2019 Conference Theme


The remarkable curiosity and exploratory drive of most young children ensures that they actively and continually seek to discover and make sense of their world. Less than 20% of young children’s lives are spent in centre-based, learning settings and our BECERA 2019 theme encourages delegates to critically evaluate the many other places and spaces where young children’s learning takes place and the characteristics and nature of learning ‘beyond the classroom’.

We suggest three strands to frame this thinking but, clearly, they are not exhaustive:
1. Learning in the Home
2. Learning in Public Places and Spaces
3. Learning for Life

We are particularly interested in considering differences in the learning experience between the classroom and beyond.

For example, the development of social cognition and children’s understanding of how people interact, how they understand their own world and their place in it, the need for different behaviours and talk in different contexts, what’s appropriate, and how we get on, collaborate and learn with and from others.

Linked to this personal social and emotional understanding is the development of ‘executive functioning’ now increasingly seen as the pre-eminent indicator of successful achievement in life. Does this social cognition, as one example, develop in a different way beyond the classroom? One might also like to consider this theme in the context of EY practitioners and their broader access to CPD and lifelong learning.



There is much research which supports the significance of the ‘home learning environment’ and we invite delegates to share ideas about what this is; the engagement of parents; ‘companionable learning’, which may or may not include parents; parental involvement in transitions and other aspects of home learning.



What learning places and spaces are available and accessible to young children; parks, shopping, libraries, open space, community art and events; social media and internet; what kind of learning can occur in these spaces; and how are these changing or contracting?



Are there particular types of learning in outdoor or non-centre based spaces and places which provide for the development of educational dispositions or attitudes, the ‘super-skills’ of learning, which last a lifetime? Are there environments where resilience, exploration, curiosity, self-motivation, independence and social collaboration are fostered?


Our keynote speakers will address some of these issues but BECERA is a forum where the dialogue and knowledge transfer, power and voice, democracy and participation are actively encouraged from all delegates in a su pportive environment.