I recently attended the 23rd European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) Conference in Tallinn, Estonia.
Click here to see the abstract book from the conference: EECERA abstract book
There were several well-known early childhood keynote speakers at the EECERA conference. They had Marika Veisson representing the University of Tallinn, Gennadi Kravtsov, who spoke in Russian (with a translator), Nora Milotay who spoke about EU cooperation, and Nandita Chaudhary who gave a compelling talk on the state of India and family life. Nandita’s claim to fame was her concluding remarks, which are ever so poignant to researchers ears: “It is the story that matters and not the storyteller.”
Even then Estonia Minister of Education and Research, Jaak Aaviksoo, was present.
However, Kathy Sylva from Oxford University gave the most impressive talk, in my opinion. She spoke about the quality of preschool programs within Britain and their effects over time. What made her talk particularly fun was her random fun sayings such as “the team that drinks together, thinks together.” However one critique to her talk was that it was entitled “Quality in early childhood education: Can it be international?” but she only briefly mentioned the international perspective in her concluding remarks, and choosing instead to focus on her research within a British context (“Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education” (EPPSE) project). Click here to read more about the EPPSE project.
The conference consisted of about 700 attendees from 49 countries spanning all of the continents (minus Antarctica). The conference was on mostly qualitative research.
One tidbit that I took out from the conference was when listening to Ingrid Engdahl from Stockholm University (Sweden) in the Department of Child and Youth Studies. She gave a talk entitled “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Swedish Preschools.” In her talk she discussed how children play with dolls and which gender different professions are: police officer, nurse, teacher, doctor, etc.
The kids noted that they said “all nurses are women” and “all police officers are men” not because they think men or women, respectively, couldn’t be in those positions, but because they, as children, have never seen the opposite sex within that position.
Read about my specific involvement in the conference here.
To read more about Tallinn, Estonia (and the Old Town of Tallinn) click here.