President’s New Year’s Message 2019 – Dr Chris Pascal

President's New Year's Message 2019 - Dr Chris Pascal | EECERA

As many of our colleagues and members return to work or university this week after the Christmas break, EECERA President, Dr Chris Pascal OBE, shares her New Year’s message for the EECERA scientific community.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As the New Year begins I am writing as President of EECERA and on behalf of the whole Trustees Board, to thank each of you for your valued contribution and membership of the EECERA scientific community. Your active membership is the beating heart of our organization and ensures EECERA has life, energy, and capacity for affirmative action for young children and families. It is important to remind ourselves that together we create a context for dialogue, debate, passion, and knowledge generation which holds early childhood policy, practice, and research together in a synergetic relationship. These relationships allow us, in all of our individual societal locations, to view the future with a determination to continue to make progress in developing high-quality provision and programmes for our youngest children and their families. In this time of clear threats to our democratic beliefs and continued economic uncertainty, our passion, shared intelligence, and collaborative intent becomes even more important.

At the start of a new year, it is useful to look back over what the Association has achieved over the last year and to look ahead to our continued collaboration and activity in 2019.

Last year saw significant developments in the work of our Association. Our Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Debrecen in Budapest, Hungary in late August last year, brought together almost 1000 people from over 50 countries to explore the theme of Early Childhood Education, Families and Communities. The conference was a great celebration of the work of the international ECEC community with a particular focus on issues of home and community learning.

Welcome Address from EECERA President, Chris Pascal

EECERA President, Dr Chris Pascal, delivers her welcome address at the EECERA 2018 conference in Budapest

This year (2019), the conference will be hosted by the University of Thessaloniki in Greece and the theme will be Early Years: Making it Count. The 2019 Conference theme takes up the challenges around the issue of measurement and accountability. ‘What counts’ and ‘Who is making it count and why?’ And there is another subtext in the rubric which suggests we, early years researchers, should be raising the profile and visibility of early childhood studies to make it count in the corridors of power. To be such advocates we need to be articulate, knowledgeable, and assertive and our Conference this year provides a forum to develop those skills.

The inclusion of our Journal, EECERJ, in the Social Science Citation Index, as one of only four ECEC journals worldwide being accorded this top scientific status, gives our journal real status and scientific significance and I am pleased to report that this year our citation index rating increased by nearly 40%, a real achievement. It means our Journal is providing our research community with a high status, dedicated academic forum for publishing their work which meets the highest international standards of scholarship and scientific rigour. Paper submissions to the journal have increased exponentially since we were citation listed and we are now publishing 6 issues a year, usually with one being a special issue on a particular theme. The Journal is led by Professor Tony Bertram and the Special Issues by Professor Júlia Formosinho.

We also have two EECERA book series which have published several titles over the last few months. The first series, Towards an Ethical Praxis in Early Childhood, Series Editors: Nancy Barbour, Joao Formosinho and Chris Pascal, now has 6 titles. The second series, EECERA Collection Book Series of Research Monographs and ECEC topical issues, now has 3 titles. If you have an idea for a book please do contact Professor Tony Bertram or the book series editors.

At the 2018 conference, we re-elected two of the EECERA Trustees and we can look forward to their continued commitment to working hard for the Association:
• Dr Margy Whalley (England)
• Irene Gunning (Ireland)

I also want to say a special thank you to all those who agreed to stand and submitted themselves to what was a very stringent election process. Our Trustees do a sterling job all year round to keep the organisation running smoothly and I thank each of them for their dedicated voluntary work on our behalf.

The continued development and activity of EECERA Special Interest Groups (SIGs), with 15 currently active engaging in cross-national collaborations around a particular theme, is a particular strength of our Association. Most SIGs now meet annually at Conference and also run their own self-organised symposium at Conference as a first step towards developing their work for publication as a themed journal or an edited book.

Picture from the SIG Mathematics Symposium at EECERA 2018

SIG Mathematics Symposium at EECERA 2018. From left to right: Bob Perry (presenter), Sue Dockett, Doris Drexl (presenter), Oliver Thiel (chair) and Elin Reikerås (presenter)

If you wish to join one of the existing SIGs, or would like to start a new one, please contact Dr Jóhanna Einarsdóttir.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the work of our EECERA Country Coordinators who work hard to establish a network of EECERA members in their countries by supporting and coordinating activities that might be beneficial to EECERA. If you are interested in this role then please contact Maelis Karlsson Lohmander.

This summary of the work of EECERA illustrates the scope and scale of our lively and vibrant Association. It pays tribute to the hard work of the Trustees, the Editorial Board and the active members who make all of this happen. It is with great humility and respect for this enormous commitment that I thank you all and look forward to seeing you at our next annual conference in Thessaloniki in August, where I am sure the sun will shine on all of us!

With warmest regards,

Professor Christine Pascal
EECERA President

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