Care Of Infants And Toddlers In New Zealand: Article Review

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Care of Infants and Toddlers in New Zealand


The following is an article summary and critique that focuses on the methodology and methods used in two articles namely: Alvestad, M., Duncan, J., & Berge, A. (2009). New Zealand ECE teachers talk about Te whāriki. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work6(1), 3-19, and Ebbeck, M., & Yim, H. Y. B. (2009). Rethinking attachment: Fostering positive relationships between infants, toddlers and their primary caregivers. Early Child Development and Care179(7), 899-909. The former is a qualitative research while the latter is a quantitative study but incorporated certain elements of qualitative analysis.


Marjory Ebbeck and Hoi Yin Bonnie Yim’s article examines the current theoretical underpinning, and body of study surrounding the bond between infants and their caregivers. In the face of a world whose economy is constantly burgeoning, most women have ceased being housewives, and just like the men, have assumed various positions in the international labor market. As such, for instance, in Australia, more than 300,000 children not older than 5 years old have been taken to day child care facilities where, on average, they spend up to 12, 500 hours for about five years. Intending to comprehend the importance of nurturing secure and meaningful relationships between the children and their caregivers, the duo embarked on a semi-structured interview study while incorporating views from both child-care professional and parents. Correspondingly, the research question; How can positive relationships and attachments be fostered between, infants, toddlers and primary caregivers in the child care system? Shaped the objectives and the entire study.

The research tested hypothesis on how the child care system works to provide meaningful interactions with the children. When an infant gets into the primary care system, they are assigned a different teacher. The teacher becomes the in-center expert of the child and is responsible for consistently caring for them the best way to allow them to learn in all experiences. A bond is developed between a child and its caregiver over time. Each caregiver is assigned a group of kids and another teacher to work alongside. The teacher functions as an assistant of the primary caregiver learn the routine of the children and take care of them when the main caregiver is unavailable. An uninterrupted and constant interaction between the infant and the caregiver is required to create a good relationship. The quality connection in the early years of a child sets a good foundation for their development intellectually, emotionally, socially, morally and facial expression. The child’s brain is strengthened by such interactions hence a stable relationship which breaks ground for the implementation of skills such as communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution skills. The individual objectives of this study included finding the mechanism of fostering positive relations between children and their caregivers through: assessing how often parents use the child care system, analyzing why parents opt for child care system to informal child care system, and breaking down the system that allows achieving a meaningful relationship with the children. From the data and results, the study found out that a large number of the respondents favored the use of a primary caregiver framework.

Marit Alvestad, Judith Duncan and Anita Berge’s article, on the other hand, only involved the opinions of the early childhood teacher’s and ignored those of the parents. The article presents a profound examination of understandings and opinions of nine New Zealand ECD teachers concerning elements of their curricular planning and practice associated with the implementation of the nationwide curriculum prescriptions- Te Whāriki. The study aligns itself with the research question, ‘What are New Zealand teachers’ understandings of learning, knowledge and strategies in their educational work with children and planning, and how is this related to the national curriculum?’ Initially, the system had toddlers being cared for by a various random care practice where anyone could do anything with any child at any time. Seven caregivers shared the care of 20 children and despite being down with sensitivity. The generalized affection concern was the result which was not strictly focusing on any one child there was also the use of rosters, routine, and responsibilities where teachers were allocated duties and weeklong lists. The system had turned into factory production lines were watching different children come and go was the order of the day. The objectives of this study included assessment of the interpersonal relationship between the children and their caregivers following the withdrawal of rosters, analysis of the feelings of the caregivers after removal of the rosters, evaluating the center’s caregiving practices before and after removal of rosters, and analyzing improvement in child behavior after removal of rosters. After examination of all the data, the study concluded that child care cannot be scheduled like a robotic activity as the basis of children development relies on it. Removal of duty roasters in all child care systems is very necessary for the betterment of the kids.

Critique of the Methods and Methodologies used

Ebbeck and Yim (2009) used a deductive methodology aimed to test and verify the existing theories alongside a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. Deductive research methodologies is usually preferred in cases that require testing of certain theories in line with pre-drafted research questions and clear hypotheses (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2005). Correspondingly, the study used semi-structured interviews which comprised a set of pre-determined open questions while giving the researcher a unique window of exploring certain themes or responses. In other words, it corresponds to an open-ended questionnaire which gives the interviewees an opportunity to provide responses and elaborate on their responses. Similarly, such forms of interviews allows the interviewees to raise any concerns and wholeheartedly contribute to the study through provision of complete responses.

