Brenda Soutar and I were invited to join Rukia Rogers in presenting a programme to the Bagwell College of Education at the Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. This event was held in conjunction with the International Alliance for Invitational Education as part of their focus on New Zealand education. It would be their special Spotlight Event.
For the past 35 years, Kennesaw State University has dedicated each academic year to the study of a particular country or region introducing thousands of students to the rich diversity of world cultures that make up the human family. The award-winning program plays a vital role internationalizing our campus and engaging local and global communities. Annually, it results in new courses and curriculum, research projects, education abroad programs, and global partnerships. The ACSP series of lectures, panels, performances, exhibits, seminars and conferences help students break down stereotypes, build connections across cultures, and develop the intercultural competencies needed to act responsibly in today’s complex interdependent world.
The programme for our spotlight event was as follows:
I. Introductions and Welcome (Linda Grant and Debra Coffey)
II. Overview of the ACSP “Year of…” Initiative (Global Education rep)
III. The Story of Te Whᾱriki (History) of the Te Whᾱriki Curriculum Approach in New Zealand (Brenda Soutar)
How did this approach to early education evolve?
What are the social and political processes that made it possible?
Overview of Te Whāriki
What are the Principles and Strands of Te Whāriki?
How and why do these form the foundation of early education?
What is Kaupapa Theory and how is in integrated?
What is Kaupapa Assessment?
IV. Learning Stories (Wendy Lee)
What is a Learning Story?
What is the philosophical approach called Learning Stories?
What are the key components?
V. The Highlander School - Atlanta Interpretations of New Zealand’s Approach to Early Childhood Education (Rukia Rogers)
VI. Closing Questions and Answers (Linda Grant/Debra Coffey)
It was an absolute pleasure to participate in this event at the Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. In particular it was inspiring to listen to Rukia Rogers from the Highlander School share stories of her place. I am including here information from their website so you get a feeling for the history and vision of the Highlander School. The conception of this school began as a conversation in the summer of 2007, surrounding the boundless possibilities of early childhood education in the Atlanta Metro Area. The school’s founder was deeply committed to creating a programme that addressed the need for quality care and innovative approaches to early childhood education, while fostering children’s awareness and respect for the environment and the natural world. They were inspired to fashion a community of learners, where children are viewed as “citizens of today.” They envision a world where every child is able to dream and reach his or her fullest potential. This optimism to leave the world better than they had found it was the inspiration for their name. The Highlander School draws on the rich and vibrant culture of the southeast and honours the Highlander Folk School of Tennessee, founded in 1932, to educate and empower adults for social change. Students such as Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis and others flocked to the school as it acted as a safe haven for dialogue and non-violent resistance to social injustices. Their hope and illuminating dream is that The Highlander School will embody this same spirit of freedom and cultivate a community of learners who are thirsty for knowledge. I think it is safe to say that all that was shared with us on that day totally embodied the spirit of Rukia’s presentation. Quite fabulous. You can find out more about this wonderful school by visiting their website www.Highlanderschool.com