The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogies of Place: Some Considerations for Early Childhood Care and Education in a Superdiverse ‘Bicultural’ Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Angel Chan, Jenny Ritchie


National education policy must respond to demographic changes.  In Aotearoa (New Zealand), recent immigration policy changes have resulted in the new challenge of superdiversity, which is overlaid in a bicultural context of the longstanding impacts of the colonisation of the Indigenous Māori.  The lack of equity in this ‘bicultural’ arrangement remains to be fully resolved due to the dominance of the settler culture. The early childhood care and education sector requires of its teachers a deep cultural understandings of and engagement with all those children and families present in the education settings. This article provides a discussion of the dilemma of superdiversity faced by a ‘bicultural’ education policy environment. It then describes the results of a study that utilised a process of documentary analysis to critically examine the macro- and micro-level policy statements and reports with regard to bicultural and cultural diversity matters in early childhood care and education settings in Aotearoa (New Zealand).   The implications of the findings point to challenges faced by teachers when translating policy commitments into pedagogical enactment. The findings suggest that it is important for teachers to not only engage deeply with the Indigenous Māori language, culture, and local histories of connectedness with place, but that this engagement should also be made available to immigrant children and families.  Teachers can engage with immigrant families’ important stories and histories of connectedness to the special places of their homelands.  The paper concludes with discussion of recommendations regarding the need for both pre-service and in-service education for teachers in relation to these important issues of equity, social justice, culture, diversity and place-connectedness.


superdiversity; early childhood care and education; critical pedagogies of place

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