Rachael Burke

Doctor of Philosophy, (Veterinary Epidemiology)
Study Completed: 2013
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Bodies in Context: A Comparative Study of Early Childhood Education in New Zealand and Japan

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

In both New Zealand and Japan, early childhood education is increasingly being seen as essential for children. This is evidenced by the growth of the early childhood sector and political debate over issues such as quality, ratios, and staff qualifications. However, little attention has been paid to the implicit cultural practices underpinning early childhood education. Ms Burke used a video-based method (PSC3) to reveal taken-for-granted practices that stem from cultural assumptions about teaching and learning.   Teachers in New Zealand and Japan were (re)filmed as they critically analysed practice in their own centre and made judgements about the other centre. Using children’s bodies as a central focus, this study found that implicit cultural practices not only shape many early childhood interactions, these assumptions often go unnoticed. As early childhood settings become more culturally diverse, Ms Burke hopes this study will provide points for reflection and offer practical guidance for teachers.

Dr Graeme MacRae
Professor Judith Duncan
Dr Eleanor Rimoldi