New Zealand Study Tour

March 17 – 24, 2019

Registration for the 2020 New Zealand Study Tour Opens SOON!


‘Inspire’ Professional Learning for Teachers – in partnership with Eliana Elias, Ijumaa Jordan and Hilltop Educator Institute, is pleased to present the Early Childhood Study Tour to Auckland, New Zealand from March 29th to April 5th 2020

You are certain to have a wonderful time in New Zealand participating in this focused professional learning opportunity that includes visits to a number of cutting-edge early childhood centers in and around Auckland. Participants enjoy an intellectually engaging and rewarding experience including multiple opportunities for self-reflection, critical thinking, and learning in dialogue.

Early Childhood Education professionals learn a great deal as they visit another context. The New Zealand context offers us many interesting ideas about biculturalism, formative assessments, engaging indoor and outdoor environments, family connections and risk taking. We visit schools, meet teachers, and participate in thought provoking conversations with New Zealand professionals, who inspire us and challenge our assumptions. We also have ample time to learn from one another informally, and through facilitated Communities of Practice. These conversations encourage us to reflect on our own contexts and propel us to think of ways to transform our own communities.

Who Attends?

The small Study Tour group (30 people) represents a cross section of Early Childhood Education professionals: teachers, directors, supervisors, professional development specialists, coaches, and students.


Accommodation will be in Auckland at Vaughan Park Retreat – a beautiful setting at Long Bay on the North Shore of Auckland. The beach nearby provides a serene atmosphere and the pleasant accommodation facilities are very comfortable. Each room has its own hand basin and there are private bathrooms down the hall. The food is homemade and of a high quality. The helpful staff is happy to cater for individual dietary needs.
Visit the Vaughan Park Retreat website

Further Reading

Learning from Aotearoa New Zealand, Exchange Article by Margie Carter





Study Tours Reveal a New World of Ideas, Interview with Eliana Elias

Things to See and Do in NZ

You might consider taking time to see the beautiful country of New Zealand before or after the study tour. We recommend visiting the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Queenstown, Nelson or Christchurch.

Application Deadlines



Application and Deposit Due – October 31st, 2018
(Click on “How To Apply” for the Application and Waivers)

Accepted Participants Notified – November 12th, 2018

Final Payment Due – December 1st, 2018

Tour Begins – March 17th, 2019

How to Apply

Congrats! You’e one step closer to joining the 2019 New Zealand Study Tour.  In order to be considered for the tour, please fill out the following forms:

2019 New Zealand Study Tour Application

2019 New Zealand Study Tour Publishing Permission Form

2019 New Zealand Study Tour Waiver Release Form

2019 New Zealand Study Tour Liability Release Form

Please send the application, $1,000 deposit, publishing permission form, waiver release form, and liability form to the following address:

Hilltop Children’s Center
c/o Eliana Elias and Ijumaa Jordan
1044 Ordway St.
Albany, CA 94706

For any questions regarding the tour, please contact Eliana Elias and Ijumaa Jordan at ANZSTUDYTOUR@GMAIL.COM or call +1 510 502 3642.

By participating in the study tour I was able to begin to understand what it meant to live your values. I came back to my program with new ideas about what is possible for young children and feeling renewed to push forward to co-create a vision for the future alongside my staff.

Alissa Mwenelupembe

Program Director, Evansville, Indiana

Registration Fees:
$2,270 USD for shared Twin Room
$2,490 USD for Single Room

Registration costs include:  Seven nights accommodation; Sunday – Sunday. Group pick-up on Sunday, March 17th 2019 and drop off Sunday, March 24th 2019 at a central Auckland location. All meals, transport to venues, centre visits, and presentations are included.

Registration does not include: Airfare, insurance, personal items, phone calls, social costs etc.

Registration for the 2019 New Zealand Study Tour is now CLOSED! Thank you to everyone who showed interest. Start saving money now and check back in the summer of 2019 for applications for the 2020 Study Tour! 

Reciprocity (a reflective poem)

Every surface sings with aesthetic intentionality
Every wall holds a quote that provokes complexity
Words carefully chosen for their profound simplicity
Natural materials fill the space with ecological identity
Studio spaces designed for creativity
Portfolios of stories that give learning visibility
I stand here in gratitude, awe, and humility
And leave here inspired by this Corner of possibility

Sarah Felstiner

Hilltop Children's Center, 2013 Tour Participant

Honoring and respecting children’s thinking and creativity
(A reflection from 5 participants in the 2018 New Zealand Study Tour)

Kristina, Dana, Todd, Sabine and Suji

2018 New Zealand Study Tour Participants

I attended the Inspire! New Zealand Study Tour in 2013. I am still thinking about the ideas presented, incorporating intentional practices based on what I learned there, and extending the relationships and conversations from that tour – and I am a better educator for it.

Kelly Matthews

Oshkosh WI

New Zealand Study Tour Guides

Eliana Elias

Eliana Elias

Tour Guide

Eliana has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for more than 25 years. She has been a preschool teacher, a college instructor, a professional development specialist and coach. She has presented in conferences throughout California and the US, and has led professional development activities in Reflective Practices, Learning Stories, Dual Language Acquisition, etc. Her professional interests also include social and emotional development, social justice and teacher development. Her first trip to New Zealand as a participant in the study tour was in 2013. She has learned a great deal from this experience and she has been back several times since. For the past two years she has co-facilitated the tour with Margie Carter. The lessons she has learned from her experiences in New Zealand are outlined in an article she co-wrote (also with Margie Carter) published in Exchange Magazine.

Eliana is thrilled to co-facilitate the 2018 tour with Ijumaa Jordan and guide a new group of educators in exploring the New Zealand context while, at the same time, reflecting on our contexts here in the US.

Eliana currently works and lives in the San Francisco Bay area, serving a diverse community of teachers, families and children. She loves to travel, spend time with family, hike and read.

Ijumaa Jordan

Ijumaa Jordan

Tour Guide

Ijumaa Jordan is an early childhood education consultant presenting keynotes and professional development sessions across the US and internationally. Her work focuses on play, social justice in early education, reflective teaching, and pedagogical leadership. Some of her current work projects include consulting for a directors group in creating professional development systems that support reflective practice, providing anti-bias education workshop series in person and online, and facilitating communities of practice on play based learning for educators and coaches.

As a past participant of the Study Tour (2013) Ijumaa explored how the implementation of the Te Whāriki curriculum framework contributes to undoing of social, cultural and political inequities in early childhood education and policy. She hopes to gain new insights and stratigies on how to create and support early childhood curriculum that meet the cultural needs of all children and families. As a co-leader of the 2018 Study Tour her intention is to be able to support transformative learning for herself and the other participants as they have this cross cultural experience together.

Visit her website: and Facebook @ijordanececonsulting

Email Eliana Elias for more information about the Study Tour