Grant opens way for expert

Last updated 12:00 11/02/2014

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An around-the-world trip is on offer for a Palmerston North early childhood education expert after scooping a prestigious study grant.

Massey University's Christine Lepper, director of early childhood professional development at the Centre for Educational Development, has won the Margaret Blackwell travel fellowship.

The $16,000 grant will see her travel to Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia to visit early childhood centres and meet leading researchers.

Ms Lepper will explore international approaches to early childhood education - looking at developing language, culture and identity in diverse communities - and how different professional development philosophies could help Kiwi teachers.

She starts in Italy with a Reggio Emilio study tour in April, then visits the Pen Green Centre in the UK, MacEwan University in Canada and finishes at the Australian Catholic University of Melbourne.

Ms Lepper said she was keen to learn more about the Reggio Emilio approach because several early childhood centres in New Zealand used it.

"The Reggio Emilio approach positions children as equal citizens in society and recognises that the child makes a valued contribution to the community from a very early age," she said.

"I'm very passionate about exploring it, and I'm sure I'll bring back new experiences and insights."

Her UK experience will focus on Pen Green's parent education and empowerment philosophy, and in Canada and Australia she will work with researchers on teachers' assessment practices and professional learning.

Ms Lepper's tour will also look at how teachers tune into children's learning, how they share information with families and how they develop curriculums.

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- Manawatu Standard

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