Lynn’s experience in the early childhood sector has been as a teacher and Centre Manager. Since 2008 Lynn has worked with inquiry research either as a teacher supported by ELP or as an ELP Facilitator supporting others to strengthen their understanding of teaching and learning therefore creating better outcomes for children. Inquiry research structured around RBA questions that ask: Where are we now? How will we work together? How will we get there? How will we measure progress? What have we learnt?, have drawn teachers and whānau into meaningful conversations that have stretched teaching practices, created authentic partnerships and provide evidence of shifts in practice.
Ehara taku toa, i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.
My success should not be bestowed onto me alone, as it was not individual success, but success of a collective.
Statement on Lynn’s interest in quality teaching and learning
Lynn is particularly enthusiastic about community and relationships, believing that assessment, especially Learning Stories, can bring about a deeper connectedness between those within the early childhood community and beyond. Lynn acknowledges that research shows collaboration between the parent, the child and the teacher creates multiple perspectives of the child, which allows for deeper, more meaningful learning for all involved.
There are many curriculum areas that Lynn has focused on since starting with ELP in 2012. Through individual centre support and wider cluster based professional learning Lynn has provide thoughtful provocation for teachers to stretch their knowledge and practice in areas of infants and toddlers, leadership, literacy, mathematics, bicultural practice and deeply understanding the principles of Te Whāriki. Also through inquiry research Lynn has supported teachers to thoughtfully align their local curriculum to Te Whāriki as they take into consideration:
- cultural perspectives
- structural differences
- organisational differences
- different environments
- philosophical emphases
- different resources dependent on setting
- local community participation
- age range of children.
Strengthen continuity across early childhood and primary school
Taking the idea of collaboration and conversations through Learning Story assessment has allowed Lynn to support teachers in both primary and the early childhood sectors to create continuity of learning for children. At the heart of developing wonderful pathways to school is the notion of strong triadic relationship between teachers from both sectors, whānau and children. Supporting teachers within ECE and primary to create a shared language of learning through Learning Story assessment conversations and hui is something Lynn has passionately engaged in with main teachers throughout New Zealand.
Strengthening Kaupapa Māori
Regardless of the internal evaluation focus Lynn has supported teachers to include reflection on language, culture and identity into their inquiry research question. Considering the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitanga, and the words of Ka Hikitia and Tātaiako broadens the inquiry and ensures that teachers are strengthening their bicultural practices in an embedded way.
Lynn has a strong personal and professional commitment to see tamariki build resilience through acceptance, acknowledgement and celebration of their culture, language and identity. Lynn’s mokopuna and children whakapapa to Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Maniapoto. While Lynn acknowledges the cultural heritage of her whānau she understand the she cannot be and expert in their culture. This knowledge enables her to support teachers to “shift their practice from a view of themselves as ‘experts’ to a view of themselves as facilitators of culturally inclusive practice (Ritchie, 2003:17), characterised by collaboration and genuine power sharing (Ka Hikitia, 2008)”. (Ngā Taonga Whakaako: Bicultural competence in early childhood, Williams, Broadly & Te-Aho, 2012)
The principles of Te Whāriki guide my practice as a facilitator – whakamana, kotahitanga, whānau tangata and ngā hononga are embedded in the way I collaborate with teachers. Understanding that these principles are relevant to all involved in early childhood in foundational to Lynn’s kaupapa on teaching and learning for all ages.
Lynn has lead a centre as the Centre Manager, not a title she would use, but what Lynn would call herself was Centre Kaitiaki. Leadership belongs to everyone, a quote from Sergiovanni, and when it does there is collective ownership for the professional practice in the centre. Lynn has whole-hearted supported centres to consider how to grow a more distributed/shared leadership model knowing that this will make a difference to the outcomes for children. Fullan (2011. p.82) wrote that great leaders assist others to become leaders. Early childhood leadership should also reflect the principles of Te Whāriki. Most importantly professional trust is the basic ingredient of cooperation and this can lead to improved team collaboration, therefore growing a motivated leaderful teaching team.