Achieving citizenship for all: How can a kindergarten community of practice support the active participation of a disabled child and their family?
This dissertation explores the ways in which one kindergarten community of practice supports the active participation of a disabled child and their family. It gives a full explanation of active participation as being ecological, pedagogic, equitable and inclusive, and suggests what this might look like in practice according to the literature. To explore the research question “How can a kindergarten community of practice best support the active participation of a disabled child and their family?”, I took an ethnographic case study approach in conjunction with a social constructivist methodological rationale. Observations of a focus child were conducted at the kindergarten site as well as that of bush kindy over a period of 4 weeks, and were augmented by the use of semi-structured interviews which were conducted with the focus child's parents as well as the kindergarten teaching team. The findings demonstrate the elements of active participation identified in the Huakina Mai model – ecological, pedagogic, equitable and inclusive – were supported by the kindergarten community of practice in a way that enabled the focus child and their family to be fully included as well as realise and practice citizenship. The second part explores the prevalent themes of learner identity, pedagogical approaches, mana tangata and mana whenua (contribution and belonging), and the environment as the third teacher that arose from data analysis. These provide rich contextual information that extends our understanding of what active participation, inclusion and citizenship for all can look like in an everyday early childhood setting as a matter of fundamental human rights. The significance of this research in offering a unique perspective on, and definition of, the active participation of disabled children and their families in inclusive early childhood settings is offered in conclusion.
Advisor: Gaffney, Michael
Degree Name: Master of Education
Degree Discipline: College of Education
Keywords: citizenship; early childhood education; active participation; inclusion; disability
Research Type: Dissertation