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Inclusive Early Childhood Reading

Te Aotuuroa Taataki  book cover

Gordon-Burns, D., Gunn, A., Purdue, K. & Surtees, N.  (Eds). (2012). Te Aotuuroa Taataki – Inclusive Early Childhood Education: Perspectives on inclusion, social justice and equity from Aotearoa New Zealand. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research, NZCER Press. $39.95

This book’s  relevance includes and also extends beyond the specific topic of early childhood education. The editors and authors describe themselves as passionate about growing  inclusive (early childhood) education and socially just communities and society.

Addressing how teachers and policy makers can work for inclusion with diverse children and families, this book focuses on the development of positive attitudes to difference and diversity. It suggests possible ways to reduce and eliminate barriers to learning and participation in early childhood communities.

The authors interrogate notions of difference, inclusion and exclusion from the perspectives of Maori and cultural responsiveness, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and biculturalism, interculturalism, gender, sexualities, economic disadvantage, age, religion and disability. Each chapter is informed  by critical, human rights, bi- and socio-cultural perspectives and frameworks on education.

There is plenty of food for thought and action about  ‘inclusive education’ and what that might mean  in Aotearoa New Zealand.  The book  engages well with Te Whaariki, the Aotearoa New Zealand early childhood curriculum from  multiple, critical perspectives. This encourages  some very interesting and home grown, flax root ideas and possible directions for inclusive education here.

The book will be relevant to teachers, families, policy makers and anyone with an interest in inclusive and bicultural education.

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