International ECEfS update by Sue Elliott, 22 Sept 2023
During August 2023, two international face-to-face gatherings were held focussed on ECEfS and specifically research in this field. Australia was well represented at these gatherings by Dr Sylvia Almeida, Dr Fran Hughes, Dr Jayne Kinley, Dr Lisa Sonter and Dr Sue Elliott. As a participating co-convenor of both the Transnational Dialogues in ECEfS Research (established 2010) and the European Early Childhood Education Research Association Sustainability SIG (established 2019) it was inspiring for me to hear from researchers across many countries.
Firstly, the eighth Transnational Dialogue in ECEfS Research (TND8) was held with generous support from Mälardalen University, Sweden, where co-convenor Professor Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér is located. The 27 attendees represented some 11 countries and the focus was Where to next? Examining the gaps, issues and needs in Early Childhood Education for Sustainability research. Over three days we visited local preschools, engaged in round table discussions, shared country updates and offered research presentations. As the group had only met online since 2017 in Canada, many connections were rejuvenated and newcomers welcomed. The group is developing a proceedings report for publication to document the initiatives and insights generated at TND8. The TND has an international mailing list of over 150 participants and the co-convenors are: Professor Eva Ärlemalm- Hagsér, Mälardalen University; Professor Barbara M. Sageidet, Stavanger University; Dr Sue Elliott, University of New England; Dr Sule Alici, Kirsehir Ahi Evran University; and, Dr Lyndal O’Gorman, Queensland University of Technology. Please direct any queries about TND to the local Australian co- convenors, Lyndal firstname.lastname@example.org or Sue email@example.com.
Secondly, the annual European Early Childhood Education Research Association conference was held in Estoril, Portugal. The Sustainability SIG meeting held on the first day attracted 41 participants from across 12 countries. A meeting highlight was the launch of a SIG Sustainability position statement now ratified and well supported by the EECERA Board of Trustees. This statement offers a benchmark for other early childhood education associations/organisations seeking to promote sustainable futures for all. The SIG members also offered four symposia around ECEfS during the conference. For more information about the Sustainability SIG, see https://www.eecera.org/sig/sustainability-in-early-childhood-education/. The 2024 EECERA https://2024.eeceraconference.org/
The Children and Nature Network (USA) has released a March 2023 Research Digest on ECEfS, available here Research Digest: Early Childhood Education for Sustainability (ECEfS) | Children and Nature Network. Thanks to Ruth Wilson USA for her role in this digest to promote ECEfS, Ruth has had long standing connections with Australian advocates since the 1990’s when she wrote her first books in this area.