EECERA 2007 Press release

16. 8. 2007



Early Childhood Really Matters: Major International Conference

Building on a recent surge in policy attention to early childhood education and development in OECD countries, more than 750 researchers, early childhood practitioners, policy makers, and NGO activists from Europe and around the world will convene in Prague 29 August – 1 September, 2007, at the international conference Exploring Vygotsky’s Ideas: Crossing Borders.

Prof. Elena Kravtsova, Ph.D., granddaughter of the renowned developmental psychologist Lev Semionovich Vygotsky (1896-1934) will present the keynote speech at the 17th Annual Conference of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA), one of the most prominent professional organizations in the field of early childhood education and development (ECD).  With more than 500 presentations and discussion sessions, conference participants will explore the work of Vygotsky and the impact of his ideas on current research and early childhood education practices worldwide.

The event will also be a unique opportunity for dialogue between East and West.  Although this is EECERA’s 17th Annual Conference, it is the first time the event has been organized in a country of the former communist block, and the first time a large number of representatives from this region will participate in the event. This is due to the successful cooperation between EECERA and the International Step by Step Association (ISSA), a leading network of ECD professionals and organizations primarily from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. ISSA is proud to be the host of this conference, as well as to showcase the work of its national member organizations, including the Step by Step Czech Republic Foundation, an organization active in improving the quality of early childhood care and education throughout Czech Republic.

Public awareness of gaps in provision and of insufficient quality in services has moved the issue of child care onto electoral agendas in many countries. There is a growing recognition that early access to quality education and appropriate care provides young children, particularly from disadvantaged groups, with a good and fair start in life. Policy makers have recognized that supporting children’s development benefits not only the children and their families, but the entire society, as these children grow to be successful, productive, active citizens. Scientific research constantly brings new insights into brain development and the enormous importance of the first years of a child’s life. This conference seeks to deepen this understanding and ensure that practices and policies are based on quality research.

ISSA would like to recognize the in-kind support of the Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation VIZE ยด97, which offered a generous discount to host the Opening Reception at the Prague Crossroads on the evening of 29 August 2007. The organizers are pleased to welcome representatives of the Ministry of Education, who, during the Opening Plenary on 30 August, will present recent developments in Czech education policies.

In addition to Prof. Elena Kravtsova, of the Russian State University for the Humanities, L. S. Vygotsky Institute of Psychology (Russia), other distinguished speakers include: Prof. Elena Bodrova, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), Denver, Colorado (United States); Dr. Bert van Oers, Department Education and Curriculum, Free University Amsterdam (The Netherlands) Prof. James V. Wertsch, Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts and Sciences, Director, McDonnell International Scholars Academy Campus (United States).

A full program of the event and more information about the organizers can be found on the conference website:  Media representatives are invited to attend conference sessions and to contact the conference organizers for additional information. Opportunities for interviews with keynote speakers and representatives from ISSA and ECEERA will also be available.

For further information please contact Karel Fiser, Easy Prague, +420 603 290520.

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