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Keynote speakers

Minister of Education Li Andersson

Li Andersson

Minister of Education at Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland
Twitter: @liandersson

Political career
Left Alliance, Party Leader, 2016 to present
Left Alliance Parliamentary Group, 1st Vice Chair 23 April 2015 – 23 August 2016
The Left Youth of Finland, Chair 2011–2005

Member of Parliament, 2015 to present

Turku City Council, Member 2012 to present
Left Alliance, Turku Local Council group, Chair 2012–2015
Regional Council of Southwest Finland, Assembly, Member 2017–
Regional Council of Southwest Finland, Assembly, Member, 3rd Chair 2013–2019

Professor Heidi Harju-Luukkainen

Heidi Harju-Luukkainen

Professor of Education at Nord university, Norway

A widely agreed notion today is that bilingualism and multilingualism are important capital in the globalised world. In all of the Nordic countries we have seen a rapid increase in the number of different languages spoken in early childhood education contexts. Being able to speak different languages enables wider communication and understanding across countries and people. However, there is a variance in how different Nordic countries support early language learning, which may reflect ideological differences toward languages and language learning. In this presentation I take a closer look at the different possibilities children have in the Nordic countries to acquire languages in early childhood education. I present some of our recent findings when it comes to instructional practices teachers use to support children’s language acquisition in immersion education and indigenous South Sámi language settings. The results are based on two separate studies conducted in Finland and Norway. Practises presented are applicable also outside immersion or indigenous setting.

Professor Heidi Harju-Luukkainen (Nord university, Norway) holds a Ph.D. in education, special education teacher qualification and a qualification in leadership and management from Finland. She has published more than 100 international books, journal articles and reports as well as worked in more than 25 projects globally. Harju-Luukkainen has worked at top ranked universities in the USA like UCLA, USC as well as in many Nordic research universities. She has developed education programs for universities, been a PI of PISA sub-assessments in Finland and functioned as board professional. She also leads the research group Social Justice and Diversity in Education at Nord university. Her research areas are early childhood education, justice in education and international student assessment.

EDUFI Director General Olli-Pekka Heinonen

Olli-Pekka Heinonen

Director General at Finnish National Agency for Education, Finland
Twitter: @Heino1Olli

Before his current position Olli-Pekka Heinonen worked as a State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance of Finland. He was also responsible as a State Secretary of the portfolios of Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development.

Before that he acted as a State Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office and was responsible for organising and leading the Prime Minister’s Office. Before joining the Prime Minister’s Office in March 2012, Mr Heinonen worked for 10 years as a Director in the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Mr Heinonen has been Minister of Transport and Communications (1999-2002) and Minister of Education (1994-1999). Mr Heinonen has also been a Member of the Parliament of Finland (1995-2002). Mr Heinonen has had a number of positions of trust serving the society in a wide scale. Mr Heinonen holds a Master’s degree in Laws. He is married and has three children.

Professor Kristiina Kumpulainen

Kristiina Kumpulainen

Professor of Education at University of Helsinki, Finland
Twitter: @KriKumpulainen

Kristiina Kumpulainen holds a Professorship in pre-primary and primary education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the University of Helsinki where she is also the founding member and Scientific Director of the Playful Learning Center and co-leader of the Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI) expert research group.  

For more information visit:
University of Helsinki Research Portal and Playful Learning Center.

Kathy Sylva

Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology at University of Oxford, Great Britain

Professor Kathy Sylva is an expert on child development and education, with particular expertise in the effects of early education (including parenting) on children's development.  She is well-known for longitudinal studies and for robust trials of interventions both in the UK and in low-income contexts.  Her research interests follow two themes.  She was Principal Investigator on the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education study (EPPE/EPPSE), a study of 3000 children from pre-school entry to the end of compulsory schooling, and the largest such study in Europe.   Her second interest is in interventions aimed at improving child’s learning and behaviour.  She led three randomised controlled trials evaluating interventions, the most recent being an intervention supporting early reading prior to school. Together, the findings of these studies have directly informed policy decisions in the UK.  She is frequently asked to advise on education matters nationally and internationally. She was a Specialist Adviser to the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Education 2000-2009, the U.K. Tickell Review of the early childhood curriculum in 2011. In 2014-15 she was specialist advisor to the Parliamentary Enquiry into ‘Affordable Childcare’.  Kathy has published 7 books and more than 200 papers on early education, early literacy, and ways to support families.  Kathy was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to children and families and the British Education Association’s Nisbett Award for outstanding contribution to educational research in 2014.  She is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Arjen Wals

Arjen Wals

Professor of Transformative Learning for Socio-ecological Sustainability, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
Twitter: @arjenwals

Creating Ecologies of Learning Early Childhood Education in the Anthropocene

In this talk I will introduce the notion of ecologies of learning that can help establish a more relational pedagogy that can help unfold the regenerative and caring qualities of humans. The Anthropocene can be viewed as an outcome of education, from young to old, becoming places for personal growth, talent development, and the cultivating of life-long learners and values that support competitiveness, resilience and individualism. Early childhood education has not been immune from this but in its core offers better opportunities for establishing a deep(er) connection, with places, other species, ‘matter’ or ‘things’ than the education that usually comes after. Using some concrete examples, I will introduce some key concepts such as the agentic child, transgressive learning, and normative relationality, that can help establish a more ecological and relational way of creating spaces that invite establishing connections and an ethic of care.