International conference brought together experts in preschool education

Preschool education

UNESCO IITE co-organized the International Practical Online Conference “University of Childhood: Noteworthy Practices”. The event was held online on 1-3 June, 2020. More than 15,000 students from 40 countries learned about the best practices in early childhood education. There were totally 26 experts from China, the USA, Italy, Finland and Russia who presented different approaches.

Preschool Learning Approaches

Peter Westerbaka (Finland), the developer of Angry Birds and the founder of Fun Academy Future Astronauts noted that the main goal of the “fun learning approach” is to cultivate a child’s love for learning and make him/her happy.

Jesse Cofino (USA, China) introduced the Anji Play pedagogical approach, the main task of which is to unleash the potential of the child through playing games. Love, joy, involvement, self-reflection, the ability to take risks and make choices contribute to the harmonious development of a child.

Italian speaker Claudia Giudici shared the main principles of Reggio Emilia Approach, which is based on a project research. A lot of creativity, learning through the environment and the cooperation of teachers with students allow children to express themselves.

Dr. Jun Xiao, a professor at Shanghai Open University, shared innovative online practices during the coronavirus pandemic in China. In particular, Dr. Xiao shared the experience of active interaction between teachers and parents with the use of cloud platforms.

Russian experts raised essential topics about the importance of rules in a child’s life, the community of peers and co-teaching.

Insights of the organizers

Ms Diawara Rokhaya Fall, Education Programme Specialist from UNESCO, shared her vision of the situation. “Today children and their families face considerable difficulties, because they are at risk of not unleashing their potential. On this occasion, it is important to apply creative approaches to the learning process and introduce innovations. We have to answer the following questions: How can we do this at an early stage of a child’s development? What innovations shall we introduce? What basic principles do we need to consider in a distance learning? ”

“These three days were busy and filled with important lessons and experience from different parts of the world. The presented practices and technologies are united by one common holistic idea that preschool education should be child-oriented. We tried to imagine how preschool education can be developed minding different aspects and methods”, said Irina Bykadorova, CEO of the “University of Childhood” Foundation.

To sum up, Ekaterina Rybakova noted: “The numbers of viewers show how important and burning the topic of the conference is. We see that there is a thirst for new knowledge, modern practices and communication with representatives of different cultures and nationalities. “University of Childhood” takes on the solution of this problem by uniting teachers. We will definitely continue to work to that end”.

The conference finished with a discussion of the Russian experts about the future of preschool education and the possibilities of introducing best practices in educational institutions.

The recording of the conference will be available to all previously registered users during the year on the conference website and with access codes that participants received at the registration. There are also the presentations of all speakers available in the “Program” section.