2020 Conference Theme: HOME LEARNING CULTURES 

In November last year, the UK Government working with the Literacy Trust and other interested organisations produced a policy document entitled Improving the Home Learning Environment (HLE). It set out an evidence base underpinning HLE. In addition, with an online ‘behaviour change model’ called Hungry Little Minds , they claimed this joint project would ‘bring together the latest evidence and draw on the experience of what works on the ground’. The stated ambition was ‘ to halve the proportion of children who do not achieve at least expected levels across all goals in the ‘communication and language’ and ‘literacy’ areas of learning at the end of reception year by 2028 ’.
Internationally, research evidence does indeed demonstrate the significance of HLE to early language development and early literacy skills, but this year’s BECERA conference seeks to explore more fully what ‘HLE’ might mean to our early childhood community. Magnetic letters on the fridge maybe helpful but we want to explore the multiple ways that ‘Home Learning Cultures’ shape and develop the whole child and its fundamental part in the relationship between setting and home. For example:
 - What part does social and cultural capital play?
 - What are the families’ inherent social and cultural values and how do they sit with the child’s settings?
 - How do the interactions and relationships within the home shape the child and their development?
 - How is a child’s educative dispositions, curiosity, exploratory drive and persistence encouraged at home and then between home and setting?
 - What are the learning ‘affordances’ in the home culture and how does the setting recognise and extend them?
 - How open is the setting to the communities it serves?
 - How does the setting support the significant adults in a young child’s life and support their interest and responsiveness to their child’s learning?
It is these wider and more complex issues and questions that we are addressing in the theme of Home Learning Cultures.
To help us frame our discussions we have been fortunate to obtain the input of two outstanding international speakers:
Dr Marhy WhalleyDr Margy Whalley, who as the former Director of the Pen Green Research Base,developed parental and community practices and theories about how integrated settings could work collegially with parents and others. Her book on ‘Involving Parents in their Children’s Learning’ made an important contribution to the debate. 
Prof. Kathy Sylva, one of the foremost scholars in the field of early childhood research in the UK and internationally. Kathy’s major contribution through the longitudinal EPPE project has had a significant impact on policy development and she continues to make a considered and rigorous approach to research in our field. Kathy was also an acknowledged contributor to the recent HLE policy document.
As always the major part of the BECERA day conference will be papers presented for peer review in research symposia. We ask you to send us your presentation proposals on the chosen theme using the sub-themes below or any other associated issue which focuses on young children’s learning.
Home Learning Cultures
  • What are its characteristics?
  • What impedes or enhances our support of Home Learning Cultures?
  • How can they be developed to benefit the child?
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