Young children are playing and learning all the time and everywhere. They don’t differentiate between play and learning – although early years settings often do. Preschools and daycare centres tend to put the focus on play and primary schools emphasize learning. On 6th October, Hogeschool Almere organized the conference The Young Child: ‘Buiten de lijntjes’ to debate this issue from different perspectives.
Margaret Kernan, our colleague and early childhood specialist, gave a key note presentation titled ‘Caring and educating communities for young children: Finding the synergies between home, preschool and the spaces ‘in between’. She highlighted critical turning points from the history of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) regarding how the relationship between children’s lives at home and their experiences in ECEC settings has been envisioned. Margaret pleaded for an approach to ECEC and family support, which embraces the informal, non-formal as well as formal ECEC and which builds the capacities of all generations in the community to be playing, learning and caring partners. Essential for this is a skilled and professional early years workforce.