Symposium on Professional equality for the early years workforce
The aim of this symposium is to provide each of us with strong tools to support our advocacy work. The government wants international evidence to support our calls for increased investment in our workforce and this symposium will facilitate this.
Professor Mathias Urban
Mathias is Professor of Early Childhood Studies and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre. His research interests unfold around questions of diversity and equality, social justice, evaluation and professionalism in working with young children, families and communities in diverse socio-cultural contexts. Mathias works in international research collaborations across Europe, South- and North America, Australasia and Africa. His current projects include collaborative studies on early childhood professionalism in Colombia (Perfiles de talento humano para la atención integral a la Primera Infancia: exploración de requisitos en Colombia) and on early childhood provision for Romani children in Central and Eastern Europe: Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI+). Mathias is an International Research Fellow with the Velma E. Schmidt Critical Childhood Public Policy Research Collaborative, a member of the PILIS research group (Primera Infancia, Lenguaje e Inclusión Social), of the DECET (Diversity in Early Childhood Education and Training) network and of the AERA special interest group critical perspectives on early childhood education.
Dr. Marcy Whitebook
Having begun her professional life as an infant and toddler and preschool teacher, Marcy understands the relationship between appropriate preparation, support, and compensation for early educators and the quality of services for young children. Early in her career, Marcy and a handful of other teachers set out to improve early care and education services by securing rights, raises, and respect for the early childhood workforce. Prior to her current work as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, Marcy founded the Washington-based Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW), an organization she began in 1977 as the Child Care Employee Project. She earned a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Developmental Studies from the UCLA Graduate School of Education.
Prof. Mathias Urban: Froebel, Freire and Free Market Enterprise – early childhood and the ongoing struggle for equality. Caring for, and educating young children lies at the core of every human society. Just as much early childhood care and education is something we do for children, it is an activity that reassures and shapes who we are as a society: our collective self-images, our shared – and diverse – cultures and traditions, and our shared hopes and dreams for the future. This places early childhood educators right at the centre of crucial societal and cultural debates.
I start my presentation with a reminder of the radical roots of our profession (too often forgotten or ignored), and propose critical characteristics of early childhood professional practice. Drawing on examples from international research I then outline some current key challenges for the early childhood profession. I conclude with a critical but sympathetic outsider’s perspective on the Irish situation and the challenges and possibilities facing the early childhood sector.
Dr Marcy Whitebook: Rights, Raises, & Respect for Early Childhood Teachers: Looking Back and Moving Forward. Throughout the world ECE teachers suffer the consequences of low pay, insufficient support at the workplace and low status, but how national system are designed impacts the degree of burden they carry. Following a brief overview of the US system, I share four stories from my long journey working to improve and elevate early childhood jobs-- and the conditions so many dedicated teachers face, highlighting insights gained and the consequences for our work and struggle. I end with a focus on how, across nations, we can learn from each other, embolden our voices and work together to achieve justice and equity for young children, their families and those dedicated to caring for and educating them.
Programme for the Day
9.30-10.00 Registration with refreshments on arrival
10.00-10.30 Opening Address
10.30-11.15 Keynote 1: Prof. Mathias Urban
12.15-13.15 Working Lunch
13.15-14.00 Keynote 2: Dr. Marcy Whitebook
15.00-.15.30 Closing Address
Discussions will follow each keynote speech. These discussions will be focused on the way forward for our profession and how we can use the research presented to support our calls for increased investment in our workforce.
When: Saturday 29th April 2017
Where: Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin
Who Should Attend: