Theme and Strands

Conference Theme

Early Childhood Education, Families and Communities

The EECERA 2018 conference will revisit and reassess our knowledge and understanding of the enabling family and community conditions which support young children's education and well-being. Research suggests that parents, carers and family members are more likely to become engaged in their young child's development and learning when they have positive and trusting relationships with those who support them. What are the implications of this research at individual family level and at community level?

Recent evidence implies that ECE intervention strategies are most likely to take root when specific and intentional steps are made to promote parent and family engagement. We know that home learning environment (HLE) can mitigate the predictive factors of underachievement, such as poverty and low income. The HLE is crucial not just in school readiness but in increased communication skills, behaviour management, the quality of peer relationships, motivation and persistence and the life time achievement of young children. How do we support parents to raise expectations and aspirations for their children? How do we recognise that the social and cultural contexts of plural communities and families needs to be valued within early years services and at the same time encourage services to create a sense of belonging, solidarity and cohesiveness?

If social cohesion is an important challenge in the 21st century, could early years settings become more like community anchors, or centres of democratic encounter and what might this look like, practically, in our plural societies? What influence do power, social capital and voice have in programme creation and operation? What is an acceptable/desirable level of involvement or engagement of the community or the State, in raising and educating our youngest children and how does this impact on staff relationships with families and communities? And are the goals and aims of these multiple partners always in agreement? What tensions (or resolutions) may occur between the culture of a community, parental choice and the States ideas about educating young children?

What is the role of the family and those outside the family, such as educators or other professionals, for example health or social workers, who may be considered as the team around the child? What professional development opportunities exist for early childhood educators to improve their interactions with the other adults surrounding the child, be they family members or other professionals?

Is the movement towards universal cross-national programmes, assessments and curricul a problematic for early years professionals who may want more individualised approaches to supporting the family within their community? And how far is it meaningful and important to suggest children should have rights in this process?

Do Government policies which focus predominantly on childcare and the goal of giving parents access to the job market, undermine the crucial educative role of family and early education and development settings?

Key Questions

The Budapest EECERA 2018 will seek to explore and address three key questions:

  1. How do early childhood services work more positively and proactively with parents, families and local communities to support children's home learning and development and what are the critical areas?
  2. How can multi-professional and multi-agency services be enabled to work more collaboratively with young children and families?
  3. What is the balance between universal, local strategies and individual family approaches in supporting children's learning and well-being? 

Conference Strands

  1. Values and Value Education 
  2. Culture, Community and Society 
  3. ECEC Contexts, Transition and Practices 
  4. Play and Learning 
  5. Supporting Families in Early years' Settings 
  6. Innovative/Alternative Approaches 
  7. Parent Partnership in Early Years' Settings 
  8. Professionalism & Pedagogues/Educators Role 
  9. National Curriculums in ECEC 
  10. Paradigms, Theories & Methodologies for Working with Young Children 
  11. National & International Research in ECEC 
  12. The Present and the Future of Child Centred Practice 
  13. The Child and Local Community 
  14. Quality Early Childhood Education 
  15. The Relationship of Home Learning Environment & Local Community 
  16. Children's Policy 
  17. The Role of Families' Cultural and Social Traditions