Infants and toddler: Practice, pedagogy and research conference
The Children and Families Research Centre, in collaboration with Gowrie NSW were proud to hold the inaugural Infants and Toddlers: practice, pedagogy and Research conference in Sydney on the 25th-26th of September. The conference brought together practicing early childhood educators and national and interactions infant-toddler researchers with the aim of enhancing the professionalization and profile of specialised infant-toddler practice and research.
The fully subscribed conference was attended by over 250 delegates, many of whom shared details of their own innovative infant-toddler practices during the concurrent presentation sessions. Four internationally –renowned keynote speakers spoke about their own research findings and challenged delegates to think critically about how these findings could extend current ideas about appropriate infant-toddler practice. Dr Jools Page, from Sheffield University, UK, tackled the contentious topic of ‘love’, asking delegates to consider where ‘love’ may fit in professional infant-toddler work. CFRC’s Associate Professor Sheila Degotardi highlighted the significance of the language environment for the ways in which educators foster language development and promote socially-collaborative learning. Associate Professor Jayne White, from Waikato University, New Zealand presented multiple-perspective video data to draw delegates’ attention to the different ways that educators and infants experience the same interaction. Finally, Sandra Cheeseman, also a member of the CFRC, challenged delegates to view infants as agents in their own learning and consider new ways of observing and responding to these very young children’s interests, thoughts and motivations.
The inclusion of ‘In conversation’ sessions immediately following each keynote, provided delegates with opportunities to discuss ideas directly with the speaker, resulting in many in-depth and critically reflective discussions. Feedback from delegates and presenters was overwhelmingly positive, with many asking ‘When will the next Infant-toddler conference be held?’ CFRC and Gowrie NSW hope to continue their mutually beneficial collaborations to make this a regular event.