Looking Back, Looking Forward: Early Years & Childhood Studies Conference

10 Mar 2023
Conference organising committee: Dr Deirdre Horgan, Co-Chair ISS21 Children and Young People Cluster, Dr Audrey Dunn Galvin, School of Applied Psychology, Dr Alison More, School of Education and Marie O’Donovan EYCS Administrator, School of Education - with Prof Chris Williams and President John O’Halloran.
Looking Back, Looking Forward: Celebrating 25 Years of Early Years and Childhood Studies in UCC

The Looking Back, Looking Forward conference was hosted by the Early Years and Childhood Studies Programme, UCC, in conjunction with the ISS21 Children and Young People Research Cluster.

This interdisciplinary conference celebrated the BA (Early Years and Childhood Studies) as the first Level 8 Degree in Early Childhood Studies offered in a University in the Republic of Ireland in the 1990’s, and the redeveloped 4 year programme recently approved by the QAB. It recognised the BA(EYCS) as a leader in its field through its nationally and globally recognised research and innovative, transdisciplinary teaching and learning. The focus on past, present and future enabled indepth reflection on Early Childhood Studies in higher education in Ireland.

Keynote Presentations

This interdisciplinary conference featured 2 keynote presenters:

Geraldine French, Associate Professor School of Language, Literacy & Early Childhood Education, DCU. Paper: Literature Review to Support the Updating of Aistear, the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework

Maire Mhic Mhathúna, Chairperson Qualifications Advisory Board for the Early Learning and Care Sector. Paper: Beginning, Being and Becoming: Developments in Early Years Education & Care over the last 25 years and beyond.

Parallel Sessions

The conference included speakers with expertise in the field of Early Years Education and Care in Ireland including graduates of the programme. Parallel sessions covered the following thematic areas:

  1. Creative, participatory and inclusive practice in Early Years
  2. Early Intervention in diverse early years contexts
  3. Building the future Early Years workforce through Education
  4. Children’s well-being: voice, transitions and positive education

The conference opened with an address from Professor John O’Halloran, President of UCC and Professor Chris Williams, Head of CACSSS (College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences), UCC.

The conference showcased the integrated and holistic nature of the EYCS degree and research in early childhood at UCC from the three anchor Schools of Applied Social Studies, Applied Psychology and Education along with Music, Drama and Theatre, and Occupational Therapy. The President commented that the BA (Early Years and Childhood Studies) is well positioned to continue to educate and train the next generation of early childhood educators, to lead policy and curriculum direction in the sector and to shape the research agenda of early years.



Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30