Early Childhood Education and Care Network

Network convenors: Persille Schwartz and Kristina Westlund


The Early Childhood network focuses on children’s initial engagement in out of home learning activities offered by the public or private sector as ECEC-activities. ECEC is an abbreviation of Early Childhood Education and Care, and as such the network takes a stand that education and care walks hand in hand. Children attending these activities will most often be aged 0-6 years, and will be attending half or full time.
The network was launched in 2009 with the intent of creating a platform for ECEC practitioners, researchers and policymakers around the world to share knowledge and experiences from their own or other people’s professional work in the ECEC-sector.

When participating in the Early Childhood network you will receive information about recent ECEC-research, conferences or political initiatives and you will have access to knowledge on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in countries of other participants.

Collaborations and activities

As the presence of network participants varies a lot from congress to congress, the network arranges internet based meeting between congresses in addition to the conference meeting. At the meetings the network members share and discuss recent research, policy issues and other topics related to ECEC. The meetings take place four times a year and have e.g. focused on cross national research, monitoring systems in different countries and on including children’s perspectives as feed-back to staff on areas for quality improvement.

As a new initiative the network will do a pilot project on connecting ECEC-staff and managers, policymakers and local politicians from different nations in reflections on quality in relation to shared curriculum subjects.

Network members are welcome to come up with suggestions or initiatives regarding future topics for meetings and collaborations.


In the 2019 congress, the ECEC network focused on children’s agency and participation. Our aim was to create a discussion based on examples of how children’s perspectives can scaffold adult learning about how to increase quality of an ECEC-setting.

The network ran a shared symposium with the Educational Leadership network taking a starting point in managers perspectives on what to learn from ECEC-leadership in other nations. The symposia will be followed up in the 2020 congress.

At the business meeting experienced and new delegates shared information on research areas of interest. The upcoming virtual network meeting will include some of the subjects to be discussed among network members offering the different perspectives from researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

Persille Schwartz
Chief Adviser,
Center for Learning and Well-being
Municipality of Holbaek, Denmark

Kristina Westlund
Department of Early Childhood Education
City of Malmö, Sweden