Keynote Speakers

Elizabeth A. Shuey, Ph.D.

Elizabeth A. Shuey, Ph.D.

Policy Analyst | Directorate for Education and Skills | OECD, Paris

Improving Measurement to Enhance Services and Systems for Our Youngest Children Early childhood is a time of rapid growth, exploration and learning that occurs in the contexts of relationships with others. Young children’s early experiences and the qu..

Improving Measurement to Enhance Services and Systems for Our Youngest Children 

Early childhood is a time of rapid growth, exploration and learning that occurs in the contexts of relationships with others. Young children’s early experiences and the quality of their interactions and relationships varies tremendously across cultures, communities, institutions, families and individuals. For some children, this variation is in support of their individual needs and interests. For other children, the variation in early experiences is inequitable, related to social and economic conditions as well as policy and regulatory contexts. These early differences matter for young children’s well-being and have long-term implications for health, wellness and educational and economic attainment as children grow. Researchers and policymakers bear responsibility for ensuring that knowledge around early childhood education and care is applied in ways that promote equity and support all children. Robust, timely data are essential to inform policy and build best practices. Ongoing efforts at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), specifically the International Early Learning and Child Well-Being Study and the Starting Strong Teaching and Learning International Survey, aim to strengthen research and measurement around young children’s outcomes and their ECEC environments. This keynote presentation will give an overview of the conceptual and research foundations for these new research initiatives, highlighting the opportunities to promote equity in policies, services and systems for our youngest children.
 
Elizabeth A. Shuey is a Policy Analyst in the Education and Skills Directorate at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) where she works primarily on issues related to early childhood. She is also a Learning Sciences Exchange (LSX) Fellow. Previously, Elizabeth was a Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Policy Fellow within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She has also worked at RTI International, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and was a Doris Duke Fellow for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. She holds a Ph.D. from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. Elizabeth is committed to using research to inform policy and practice to better serve families with young children around the world.

http://www.oecd.org/education/school/elizabeth-shuey.htm

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Dr Jan Peeters

Dr Jan Peeters

Centre for Innovation in the Early Years | Ghent University

Measuring the outcomes of young children or analysing the effectiveness of the ECEC systems, what counts most? In the field of ECEC policymakers, practitioners and researchers each have their distinct role to guarantee the quality of ECEC. However,..

Measuring the outcomes of young children or analysing the effectiveness of the ECEC systems, what counts most?

In the field of ECEC policymakers, practitioners and researchers each have their distinct role to guarantee the quality of ECEC. However, these 3 key players, though united in their aim for quality, seem to speak a different language. At the same time, none of them solely have the full array of knowledge and skills to move effectively towards quality ECEC. To realise sustainable change, policy, research and practice need to be regarded as inextricably linked and need to look together for accountability to invest in high quality ECEC. Together they have to make choices about what form of quality assessment or quality control is appropriate to convince political parties and governments to invest in quality ECEC. In the last decade more and more international organisations and national governments have wanted to evaluate ECEC programs by measuring the child outcomes. But is this always the right choice? Low and middle income countries cannot afford expensive evaluations through measuring children’s outcomes. In other countries, this approach which limits quality to child outcomes does not fit in the pedagogical vision of the practitioners. Can researchers provide alternative methods to evaluate the quality of ECEC for those countries that take into consideration a broader view on quality and that embrace the vision of the practitioners? Are there ways of analysing the whole system of ECEC that are also creating possibilities to compare countries and that do involve practitioners, researchers and policymakers? This key note is a story of a journey through 8 middle income countries, where we discussed with more than 800 practitioners, policymakers and researchers their vision of the quality of the ECEC system in their country.
 
Dr Jan Peeters is a founding member and a former director of VBJK, a research centre in the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy, University of Ghent. VBJK’s vision and mission are inspired by the International Convention on Children’s Rights and is based on the belief in parents’ and professionals’ agency.
 
From the start, Jan was pioneering on different areas. He introduced working with film and put the issue of men in childcare on the agenda. He was actively involved in many international projects and worked on many films and publications. He has worked on policy oriented studies and pedagogical innovation in early childhood care and education and parent support.
 
He was involved in international research projects with the European Commission Director General for Education and Culture, Eurofound, OECD and UNESCO.
In 2008, Jan finished his doctoral thesis on professionalisation. In his book “The construction of a new profession” as well as in his research he talks about the competent system and the conditioned for high quality organisations. Besides professionalisation, transition is another of his main focus areas.
 
For the past few years, Jan has been committed to working towards a good start for young children in pre-primary education.
Most recently, Jan has been involved with UNICEF study on the systemic quality within the ECEC in seven countries. He has developed some indicators that are based on his recent policy research.

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Dr Maria Evangelou

Dr Maria Evangelou

University of Oxford | United Kingdom

Designing Early Childhood Setting-based Interventions to Enhance Home-setting Partnerships in Challenging Circumstances Children’s development takes place within an extensive environmental context that incorporates families, communities, and social,..

