Early Childhood Research group leads international debate on the ‘everyday realities’ of children in educational and child care settings

Published: 22 February 2010 at 10:08

Conference to debate current changes in early years education and care and propose new directions of policy and practice to enable young children’s ‘being, belonging and becoming’ in the 21st century

A conference of major global significance is to be staged by Anglia Ruskin University’s Facultt of Education from 25-27 March at Rivermead campus, Chelmsford.

The three-day ‘Early Childhood Curriculum, Policy and Pedagogy in the 21st Century: An International Debate’ conference will be organised by the Faculty’s Early Childhood Research Group and funded by the British Academy. Conference speakers and delegates will come from the UK, many European countries and as far afield as the Philippines, Japan, China, South Korea, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada and USA. 

Bringing together academics, researchers, policy makers and early years practitioners from around the world, the conference will aim to bridge the gap that exists between national and international policies and to agree aspirations for the future and ideas for closer working collaborations.

Explaining the detail behind the conference, Theodora Papatheodorou, Professor of Early Childhood and Director of Research at the Faculty of Education, at Anglia Ruskin University, said:

“The 21st Century began with many national and international children-focused policies in place. These have placed early childhood into the wider global context with aspirational outcomes and benefits for children.”

“It is these policies that continue to feed, and further raise, debates and disputes regarding their underpinning philosophies, such as child-centred-and-focused provision versus outcomes-based provision.  These policies have global interconnectivity and interdependence and it is from this that we need to learn.  Early Years provision can be family-centred, as in some developing countries, or centre-based and the divide between these extremes of provision is what we are hoping to debate and draw knowledge from.  This conference will compare and contrast ideas to continue best-practice in terms of the policies we now have in place.”

“We need to realise children’s right to be successful learners, responsible citizens, confident individuals and effective contributors but who is to say which start is best? Our collective mission is to provide provision which helps children to ‘be, belong and become’ on both a local and global scale.  Only by taking a proper local and global perspective can we learn how to improve the lives of young children today.”

The keynote speakers include Mr Barry Sheerman, Chair of the UK’s Children, Schools and Families Select Committee; Mr Yoshi Kaga, ECCE Focal Point– Inclusion and Quality Enhancement, UNESCO, Paris; Professor Elin Ødegaard, Bergen University College, Norway; Dr Shu-Ying Liu, National Hsin-Chu University of Education,Taiwan; and Professor Emerita Lillian Katz, University of Illinois Co-director of Clearing House on Early Education and Parenting (CEEP), USA.

During the conference there will various parallel and round table discussions. More than 40 research, policy and practice related papers will be reviewed and discussed.