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EECERA Bursary Available from DCYA

May 31, 2016

DCYA Subsidy for ECCE practitioners and practitioner-researchers to attend EECERA 2016


Thanks to funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 29 bursaries of €350 each towards the conference fee of €450 will be available to applicants who wish to attend the EECERA conference in Dublin from 31st August to 3rd September 2016. 

The bursary aims:

  • To create opportunities for early childhood educators to engage with current international research.
  • To foster the links between research and practice and to build the profile of educators as researchers.

The target group is Early Childhood Educators and practitioner researchers who have no other sources of funding to attend the Conference.


Application Process

We want to ensure that the experience supports in-setting practice. Criteria for selection includes answers to the following questions:

  • Why do you want to go the conference?
  • Why you need the funding to attend?

Please download the application form here >>

Applications must be submitted by Friday 3rd June 2016.


Information on EECERA Conference 2016 in Dublin

The European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) conference will be held in Dublin from the 31st August to 3rd September 2016. This is a major event.  EECERA‘s Annual Conference is the largest early childhood research conference in Europe, attracting 1,000 researchers, policy makers and educators from all over the world. Its location in Ireland reflects the significant profile and huge energy of the growing early childhood sector in this country and the leadership demonstrated by the national voluntary organisation, Early Childhood Ireland in partnership with Stranmillas University College.

EECERA is a membership organisation, funded by its worldwide membership and focused on providing a forum for sharing research towards developing theory, policy and practice in the early childhood sector.  Its principal activities are the annual conference and the peer-reviewed journal, EECERJ, which is published 5 times per annum by Francis and Taylor and is ranked among the top four journals in its field by the Institiute for Scientific Information. The organisation is steeped in the rich tradition of early childhood education informed by such pioneering giants as Pestalozzi, Owen, Isaac, McMillans, Montessori Froebel, Steiner, Vygotsky, Piaget and Malaguzzi to name but a few and at the same time it is committed to growth and transformation through ongoing study and research across the many intersecting disciplines that feed the education sector.

The 25th conference in Barcelona now complete, the focus turns to Dublin for 2016. Given that the year marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the movement towards independence and a constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann) which commits to pursuing the happiness of the whole nation and to “cherishing all the children of the nation equally”, it is fitting that Ireland has been chosen as the host country of the 26th EECERA Conference. Equally fitting is the theme of the 2016 conference ‘Happiness, Relationships, Emotion & Deep Level Learning’ and the consequent focus on exploring the links between the cognitive and the socio-emotional aspects of early childhood learning and development.

The theme reflects a return to fundamentals – the pervasive knowing in the sector and beyond that the first 5 years and in particular the first 1000 days play a critical role in lifelong human development. At the same time it invites critical analysis of many of the behaviourist, developmentalist and universalist theories that have driven our work to date and begs questions about the role of culture, global hegemonic discourses, economics and power in the way childhood is constructed in our communities. We have tried to set the stage for this discussion with the following explication of the theme

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?

Keynote speakers at the event will address the theme in different ways. Between them, they bring experience of a range of continents, countries and cultures and disciplinary knowledge and approaches from psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, sociology and education.

Leon Feinstein hails from the U.K. where he is Director of Evidence at the Early Intervention Foundation and Chief Analyst of the Implementation Unit at the Cabinet Office. His research on the links between socioeconomic status and cognitive development and its impact on policy development is generating huge debate and controversy internationally.

Alison Gopnik is a Cognitive Scientist and Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at the University of California in Berkley in the U.S.A.  Her research, like her two books, The Scientist in the Crib and the Philosophical Baby, focus on how babies come to understand the world around them. Many people will know her through her Ted Talks and Wall Street Journal articles.

Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalisation and Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and a Professor in New York University (NYU).  While his current research addresses the question ‘What is the causal effect of income in the first 3 years of life on brain development as well as cognitive and socio-emotional child outcomes?’ in relation to the Unites States, much of his research in based in Africa, China and Chile and focuses on early childhood development and education in these countries.

Anne Looney, Chief Executive of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment will represent Ireland on the podium. Anne has published on curriculum, assessment, school ethos, civic education and European and global education policy trends. She is a regular contributor to Irish mainstream and social media on social policy issues and on innovation and educational change. She has just returned from a year spent as a Research Fellow at the Learning Sciences Institute Australia, at ACU, Brisbane where she focused on assessment and teacher identity.

These prestigious and exciting speakers, combined with the contributions of over 800 researchers in the conference symposia promise to make the EECERA 2016 conference in Dublin extremely exciting – an occasion not to be missed. The website is up and running and registration is now open.

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