Waiariki Institute of Technology and Central North Island Kindergarten Trust (Central Kids) have a formed a research partnership that will benefit teachers and students.
Central Kids operates 48 kindergartens and eight early learning centres spread over a large geographical area in the central North Island.
Waiariki provides early childhood teacher training through a diploma, degree and now a new master's programme.
"It is a required practice for new early childhood teachers to be mentored during their two-year provisional teaching period," said Waiariki's Education and Social Sciences head of department Joanne Hayes.
"While the mentoring may be well structured and very beneficial to the beginning teacher, there is little supporting evidence as to what types or methods of mentoring work best.
"There's just not a lot of research around this yet. We want to identify what the mentors and those they mentor find helpful in the mentoring process. The results will help develop the mentoring process as well as teaching practice so that both mentor and mentee are benefitting professionally," she said.
The new research partnership between Central Kids and Waiariki will investigate best practice strategies for mentoring beginning teachers of early childhood education with a focus on how this develops teaching practice that benefits children's learning.
This research uses the skills of Waiariki's teaching staff who will use the findings to support their teaching of the Master of Applied Professional Studies (Mentoring and Leadership) and their work with teachers, who support their students on practicum.
The skills and knowledge of Central Kids teachers and professional leaders will underpin and guide the project and they will be able to implement the findings to better support their own beginning teachers.
The findings will be disseminated to the wider early childhood community to inform those who are planning mentoring programmes for beginning teachers.
The relationship between the two organisations will be strengthened and future research projects can be planned collaboratively to capitalise on the strengths of both organisations.