The Early Childhood team successfully participated in the 26th EECERA Conference held in Dublin, between 31st August – 3rd September 2016. This annual Conference was about ‘Happiness, Relationships, Emotion & Deep Level Learning’, a theme that the Early Childhood (EC) team and Childhood Research Forum (CRF) at LHU envisage as key in children’s growth from a pedagogical, developmental, policy-based, professional perspective.
Dr Alex Owen contributed with a paper on: ‘An exploration of inclusive and exclusive perceptions and practices of practitioners and parents within British early years settings’ in a self-organised symposium on Holistic Well-being. In another self-organised symposium titled: ‘Apart from progress: preservation, variability and change in childhood’ three core team members presented their work. Namely, Dr Harriet Pattison presented a paper on: ‘Learning to read at home: Holistic change rather than educational progress?’, Sarah Holmes presented a paper on: ‘Effects of spiritual nurture upon the wholeness and happiness of the child’ and Dr Kyriakos Demetriou presented a paper on ‘Young children's understanding of physical disability’. Dr Zoi Nikiforidou and Dr Jim Stack presented on ‘Drama, storytelling and empathic reasoning’ and Dr Babs Anderson participated in another self-organised symposium named: ‘Research innovations in exploring well-being’ with a paper on ‘Using story-related props to explore young children's empathy’. During the Conference the EC team had the chance to network, debate and liaise with colleagues from around the world.
Finally, at the Conference there was space for the evolvement of the ‘Holistic Well-being’ Special Interest Group (SIG), co-convened by LHU. Apart from the annual meeting, discussions among SIG members and scholars took place for future collaborations and research projects.
Reflections on the OMEP European Conference 2016
The European Conference of OMEP (World Organization for Early Childhood Education) was held in Canterbury, 05-07 May 2016. Delegates from many countries exchanged thoughts, concerns, and possibilities around the place of the child in the 21st century. Issues like the place of children’s own voices and opinions in decisions that affect their lives, the place of the child within educational and policy-based contexts, the place of the child in relation to socio-cultural factors and experiences and the place of the child in relation to the environment and human technologies were raised. The importance of contemporary realities and challenges in Early Childhood were highlighted with an emphasis on the humanitarian and the refugee crisis in Europe.
Three Early Childhood team members and an undergraduate student actively participated with contributions of high interest. Dr Kyriakos Demetriou presented his work on ‘ICT for the promotion of creativity and innovation in education: a cost-effective project from Cyprus’. Dr Jim Stack co-presented with Felicity Mannering a research project on ‘Preschoolers’ language and communication: the case of Forest School’. Dr Zoi Nikiforidou presented a joint paper with colleagues from Liverpool John Moores, on ‘Embedding the EYFS into the Eco-schools Programme; Visualising the journey’. The papers were accepted with enthusiasm and future collaborations with colleagues were established. For further information, please contact
Early Childhood team in OMEP European Conference 2016
Three team members and an undergraduate student from the Early Childhood Department attended the OMEP European Conference 2016. OMEP, the World Organization for Early Childhood Education, has a consultative status at the United Nations and UNESCO and aims to promote the rights of the child to education and care worldwide.
The theme of the Conference was ‘the place of the child in the 21ST Century’. Keynote speakers included specialists from the World Bank, Chief Executives from Wales and Scotland, distinguished Professors in the field of Early Childhood. Delegates from many countries exchanged thoughts, concerns, and possibilities around the child of today. Issues like the place of children’s own voices and opinions in decisions that affect their lives, the place of the child within educational and policy-based contexts, the place of the child in relation to socio-cultural factors and experiences and the place of the child in relation to the environment and human technologies were raised. Dr Nikiforidou mentioned: ‘This Conference provided many opportunities to exchange ideas and practices applied in different countries with the main aim of ensuring children’s wellbeing and thriving. The common understanding and appreciation underlined the premise of the significance of the initial experiences children have; at their home, at their early years setting, at their community and neighbourhood, with adults, peers and family’. In addition, the importance of contemporary realities and challenges in Early Childhood were highlighted with an emphasis on the humanitarian and the refugee crisis in Europe. Dr Demetriou underlined: ‘What children experience in early years of life will affect their lifespan. This implies that all stakeholders involved in supporting and working with children have a significant role to play, which must not in any case be underestimated. The huge responsibility and stance of those involved in working and supporting young children and their families will undoubtedly shape, re-shape and even reform the place of the child in the 21st century which was the theme of this year’s conference. The need for immediate action by those directly involved was emphasized through valuable and interesting contributions by delegates from various countries. The papers converged towards the need for inter-national cooperation in order to address and encounter the plethora of challenges in relation to the place and the rights of all children in the 21st century of economic and humanitarian crisis’.
Dr Stack and Felicity Mannering, a Level H student, co-presented a paper on her dissertation findings title: Preschoolers language and communication: The case of forest school. This research aims were to observe children's communication and language development throughout a five week period with a specific focus on three elements; listening, attention and understanding and speaking. The findings from this study allowed for theoretical links to be made with important constructs within the fields of early childhood and developments studies. A central finding showed the importance of storytelling in fostering improvements in pre-schoolers communication, language and literacy. Also, evident were the roles of sustained shared thinking and the development and improvements in children’s self-efficacy during these sessions.