Penn State to host early childhood education conference

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The College of Education at Penn State will host the 20th International Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE) Conference on Nov. 4 to 7. The theme of this year’s conference is “Reconceptualizing the Field: Past, Present, and Future.”

“The Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education conference has traveled the world, meeting in multiple U.S. sites as well as New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom,” said Gail Boldt, associate professor of education and chair of the 2012 conference.

“Hosting the 20th International Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education conference here places Penn State squarely on the global map for early childhood education and childhood studies,” added Joseph Valente, assistant professor of education and vice chair of the 2012 conference.

Boldt and Valente are coordinating with a program committee that includes 10 early childhood scholars from five countries. The program committee currently is inviting proposals from early childhood researchers, pedagogues, practitioners and other cultural workers to present papers and arts-based performances at the conference.

“For the past 20 years, the ‘reconceptualist movement’ has challenged the mainstream early childhood education field for being organized around the idea that all children can and should mirror the norms and values of the majority of society. RECE offers researchers and practitioners a place to debunk myths that there is a ‘right’ way to be a child or teacher,” said Valente.

According to Boldt and Valente, the proposals should comprise topics that challenge traditional assumptions about theory or explore new directions in research, policy and practice in early childhood education and care (ECEC) and childhood studies. The proposals also may engage conference-goers in dialogue about the past, present, and future of reconceptualization efforts by offering innovative practices involving children, families, and educators in diverse settings; by advocating critical and alternative perspectives on ECEC policy issues; by positioning childhood and early childhood education in the context of globalization; by exploring emerging challenges faced by our world; and by offering cross-disciplinary theoretical perspectives that challenge taken-for-granted understandings about childhood and early childhood education.

Both Valente and Boldt have personal reasons for being excited about the upcoming conference.

“For me, personally, as a Deaf scholar and man, RECE offers me an intellectual home -- a place where I can go and connect with like-minded people who are energized by the idea that diversity and equity go hand-in-hand,” said Valente.

Added Boldt, “I began participating in RECE in 1993 as a first-year graduate student and am thrilled, 20 years later, to be working with my colleagues to bring the conference to Penn State. We hope that this opportunity will draw a great deal of local participation in addition to a large international turn out.”

To learn more about the conference and to submit a proposal, go to: online.

Last Updated April 11, 2012