The ECE ICT Professional Learning Programme was a national pilot programme for early childhood services initiated by the Ministry of Education and aimed at developing the innovative integration of ICT into teaching and learning and/or administration.
CORE Education managed this project and provided professional learning support to centres. Ann Hatherly was the national facilitator team leader and there were six cluster facilitators working in regions around the country.
ECE ICT PL was the first programme of its kind in early childhood education in New Zealand and promised to add to the already exciting developments in the use of ICT that had evolved in centres over the last few years.
This initiative was one of several steps that flowed from Foundations for Discovery, (Ministry of Education, 2005) the framework for ICT use in early childhood education. A key strategic focus area within the framework is “Developing Professional Learning and Capability”. The goal of this focus area was that ECE educators become confident and capable users of ICT to enhance children’s learning and their own practice and professional learning.
Almost 60 centres were selected to participate over a three-year timeframe. These included kindergartens, education and care centres (childcare centres) and one hospital-based early childhood service. The services were clustered into 8 regions across the country. Each regional cluster was assigned a facilitator who acted as a mentor and coach for the services within that cluster. Centre teaching teams were supported to use action research methodology to investigate an issue or area that they are curious to develop, involving ICT. As well as face-to-face contact, teachers had opportunities to develop professional networks through virtual learning communities within ICT PD.