviews. Parents and whānau want their child’s early learning service/school/kura to be responsive to their needs and values, and to communicate well with them. They want to have a real partnering voice in what happens for their child in the early learning service/ school/kura.