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ECI to host EECERA 2016

August 14, 2015

It has just been announced that the 26th European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) conference will be taking place in Dublin next year. 

Along with Stranmillis University College, Early Childhood Ireland are delighted to be hosting this prestigious European research event. The conference will be taking place from 31st August to 3rd September 2016 in Dublin City University. 

On the hundredth anniversary of the birth struggles of the Irish nation, which resulted in a Constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann) which resolved to pursue the happiness of the whole nation with a further commitment to “cherishing all the children of the nation equally”, it is fitting that Ireland has been chosen as the host country of the 26th European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) Conference. The theme of the 2016 conference is ‘Happiness, Relationships, Emotion & Deep Level Learning’ and focuses on exploring the links between the cognitive and the socio-emotional aspects of early childhood learning and development.

Children co-construct meaning in relationship with significant people in their lives. These relationships are core to children’s learning and can enhance or hinder their progress. In the same way, children’s natural drive to relate and connect to community has consequences for their learning and development. Questions therefore arise about how and in what ways the capabilities involved in relating and connecting – attachment, bonding, belonging, emotional regulation, empathy and well-being – are linked to life-long and deep level learning.

This raises many further questions: What capabilities are most important? Why do they matter? How can adults nurture them? How can professionals recognise, describe and assess them? Are professionals and parents accountable for a child’s socio-emotional development? Moreover, is the ‘pursuit of happiness’ an inalienable right for all? Is it a universal drive in all children? How does happiness impact on the child as a learner?

All children are driven to explore, contribute and find their place in the world around them. In the societies we live in, in 2016, how do the ‘toxicities’ of current childhoods enhance or impede their explorations and learning and their sense of emotional wellbeing and belonging?

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