Young Children, Public Spaces and Democracy – Reconstructing Early Childhood Education

On the 31st August 2018 the BRIC project team made a keynote presentation at the 28th European Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference (EECERA), in Budapest, Hungary.

During the conference we shared a document that focuses on the benefits of young children participating regularly in their own communities. It’s free for download here:

BRIC Spotlight

Abstract of our keynote presentation:

Our presentation will critically discuss the BRIC project involving the democratic engagement of young children in public spaces in their communities in England, Italy and Sweden. The project took place from 2014-2017 following participatory action research and polyvocal methods. BRIC was funded by the EU through the ERASMUS + programme.

Lead preschool teachers in each of the three countries coordinated a systematic programme of civic engagement around regular visits to three ‘focus spaces’:
i) a footpath;
ii) an indoor space (not a preschool);
iii) a green outdoor space.

These activities took place firstly with children aged 3-5 years and secondly with children aged two years and under. The process started with dialogue between children, preschool teachers and parents. Community leaders and business people were also invited to participate in the project. The visits and experiences involving the ‘focus spaces’ were documented and reflected on by the participants and disseminated to preschools, parents, local communities and politicians through a series of public forums.

In addition, systematic dialogue and reflection with participating teachers was organized through a regular series of transnational exchanges in each of the participating countries. Further, an international conference to disseminate the BRIC project to a wide audience was held in Göteborg, Sweden in June 2017.

During the presentation, we will reflect critically on the rationale, results and impact of the project, including possible implications for future practice in early childhood.