Children first - Designing sustainable early childhood education 4-7 May 2020

Early childhood education and care
Dear Friends and Colleagues, we are pleased to invite you to our international ECEC conference. Over the past few years, ECEC has been developed very actively in Finland. New legislation, curriculum-based development work and active Finnish research in ECEC have attracted huge interest abroad.

Olli-Pekka Heinonen

Olli-Pekka Heinonen

On the other hand, there is a desire and need in Finland to learn about international research and to exchange knowledge and experiences with colleagues from other countries. We therefore think it is important to organise an international conference, which also offers a place for networking and exchanging knowledge.   

Extending ECEC and developing its quality is a current topic across the world. We know that ECEC of a high pedagogical quality is an important service for children and their families and for the wellbeing of society. Studies show that positive early experiences lead to improvement in health determinants, resulting in less depression and better health and educational outcomes throughout the person’s life. For this reason, the economic benefits of investments in the early years are carefully documented.

In Finland, all development of ECEC focuses on the child. This was also the reason why CHILDREN FIRST - designing sustainable early childhood education was chosen as the title of the conference. The end of the title refers to a sustainable way of living and the need to also reflect on the development of ECEC from different points of view of sustainable development. We can create strong ECEC that is of a high pedagogical quality for the future by ensuring that we take into account the ecological, social, cultural and financial points of view in its development.  

Our aim is a high-quality conference that highlights the latest research and the best global practices. The conference programme includes:

  • keynote speeches and an optional programme combining science and practice
  • poster sessions and non-stop video presentations
  • stands presenting learning material and equipment
  • visits to different ECEC environments.

Discussions during coffee breaks and the events included in the evening programme also provide opportunities to meet and talk with colleagues from different countries. The different points of view offered by sustainable development are an integral part of the programme from the speeches to the familiarisation visits.

The Finnish National Agency for Education organises the conference in cooperation with several partners. The Ministry of Education and Culture, the University of Helsinki, the Cities of Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo, the Central Union for Child Welfare and the Kindergarten Teachers Union in Finland are involved in producing the diverse and high-quality conference programme.

We look forward to seeing you and other conference participants from around the world at this delightful northern venue.

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Blog author

Olli-Pekka Heinonen
Olli-Pekka Heinonen
Director General