Kindergartens – first choice early childhood education service.

NZK research ethics approval information


New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) has established a research ethics committee to support kindergarten teachers undertaking research. The ethics committee helps to ensure that research is ethically sound and meets agreed ethical principles.

Undertaking or contributing to research is a common feature in many early childhood education services, and in kindergarten it is increasingly a feature of teaching teams’ planned professional development to inform their teaching practice. NZK and our member associations are keen to support and encourage more research across the kindergarten network, and among early childhood education (ECE) services, with a view to contributing to a broader research culture within kindergarten, ECE and the teaching profession.

NZK is committed to the highest professional standards, to ethical research which is rigorous, respects the rights of children, parents and whānau and teachers, which benefits society and the education sector and upholds the reputation of kindergarten. NZK acknowledges the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the importance of ensuring that all aspects of ECE teaching practice, including research, supports the needs and aspirations of Māori children and whānau.

Do I need NZK ethics approval for my research?

Often research in an ECE service is in collaboration with a university or another research-based organisation. In this case, ethics approval is usually sought from that organisation’s ethics committee. If you are already seeking ethics approval from another ethics committee, it is not necessary for you to seek NZK ethics approval. However, you are welcome to submit your proposal to NZK as well if you believe it would be beneficial.

There are some situations where teachers are keen to engage in research as a teaching team within a kindergarten association, independent of a university or other education or research institution. Although these are generally small-scale research projects, ethics approval should be sought to ensure ethical research practice and to support the suitability and acceptance of the research findings for publication. Additionally, the process of seeking ethics approval can help clarify the research and can lead to more robust research practices. While completing the application will take some time, the process will benefit the research and researchers. Ethics approval should be considered a necessary part of the research plan.

Who are the members of the NZK ethics committee?

The NZK research ethics committee is comprised of the following professional leaders and academic researchers:

  • Annette Sheehy, Senior Teacher, Tauranga Kindergarten Association
  • Gaylyn Campbell, Professional Services Manager, Ruahine Kindergarten Association
  • Pam Wilson, Senior Teacher, Southland Kindergarten Association
  • Dr Bradley Hannigan, Senior Education Advisor, Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association
  • Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips, Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato
  • Dr Carmen Dalli, Professor, Victoria University
  • Dr Sarah Te One, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University
    Dr Janis Carroll-Lind, Research Leader, Te Rito Mioha
  • Dr Linda Mitchell, Associate Professor, Univeristy of Waikato
  • Dr Diane Mara, Associate Dean (Pasifika), Auckland University

From this group, panels will be formed as needed, to consider ethics approval applications.

Process and timeline

1. Complete the NZK research ethics approval application form. Please refer to the application guide before completing the application.

2. After an application is received, an ethics panel will convene within two weeks and you will receive a communication from the panel shortly after.

3. If the ethics panel asks researchers to further clarify aspects of their proposal, the timeline for responding to additional questions will be up to the researcher(s). Upon receiving the clarification sought, the ethics panel will respond as soon as possible.


There are no fees associated with applying for ethics approval from the NZK ethics committee.


The application information sheet can be downloaded here or as a trifold pamphlet here.

NZK Research Ethics approval application form

Where can I get help or support for completing the application?

Kindergarten teachers wishing to engage in research and complete the application form may find it helpful to be in close discussion with their professional leaders at their association. Professional leaders are likely the best people to seek help and support from for a research project. You can also call New Zealand Kindergartens to seek clarification and guidance around any of the application questions or the process.

Useful links:

For a list of useful resources and links, please click here.

Requests for access to kindergarten from external researchers

The NZK ethics committee supports access to kindergarten by external researchers where the following conditions have been met:

  • an association believes the research will be beneficial to children, families and teaching practice;
  • the researchers have considered and clarified with the association that the research will do no harm to children, families and teachers;
  • the researchers have considered and clarified that the research will do no harm to and will preserve the reputation of the kindergarten association and kindergarten;
  • ethics approval has already been granted for the research by a recognised education and research institution or organisation.

If ethics approval has not already been granted by a recognised education and research institution or organisation, it is recommended that external researchers should seek ethics approval from the NZK ethics committee.


For more information, contact the NZK national office at (04) 471 0775 or email Jacinta Blank -

New Zealand Kindergartens Inc

Level 1, 32 The Terrace,
P.O. Box 3058, Wellington
Phone: 04 471-0775

E-mail Addresses