In association with
Programme, presentation and resources
10.00am Introductions - Beatrice Merrick, Early Education and Philippa Thomson, Co-Chair, Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network
10.10am Child-Centred Competences for Early Childhood, Education and Care: an introduction to the Erasmus+ project and resources – Verity Campbell-Barr and Jan Georgeson, University of Plymouth - View slides Competency word cloud
Child-centredness is highlighted as important for working with children and underpinning effective, high quality pedagogy (Bogatić et al., 2018; Georgeson et al., 2015), but existing research demonstrates that it is a term that is variably interpreted and students can sometimes struggle to know what it looks like in practice (Campbell-Barr, 2017). Research has demonstrated the different ways in which those working in ECEC negotiate the difference concepts of child-centredness (Campbell-Barr et al., 2018; Georgeson et al., 2015), but far less is known about the role that initial ECEC training in HE institutions can play in supporting students to develop their child-centred competences. We need a better understanding of the different aspects of child-centredness competences to improve recognition for the complex set of skills it entails. This means that we also need to develop innovative ways to support students to bridge the gaps between theory and practice in support of their future professional roles. We will therefore share an emerging child-centred competences framework for ECEC to help students to evaluation their own competences while they are on work placements. This framework is presented as an open access resources that can be incorporated into innovative online training to support students in acquiring and developing their child-centred competences.
10.30am Early childhood educators' perspectives on their own child-centred competences - the Croatian context – Adrijana Višnjić Jevtić, University of Zagreb and Katarina Bogatić, University of Osijek, Croatia
Child-centredness has become one of the fundamental notions when discussing ECEC practice. After conducting a small-scale research on child-centredness with early childhood educators in Croatia, it could be said that they see their practice as a balance between their own attempts to listen and follow children’s incentives and a burden they feel about making learning ‘visible’ in every single early childhood experience. They displayed a general idea about what child-centred practice should look like, however they indicated a level of uncertainty as to their own position in it, which instigates a need for further research on child-centered competences.
10.45am Romanian perspectives on child-centredness – Horatiu Catalano and Cristina Catalano, Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania
Providing didactic activities from the child-centered perspective, is one of the priorities of the Early Years Curriculum in Romania. This curricular document is official and mandatory. It promotes child-centered teaching by ensuring that early years practitioners follow the individual learning styles in accordance with the stages of child development.
10.55am Introduction to the National Curriculum framework, Aistear focusing on child centred practices within the Irish context, Fiona Kelleher and Kathleen Tuite, Early Childhood Ireland View video View full version of Sundancers video
We will be talking about the use of Aistear, The National Curriculum Framework for Ireland, a child centred and emergent curriculum framework. Aistear is generally accepted across the sector in Ireland as an excellent framework that can guide both curriculum development and the quality of service provision. It cannot be overemphasised how the use of the Aistear framework supports educators to plan and provide enjoyable, supportive and appropriate experiences to enable ALL children, to grow and develop as competent and confident learners. Within the Irish Early Childhood Education and Care sector, our National Curriculum Framework – Aistear, does not impose an outcomes-driven curriculum. As a framework, it supports educators in implementing a local curriculum. A way of ensuring that settings can develop and have shared principles, aims, and objectives, but most importantly, there is not a 'one size fits all approach.
11.05am Videos of student and educator perspectives
11.20am Questions & discussions
Verity Campbell-Barr is an Associate Professor in Early Childhood Studies and Associate Head of Research at Plymouth Institute of Education, University of Plymouth. Verity has over 15 years of experience researching early childhood education and care services. Her research interests centre on the quality of early childhood services, particularly the role of the early childhood workforce in supporting the quality of services. She has a particular interest in the concept of child-centredness and what it means for quality pedagogic interactions within early years services and has co-led two European projects in this area. Verity has also undertaken international research on the knowledge, skills and attitudes for working in early childhood services and has recently completed an analysis of the full range of early childhood degrees available in England. She has written extensively on quality and the workforce in early childhood services and has recently published Professional Knowledge and Skills in the Early Years with Sage.
Dr Jan Georgeson is Associate Professor of Education at the Plymouth Institute of Education and has a professional background as teacher of young children with special educational needs. She has also worked and volunteered as a Portage worker supporting parents and carers of children showing developmental delay. Jan has carried national and international research into professional development for early years practitioners and support for families of young children at risk of learning delay, as well as ways of supporting teachers to develop children’s computational thinking. Jan has written extensively on early years topics and is currently engaged in research capturing the sensitivity and skill of practitioners in ’micro-moments’ of interaction with young children in early years settings. Future projects involve collecting ‘Inclusion Stories’ from practitioners about how inclusion is happening in a wide range of early years settings – please get in touch if you have anything to share!
Adrijana Višnjić Jevtić, PhD is an Assistant professor at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Teacher Education (Zagreb, Croatia). Her research interests are early childhood education, cooperation between families and educational institutions and early childhood teachers’ competences and professionalism. She authored and co-authored over 20 research papers published in journals such as International Journal of Early Childhood and International Journal of Early Years Education, among others. She is also one of the editors of “Young children in the world and their rights, 30 years with the UNCRC” (Springer 2021). She is a member of OMEP, EECERA and TACTYC.
Katarina Bogatić is a PhD candidate at the University of Zagreb and a teaching and research assistant at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek, Croatia. She is currently conducting research on children’s perspectives about their everyday experiences in ECEC services, child participation and early childhood education quality. Her scientific and professional interests are ECEC, childhood studies, qualitative methodology and research with children. She is a member of OMEP and EECERA.
Cristina Catalano is a PhD. associated teacher at Babes- Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca. She teaches and coordinates the teacher training program for the students in the department of Primary and Early Years Pedagogy. Her research relates to her substantial areas of interest: didactic communication, play in Early Childhood Education, socio-emotional development and child-centered practice in Early Years.
Horațiu Catalano is an associate professor with a doctoral degree in the Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences from Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca. He has a bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy, PhD in Educational Sciences, main supervisor for the PhD programs. He is also leading the continuous professional development programs provided by the Department of Education Sciences. With a vast and relevant teaching experience in secondary education and higher education, he also has substantial managerial experience as a result of being the General School Inspector and Vice-inspector and president of the University Branch. He has published books as sole author and has also edited and coordinated volumes as a coordinator or co-coordinator for scientific studies and articles as part of collective volumes and as part of scientific magazines locally and abroad.
Fiona Kelleher works with Early Childhood Ireland as the EU Project Officer. She has a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Care and Education and an MA in Leadership and Advocacy in the Early years. Fiona has worked with NCNA/ECI for 16 years. Fiona is currently leading a number of EU funded projects and is coordinating and collaborating with a number of EU countries within the ECEC sector.Fiona has also completed her Marte Meo Colleague training as this is a particular area of interest for her.
Kathleen Tuite holds an MA in Early Childhood Studies and works for Early Childhood Ireland as an Early Childhood Specialist. Kathleen’s work includes offering advice, support and mentoring to Early Years Educators, teachers and students. Using the National Frameworks, Kathleen offers training across all areas of Early Years Practice and a number of years ago became a Marte Meo Colleague Trainer. Currently Kathleen is a project lead on ECI’s Research Symposium, is the co-editor of the conference proceedings publication and coordinator of ECI’s weekly blog.