Designing Early Childhood Setting-based Interventions to Enhance Home-setting Partnerships in Challenging Circumstances

Children’s development takes place within an extensive environmental context that incorporates families, communities, and social, economical and political constraints. Early childhood interventions take place within an interdisciplinary framework of fields. These interventions are often located within a risk and resilience framework, to put in place protective factors intended to build a child’s resilience to adversity. This keynote presentation will use Theory of Change to delineate how early childhood settings can be supported to design and/or implement setting-based interventions to enhance home-setting partnerships. Theory of Change allows the programme developers to describe in detail the rationale behind the development of their intervention, the theoretical framework that underpins their work, and to identify the potential causal links that might be bringing change to the agreed outcomes as a result. This would be especially useful for those colleagues who work with children at risk of underachieving their full potential. This is a topic of great current interest as a number of families and their children are living globally in challenging circumstances. While interventions so far value the contribution of both home and setting on child development, they lack a focus on the interactions that take place within and between homes and settings as these interactions have unique contributions to a child’s development.

 
Maria Evangelou studied at the Faculty of Primary Education at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and taught in a Greek primary school for 8 years before moving permanently to England in 1995. In 1996 she received a Masters degree in Language and Literature in Education from the UCL Institute of Education. She won an ESRC studentship and obtained a doctorate (D.Phil) from the University of Oxford in 2001. Since 2008 she has been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
 
Maria is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. Until the end of April 2018 she was an Associate Professor there, the Director for MSc Education, the pathway Leader for the MSc in Child Development and Education and the convener of the Families Effective Learning and Literacy (FELL) Research Group.
 
Her research focuses on the evaluation of early childhood interventions; the development of children at risk of educational underachievement; the language and literacy development in the early years; enhancing parental engagement in children’s learning; parenting education and support; the effects of home learning environment and quality learning environments; early years professional development; the methodological issues involved in research; and the role of evidence-based practices in education. Her methodological expertise covers longitudinal studies, quasi-experimental designs, mixed methods and systematic reviews.
 
Maria’s research has focused predominantly on the evaluation of early childhood interventions. Through a series of studies, she has used complementary and rigorous methodologies to explore different aspects of the effectiveness of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP). PEEP is an intervention that aims to improve the life chances of children (birth to 5) from a disadvantaged area of Oxford by raising their educational achievement through working with early years educators and families. She has led many large studies evaluating parenting programmes including the Birth to School Study (BTSS); the Evaluation of the Early Learning Partnership Project (ELPP); and the parenting strand of the National Evaluation of Children’s Centres (2009-2015). She also led the literature review on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development that provided part of an evidence-base which informed the review of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in England in 2010.

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Samuel J. Meisels

Samuel J. Meisels

Buffett Early Childhood Institute | University of Nebraska

Assessing Young Children: What Early Educators Need To Know Pressure to demonstrate the effectiveness of early childhood programs and to evaluate young children’s readiness for school are fueling mistaken assumptions about how young children learn ..

Assessing Young Children: What Early Educators Need To Know

Pressure to demonstrate the effectiveness of early childhood programs and to evaluate young children’s readiness for school are fueling mistaken assumptions about how young children learn and how best to assess their growth and development. The source of much of this pressure comes from policymakers who want to know what kind of impact specific early childhood programs are having on children’s learning and if scarce public funds are being used wisely. In the U.S. these questions have led to the creation of high-stakes testing regimes and accountability standards based on methodologies developed for older students. Using a national testing program designed for Head Start as an example of high-stakes early childhood testing and observational assessment as an alternative, this presentation focuses on the importance of developing context-rich, responsive assessments that reflect children’s complex learning patterns, conform to meaningful standards, and represent valid ways of evaluating children’s learning.

 

Samuel J. Meisels, one of the nation’s most accomplished and respected early childhood voices, is the founding executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and holds the Richard D. Holland Presidential Chair in Early Childhood Development. He came to Nebraska in 2013 after more than 11 years as president of Erikson Institute, the nation’s foremost graduate school in child development. At Erikson he expanded programs, facilities, and research and strengthened engagement with schools, communities, and families. Prior to Erikson he had a distinguished 21-year career as a professor at the University of Michigan School of Education and a research scientist at Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development, where he conducted research concerning high-risk and disabled infants and young children and developed assessments for birth – 8-year-olds that are widely used throughout the U.S. and abroad. Earlier he served as professor in the Department of Child Study at Tufts University and director of the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School as well as senior advisor in early childhood development for the Developmental Evaluation Clinic of Boston Children’s Hospital. Meisels began his career as a preschool and Kindergarten-first grade teacher in Cambridge and Brookline, Mass. He is professor emeritus and research scientist emeritus at the University of Michigan and president emeritus at Erikson Institute.

In addition to serving as founding executive director of the Buffett Institute, Meisels holds appointments on all four University of Nebraska campuses as professor of child, youth and family studies (UNL), public health (UNMC), education (UNK), and public administration (UNO). One of the nation’s leading authorities on the assessment of young children, he has published more than 200 research articles, books, monographs, and assessments. Meisels was president of the board of directors of Zero to Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, has lectured throughout the U.S. and abroad, and is an advisor and consultant for numerous local, state, and national organizations including the Office of Head Start, the National Academy of Sciences, state departments of education, foundations, public policy groups, and school districts. He holds a bachelor’s degree with high honors in philosophy from the University of Rochester and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 2010 Meisels was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

https://buffettinstitute.nebraska.edu/our-people/sam-meisels

 

 

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