2024 Conference - Waikato University 25th - 27th November - call for abstracts now open



The Lyn Foote Award for Student Research in Early Childhood is given to a current NZARE member who has completed a high-quality masters or doctoral thesis


Name, address /phone/email details of nominator(s) and nominee

Thesis title, Grade verification, and Copies of the examiners' reports

Nomination letter by supervisor(s);

An electronic copy of the thesis (NB. the selection panel will generally focus on the Discussion and Conclusion chapters in coming to a decision);

CV of nominee;

A recent colour photo of nominee (high resolution jpg format).

Award selection criteria

  • Nominee has completed a high-quality thesis (NB: the selection panel will consider the rigour and quality of research conducted, the thesis's contribution to and implications for early childhood education and care, as well as the thesis's originality (PhD level only), relevance, thoroughness and presentation);

  • Nominee has completed their studies and conducted their research in Aotearoa New Zealand in any area related to early childhood education and care;

  • Nominee is a current member of NZARE.

Please note that only nomination materials are used to inform selection; although the awards panel will review the thesis, the nominations letter should speak directly to the characteristics of the thesis related to the selection criteria. In addition, The NZARE ECE SIG awards do not preclude ECE SIG members from submitting to the regular NZARE awards in the same year. Students selected for the Rae Munro Award or the Sutton-Smith Doctoral Award, however, will have their nomination withdrawn from the Lyn Foote award as they are not eligible to receive an NZARE award and an ECE SIG award in the same year.


The Lyn Foote Award for Student Research in Early Childhood is given to a current NZARE member who has completed a high-quality masters or doctoral thesis. Theses nominated must have been completed and examined within two years prior to the closing date for nominations. Student research may address any topic relevant to early childhood education and care. Theses nominated must have been undertaken in New Zealand and be focused on a New Zealand / Aotearoa educational context or contexts. The award comprises a written citation and one-year complimentary membership with the SIG while NZARE membership is maintained. The NZARE ECE SIG, in collaboration with the NZARE Council, retains the right to make no award in any one year. The award is intended to support students engaged in high-quality research by having their work recognised and honoured at the national level.


Enter your content...Lyn Foote was the long-time co-ordinator/director of EC programmes at the University of Otago and her death in 2014 deprives us of a true champion for quality early childhood education for all children. Lyn was a passionate political advocate, as well as hands-on practitioner, teacher educator and researcher, whose career spanned 40 years. The Early Childhood Research Hui, organised annually for many years by Lyn and colleagues, brought hundreds of ECE teachers from the lower South Island to the University, for a day of debate, sharing and learning about the most recent or concerning political, research and professional issues. This was truly a 'town and gown' occasion. Lyn cut her 'political teeth' on the heady Dunedin politics of childcare that emerged in the 1970s with Anne Smith as one of its central players. This was a group of women determined that childcare - which at the time had NO government funding support for centres or for training - should be a quality experience for children and a support for women and families. This strident feminist Dunedin approach was a little shocking to others and particularly to politicians who saw childcare centres as 'dumping grounds' for 'unwanted children' by 'neglectful mothers' who went 'frivolously' to work.

In 1982 Lyn established the first Dunedin training base for the New Zealand Childcare Association to provide a certificate qualification for staff working in childcare. In 1987 Lyn was appointed to Dunedin College of Education to establish a one-year childcare certificate course. This was short-lived. In 1988 Dunedin College of Education was one of the first colleges to provide the new 3-year integrated teaching qualification, inclusive of kindergarten and childcare, children from birth to school age, and which established parity of qualifications across the primary and ECE sectors.

Lyn's fiery passion for a better deal for children and ECE never dimmed. Her contribution to ECE is, however, wide-ranging embracing a deep interest in the under three-year olds and she was active in orchestrating significant changes in the infrastructure of early childhood teacher education. Lyn also had an international outlook. She was a keen member of OMEP and over some years worked on various government EC development projects in Niue and the Solomon Islands.

Lyn's life in ECE, with others, characterizes what is internationally unique about ECE leadership in this country. It has a mix of excellent scholarship, but never separate from political activism, advocacy and engagement with the profession.

Used with permission from:

May, H. (2015). Lyn Foote (1945-2014): A political advocate for quality early childhood education (ECE) Early Education, 57, 4.