Homebased early childhood education (family day care) - The Visiting Teacher’s role in improving Educators’ practices

Funding year: 
2 years
University of Canterbury
ECE sector
Project start date: 
January 2007
Project end date: 
January 2009
Principal investigator(s): 
Dr. Judith Duncan
Research team members: 
Pat Irvine, Tracy Cross, Heather Fagan, Toni Seiuli, Angela Sutton and Suzy Weir, Dunedin Community Childcare Association.
Research partners: 
Children’s Issues Centre, University of Otago, with The Dunedin Community Childcare Association, and its director Mrs Pat Irvine; the visiting teachers; and the Children’s Issues Centre, University of Otago and Canterbury University

Project Description


This project investigated the role of Visiting Teachers (formerly called coordinators) in improving the quality of Educators’ practices, and children’s learning outcomes, in the homebased settings supervised by the Dunedin Community Childcare Association (DCCA). The Visiting Teachers in the project engaged in two action research cycles, one per year, examining how the different activities, tasks, professional development workshops and Visiting Teacher-Educator interactions enhanced educational and care practices in the homebased settings. We focused on support services within the homebased early childhood education and care setting (the Visiting Teacher as well as professional development provided by the DCCA) as international research has shown this role of Visiting Teacher is both a key in providing the support for improved Educator practices, and a link between the training, professional development and successful learning outcomes for children.
The two-year project identified three main factors that influenced the practice of the Visiting Teachers and matched those of the Educators: informality, intentionality and isolation. The three ‘I’s became both the process of our research and the final conclusions. Addressing these factors within the Visiting Teacher and Educator settings and pedagogy directly impacted on the learning experiences for the children, the Educators and the Visiting Teachers.




From left to right. Back row: Heather Fagan, Judith Duncan, Pat Irvine 
Front row: Suzi Weir, Tracy Cross, and Toni Seiuli.