Superdiversity in early childhood

Superdiversity in early childhood

In this webinar, Associate Professor Jenny Ritchie and Dr Angel Chan discuss applying a superdiversity approach in a Te Tiriti o Waitangi-framed Aotearoa New Zealand early childhood education. 

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 

1.28What is superdiversity and how is it different from diversity? 
2.10Superdiversity in early childhood education
3.21What is a migrant family? 
4.40Tiriti-based approach to superdiversity
12.07Building strong relationships with families
16.15What to do when migrants’ families beliefs and practices conflict with those of the early childhood setting
23.23Inclusive environments
27.13Welcoming whānau
30.44Celebrating cultural festivals
33.17When families prefer not to share their culture
36.25How to support teachers to speak home languages
40.00Making documentation accessible
41.01Advantages of a Te Tiriti approach to superdiversity for teachers 
47.08 Conclusions 

Questions for exploring the key ideas from this webinar 

  • What do you know about the migrant families in your early childhood setting, and their patterns of migration? What influence and impact does this have on their family functioning and practices? 
  • How can you expand the range of languages that are regularly spoken in your early childhood setting? Which languages would it be important to include and what resources can you draw on to help you with this? 
  • How might you improve verbal and written communication with families who have difficulty conversing in the languages spoken in your setting? 
  • How can you uphold the rights of Māori families that are protected by Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and offer the same rights to all families from diverse cultures?  
  • How might you experiment with accommodating the aspirations of the diverse families in your setting, even if these are at odds with your ‘professional wisdom’? 
  • In what ways could you learn about and incorporate a range of cultural practices into your everyday routines and activities? How might you put yourself in that position of not being the expert that knows the way things have to happen, and instead be more open to the diverse ways of being of the various families in your early childhood setting? 

Further reading 

Take a look at examples in the assessment exemplars Kei tua o te pae, which demonstrates ways in which teachers have given families opportunities to share their cultures. 

Our guide on how to use a superdiversity approach with migrant families. 

Chan, A. (2019). Te Whāriki: An early childhood curriculum in a superdiverse New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 54 (2), 245-259. Retrieved from 

Chan, A., & Ritchie, J. (2016). Parents, participation, partnership: Problematising New Zealand early childhood education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 17(3), 289–303. 


Dr Jenny Ritchie

Jenny has a background as a child-care educator and kindergarten teacher, followed by 30 years’ experience in early childhood teacher education. Her teaching, research, and writing has focused on supporting early childhood educators and teacher educators to enhance their praxis in terms of cultural, environmental and social justice issues. From 2004-2009 she led three consecutive two-year studies funded by the New Zealand Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. She has also been an International Research Fellow with the Velma E. Schmidt International Critical Childhood Policy Studies Collaborative under the leadership of Professor Gaile Cannella.


Dr Angel Chan

Angel is a Senior Lecturer at The University of Auckland.  Her teaching and research aim at promoting social justice and cohesion by supporting teachers to develop inclusive pedagogies to work with diverse families.

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