In line with the research question in correspondence with the objectives of the study, a combination of deductive methodology and semi-structured interviews seemed to work just perfectly. It is noteworthy that both are useful tools in testing existing hypothesis given their inside-out approach; that is, generating confirmatory responses from a set of pre-determined outcomes or theories. Creswell and Plano Clark(2007) explains that the merits of using deductive approach in a quantitative research is that there is a rare flexibility in the interpretation of research where the researcher can either explain the data explicitly or implicitly in addition to the fact that it is less time consuming. The fact that there are existing theories and hypotheses makes data analysis in deductive research easier and quick. However, this is a double-edged sword. Given that there is existing body of knowledge represented by the theories and hypotheses, there is a high likelihood that the researcher may do shoddy work and fix results to match or refute the theories in cases that much work is required in data collection and analysis. While entirely unethical, such habits may pop-in, thus, reducing the reliability and validity of an inquiry. On such grounds, and given that Ebbeck and Yim (2009)’s conclusion favored the longstanding belief on the effectiveness of primary caregiver-approach, it cannot be unequivocally concluded that the research is valid and reliable on the basis of application of deductive methodology.

In spite of the shortcomings of the deductive methodology, semi-structured interviews are usually hard to manipulate once the data is collected given that the manuscripts contain the actual responses of the respondents, unless the researchers completely do away with the interview data. Since in most cases the interviews are printed, they cannot be manipulated electronically as the conversion is tedious and timewasting other than being extremely cumbersome. It is on such a backdrop that Kamil (2004) notes that a deductive quantitative research is often reliable. Semi-structured interview, either electronically recorded or handwritten often provide valuable and first-hand accounts of phenomena from the context of the respondents’ experiences. Besides, the semi-structured method’s dependence on pre-determined questions provides shape to the study, induces uniformity and eliminates any chances of confusion that may arise as a result of differing respondents’ opinions and data. Nonetheless, the article and the study uses relevant and appropriate methodologies and methods that combine to make this research a strong foundation for future studies as well as a credible knowledge pool for current child caregiving practice.

Alvestad, Duncan and Berge (2009), despite conducting a studies on the same scope of study, used entirely different methodologies and methods. In a bid to evaluate the central practices and understand attachment between infants and caregivers after the removal of duty rosters, this comparative and descriptive qualitative study employed inductive methodology. Inductive methodology, unlike its deductive counterpart, makes broad generalizations and generates new hypotheses concerning particular phenomena (Dörnyei, 2007). It bests fits comparative studies that intend to examine the similarities and differences between the available literature and actual research with a bid to establishing a unique standpoint. Alvestad et al. (2009)’s study was one such an inquiry. The inductive methodology allowed the researchers to limitlessly and freely explore the teachers’ understanding without remaining restricted to certain pre-determined questions. The study used the basic Norwegian interview guide but modified it to fit the context of Aotearoa New Zealand, thus, combining to bring a focus to and shape to the conversations. These free and overt interviews gave the researchers a large pool of data that was both diverse and relevant. The diversity in the results is one of the main strengths of a inductive methodology since it is effective in generation of strong theoretical perspectives that anchors on a wide range of evidentiary information, thus, eliminates bias or one-sidedness in the data collected. Similarly, inductive interviews strengthen the relationship between the researchers and the respondents given that the respondents often discover themselves in the course of the guided interviews (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007; Dörnyei, 2007). The fact that the respondents are completely involved makes them comfortable, free, and open with the interviewers, which improves validity and reliability of the research. Despite the collection of niceties associated with inductive interviews, Kamil (2004) notes that they could be time consuming and unreliable in the sense that they depend entirely on the respondents, without any guiding questions or pre-determined outcomes. Regardless, Alvestad, Duncan and Berge (2009, p. 6) acknowledges that it is the methodology and the methods are the ones that ‘made this study a particularly interesting one in contributing to understanding international contexts from differing perspectives and in understanding how the context both shapes the creation of and understanding of curriculum in the early years.’

Conclusively, despite the merits and demerits of the methodology and methods used in either of the study articles, it is agreeable that the studies greatly contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the field of child caregiving both in Aoteraroa, New Zealand and beyond. Besides, they both act as critical reference points for the future research. However, for improved validity and reliability, appropriate methodologies and methods ought to be used.

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Essays Stock (2024). Care of Infants and Toddlers in New Zealand: Article Review. Essays Stock.

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