A career of contributions to early childhood

The ongoing contributions to early childhood research by Faculty of Education Associate Professor Jenny Ritchie were acknowledged last year, when she was awarded the Bloch Distinguished Career Award at the 2016 International Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education Conference.

Jenny Ritchie
Associate Professor Jenny Ritchie

Associate Professor Ritchie’s research projects are motivated by her desire to incorporate the commitments of Te Tiriti o Waitangi into early childhood education. Her research focuses on early childhood care and education, civic education and social, cultural and ecological sustainability.

She says she was “humbled” to win the Bloch Distinguished Career Award.

“The former recipients of the award are people whose work I totally admire, and they’re all such excellent critical scholars and theoreticians—the theoretical lenses they use to challenge assumptions are amazing.”

Associate Professor Ritchie is co-director of an international collaborative project funded by the Spencer Foundation of Chicago, entitled ‘Civic Action and Learning with Young Children: Comparing Approaches in New Zealand, Australia and the United States’ with colleagues Dr Jennifer Keys Adair of University of Texas at Austin, and Dr Louise Phillips of the University of Queensland, Brisbane. The project’s purpose is to document and analyse young children’s initiated active citizenship across three nations, with a particular focus on Indigenous and/or marginalised children, and to connect national early childhood frameworks with actual practices around civic action.

Her recently completed research includes several Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) funded projects, the most recent of which was Titiro Whakamuri, Hoki Whakamua. We are the future, the present and the past: Caring for self, others and the environment in early years’ teaching and learning.

Associate Professor Ritchie is also the co-president of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Conference, which was hosted at Victoria last year.