Goodstart Live Chat

Add text here

Hi there! Need help? Speak to our friendly support team.
Home >  News & advice > July 2017 > Goodstart delegates to attend EECERA conference

Goodstart delegates to attend EECERA conference

Goodstart is sponsoring five delegates to present at the 27th EECERA Conference (European Early Childhood Education Research Association), being held from 29 August to 1 September in Bologna, Italy.

The conference is the largest and most significant early years’ research event in Europe and will this year attract more than 600 researchers from around the world.

The European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) is an independent, non-profit organisation which promotes research on early childhood and its applications to policy and practice.

Hosted by the University of Bologna, the theme for this year’s conference is ‘ECE beyond the crisis: social justice, solidarity and children’s rights’ with a focus on the social and political role of early childhood education as tool for transformation in times of unprecedented complexity.

Goodstart’s delegates are being led by Dr Kate Liley, National Research Manager, and Greg Antcliff, National Manager Professional Practice. In addition to attending the conference, the delegates will spend time visiting early learning centres in Bologna as well as two days in Reggio Emilio where they will visit the Loris Malaguzzi Centre to learn more about the Reggio educational philosophy.

Dr Liley believes attending conferences like EECERA 2017 are invaluable learning and sharing opportunities for Goodstart in its role as a sector leader.

“This conference is an opportunity to inspire and be inspired by others about quality and inclusive early childhood education.

“The opportunity to represent Goodstart is such an honour and privilege. We are all looking forward to being able to reflect on and share what we learn each day during the conference.”

Also attending the conference are Sheila Kiaei (teacher at Goodstart Double Bay), Sharon McKinlay (Qld Early Learning Consultant) and David Martin (Educator at Goodstart Ashgrove).

The individual presentations being delivered by Goodstart delegates are below:

Individual paper presentation - Dr Kate Liley

Title: ‘The men who are here, want to be here’: Male educator perspectives in Early Childhood Education.

Research aims: This research is generating the evidence-based approach to improving the recruitment and retention of male educators in a large ECEC organisation.

Relationship to previous research works: Despite evidence on the benefits of gender equity, males continue to be a marginalised minority in ECEC settings. While low pay and concerns about physical touch are barriers to male participation (Cooney & Bittner, 2001), research in this area is limited. Policy and practice do however determine organisational climate and the subsequent turnover rates for groups within the workforce (Litwin and Stringer, 1968; Schneider, 2008; Gupta 2008).

Main finding or discussion: Settings that champion the contribution made by male educators to children’s lives have significantly more to offer children and families that those that don’t. The results indicate that settings that champion the contribution made by male educators to children’s lives have significantly better organisational climate than those that don’t.

Implications, practice or policy: The implications of this research are in informing new approaches to the recruitment and retention of male educators that includes a focus on the domains of organisational climate, policy implementation and the better advocacy about the beneficial role male educators’ play in the lives of children.

Poster presentation – Greg Antcliff

Title: Implementing evidence-informed practice at scale. Are we there yet? No but we have made a Goodstart!

Research aims: This evaluative research aims to measure change in environmental and pedagogical quality resulting from the implementation of an organisational capacity building program, coupled with an evidence-informed Practice Guide.

Relationship to previous research works: There is a significant gap between what is known to be effective practice (research), and what is being delivered on the ground (practice) (Metz et al, 2013; Fixsen et al, 2005). Barriers to evidence informed practice often mean the incorporation of evidence into practice is ‘random’ (Antcliff et al, 2014).

Main finding or discussion: Preliminary quantitative findings indicate an overall significant improvement in environment quality ratings scales. Barriers and facilitators to implementation; the conditions under which the Practice Guide appears to have the most / least effect; and further implementation directions and efforts will be discussed.
Implications, practice or policy: This research suggests that to increase the use of evidence into practice by educators, implementation science offers a framework and language to support practice transformation at scale.

Self-organised symposium – Sharon McKinlay

Title: What keeps Australian early childhood teachers working in long day care?

Research aims: Australian and international government policies aim to increase the supply of early childhood teachers in early childhood education and care (ECEC) to ensure the greatest impact on children’s learning and transition to school. Amongst reforms in Australia is the requirement for university degree qualified early childhood teachers to be employed to provide a preschool education program for children in the year prior to school entry. Realisation of this policy goal is hampered by teacher shortages and the challenge of attracting and retaining teachers in ECEC. This presentation will share findings from a recent study investigating what keeps Australian early childhood teachers working in long day care.

Relationship to previous research works: This research links to a larger national research project funded by the Australian Research Council to identify strategies to grow and sustain a professional early years workforce.

Main finding or discussion: The study identifies a range of individual and contextual factors that enabled and/or challenged these teachers’ experience of working in long day care.

Implications, practice or policy: The presentation will offer practical insights and support discussion on strategies to support recruitment and retention efforts in ECEC.

Poster presentation – Sheila Kiaei

Title: Children connect with the world around them.

Research aims: ‘All about me’ is an action research study that aims to describe how creating a community learning environment supported a group of children in long day care in enhancing their sense of self through connecting with local community.

Relationship to previous research works: Children learn about themselves and construct their identity within the context of their families and communities (DEEWR, 2009; Bronfenbrenner, 1979). As children develop, community connection helps them to find their place in the world, to develop understanding of how society works, and to recognise and understand the shared values that underpin their society (UNCRC, 2006; Jackman, 2008).

Main finding or discussion: The study found that a local community learning environment successfully extended children’s problem solving skills and strengthened educator relationships with each other as well as with children, families and the broader local community.

Implications, practice or policy: The study found sustained and effective communication is essential to developing and maintaining positive interactions with children, their families and educators.

Poster presentation – David Martin

Title: ‘All for one and one for all’: Partnerships between educators make a positive impact on learning.

Research aims: The aim of this action research study was to examine the relational issues at a metropolitan early learning service.

Relationship to previous research works: Child-educator and educator-family relations are a natural focal point of partnerships in early childhood, with outcomes for children more likely achieved when educators build strong partnerships with families (DEEWR 2009, Flottman, McKernan and Tayler, 2011). However, there is an absence of literature about the impact weak educator-educator partnerships may have on the quality of the educational program. Weak educator-educator partnerships don’t reflect collaboration which is central to professionalism (Dalli, 2008). Engendering professionalism among staff is important in improving staff collaboration and the quality of the educational program to children (Lumsden, 2005; Bruder, 2010).

Main finding or discussion: The study revealed an absence of affirming and supportive partnerships between educators at the centre. This resulted in a surviving culture rather than a thriving culture. Coupled with staffing ratio challenges, the prevailing culture within the centre affected development of relationships between educators, putting at risk the quality of educational programs at the centre.

Implications, practice or policy: As an Action Research Project, this research identified areas for improvement in educator-educator relationships that will better support relationships with children, families and community.


Posted by Goodstart
24 July 2017

Related articles

Signup to our Newsletter!

Stay in the loop on Latest News & Expert Advice.