ECE Resources

Building a culture of collaborative research and inquiry

Kids’ Domain’s culture of research and inquiry is strongly rooted in Te Whāriki and inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. It is based on the notion of kotahitanga (interconnectedness) where learning for tamariki and kaiako is intertwined, intentional, open-ended and generative. 

In this webinar, Bridgette Towle (Director) and Shirlene Murphy (Education Manager) discuss their experiences of building a culture of inquiry. They reveal what has worked well, the challenges, and how they are continually redesigning their approach as they learn and evolve. 

To help you navigate the webinar easily, there is a list of the key topics covered in the session below, including the time each was discussed. The key ideas discussed in this webinar are also shared in a short insight article. 

Topics discussed in this webinar 

Times shown in minutes and seconds from the start of the video 

3.00What is a culture of inquiry? 
5.54How to develop a culture of inquiry 
12.00 First steps 
17.20 How a culture of inquiry has been embedded and evolved over time 
23.35 Example of an inquiry 
42.05What did parents think of the change in focus to emphasise the collective rather than the individual? 
46.00 Inquiry with infants and toddlers 
48.30Concluding comments: Advice for teachers who want to try out inquiry 

Questions for exploring the key ideas from this webinar 

What is your image of the child, and of the teacher? How does this affect the curriculum you provide for children? 

What skills and knowledge might you and your team need to develop to support a move into inquiry as a curricular practice? How skilled are you and your team at listening, thinking, questioning and talking? How do you make space for these activities? 

How can you ensure everyone feels safe to contribute to inquiry activities and meaningfully connected to the inquiry topic? 

What can you gain from reflecting on the processes of your inquiry activities, as well as on the inquiry itself? 

Further reading 

Pelo, A., & Carter, M. (2018). From teaching to thinking: A pedagogy for reimagining our work. Lincoln, NE: Exchange Press. 

Towle, B., & Heape, A. (2020). Cup: A vibrant vessel of learning and creativity. Exchange Press. [A book about an inquiry by the children and teachers of Kids’ Domain] 

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