Freshly updated in 2019, the third edition of Politics in the Playground: The world of early childhood in Aotearoa New Zealand is a lively history of early childhood education and care in Aotearoa New Zealand in the postwar era. The book follows on from Discovery of Early Childhood (1997, 2013), which traced the origins of institutional care and education for young children in Europe, US and New Zealand prior to state interest and serious investment.
This latest edition brings the story right up to date with developments under the Labour coalition government of Jacinda Ardern.
The place of children in New Zealand's social history makes this book a remarkable record of social movements. The postwar search for security, the radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s, the rise of feminism, the role of the state in social issues, increasing employment of women ' all have impacted on early childhood education. The language of the debate has shifted from 'social progress' in mid-century, to the economic terminology of the 1990s, some cautious consideration of the young child citizen in the 2000s, followed by the rhetoric of 'risk', the 'vulnerable child' and a new story in this revised edition covering the 2010s.
This is an account of critical issues for young children that will interest parents, policymakers, teachers and students.
Helen May is the Dean of the University of Otago College of Education. She began her career as a primary school teacher in the mid-1960s, worked in childcare in the 1970s, and began tertiary teaching in the 1980s. During the early 1990s she worked with Margaret Carr on the development of Te Whariki, New Zealand's first national curriculum for early childhood education. In 1995, she was appointed to the first New Zealand professorial chair in Early Childhood Education at Victoria University Wellington and in 2005 she was appointed Professor of Education at the University of Otago. She has published six books as sole author.
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