“Today at Playcentre, we ….”: What values underpin narrative assessment in Playcentre?





Early childhood education – New Zealand, Playcentre, Professionalisation of early childhood education, Learning stories, Parent education, Parent-led early childhood education


Narrative assessments are widely used in Aotearoa New Zealand’s early childhood services, especially in the form of ‘Learning Stories’. This sociocultural approach to assessment foregrounds the importance of identifying what is valued learning within a particular context. What does this look like within the context of the parent co-operative Playcentre? A small-scale qualitative study brought together focus groups of Playcentre parents to share what Learning Stories are being written, to explore their experiences in writing and using Learning Stories, and to consider what underlying values shape narrative assessment in Playcentres. A major finding is that adult learning and relationship building are key aspects of Learning Stories in Playcentres. The authors argue that because of the positioning of parents as both learners and Kaiako in Playcentre, assessment in Playcentre is fundamentally different to that in teacher-led services.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Sue Stover

Having recently completed 16 years in early childhood teacher education at Auckland University of Technology, Dr. Sue Stover is working as a freelance writer, editor and educator. Her interest in E.C.E. began in the 1980s when she was attending Playcentre with her three sons. This interest continues and as a Playcentre grandmother, she is again back in the sandpit with young children as well as helping to run courses for Playcentre parents.

Lia de Vocht, University of Canterbury

Lia de Vocht (PhD), University of Canterbury. Lia de Vocht has been working in early childhood education for several decades. She became interested in early childhood education as a parent in Playcentre, and has been involved at local, regional and national levels of Playcentre. She is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury. Her research interests include teacher-child dialogue, children’s agency and pedagogical documentation in early childhood.