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Enrichment of preschools in a perspective of social innovation

Can this help prevent the problems of social inequality that are established in kindergarten and primary school from continuing into upper-secondary education and onwards? Conference on May 24, 2012.

Info about event


Thursday 24 May 2012,  at 10:00 - 17:15


Department of Education, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 Copenhagen NV


Department of Education (DPU)

Professor James J. Heckman (2008) hypothesises that enriching mainstream preschools may be a better investment in order to decrease social and educational inequalities by improving children’s competence and wellbeing, than later efforts in schools and education. In both the US and the UK, preschool interventions have mainly targeted socially disadvantaged children, but in the Nordic countries more than 90 percent of all children under the age of two attend preschool, which is why it may be more favourable to offer large groups of children high-quality preschools.

The Danish intervention program “VIDA - knowledge-based effort for socially disadvantaged children” is a Danish ECEC-governmental program aimed at improving children’s life opportunities through enrichment of preschool quality through the education and training of preschool teachers with a view to implementing the VIDA program.

The conference will present the preliminary experiences and results of the VIDA project. Areas presented will also include a review of the efforts targeted at socially disadvantaged children and youths that seem to have an effect, as well as what seems to counteract these effects. One of the primary themes is social innovation in daycare, defined as new practices that improve the life chances of socially disadvantaged children.

Keynote speakers will include leading Danish and international researchers who will talk on the importance of early efforts aimed at socially disadvantaged children in daycare, parental involvement and the experiences so far with social innovation processes in international research.

About the conference

The conference will focus on how we can renew daycare. This renewal aims at giving ‘all children’ the best opportunities in life from their early years. In this connection, focus will also be on the role of staff proficiency and education in an innovation perspective.

Current Danish and international knowledge about systematic efforts to promote children’s learning and well-being through inclusive pedagogy and new forms of parental collaboration will form the basis of the conference talks. Participants will hear about cases from international research projects as well as the VIDA-project, which is a comprehensive Danish intervention project about learning and social innovation in the public daycare sector.

The program will include presentations by leading researchers on questions such as: What do we know about the effects of early efforts? Which factors and processes enhance the effects? What have we learned from longitudinal studies? What is going on in the international arena? What is the role of education in staff competence development?

In the afternoon, participants can join several workshops that address changes in daycare at three levels: the organizational level, the institutional level and the practical level. For each level, the workshops will present examples of education, learning and innovation processes as well as management of organizational learning that aims at generating effective efforts in daycare.

The conference targets decision makers, educators, managers, researchers, and politicians. The final program for presentations and workshops will be announced in February 2012.

Conference program

See the detailed program for the conference here

Conference Speakers

  • Christine Antorini, Minister for Children and Education
  • Bente Jensen, Associate Professor at Aarhus University
  • Edward Melhuish, Professor at University of London
  • Tarjei Havnes, Senior researcher at Statistics Norway and postdoc. at University of Oslo
  • Jan Peeters, Dr. and Project Coordinator at Ghent University
  • Mette Gørtz, Head of Centre for Survey/Register Data at SFI
  • Jacqueline Barnes, Professor at University of London.

Read more about the speakers here


Department of Education (DPU)
Aarhus University, Campus Emdrup (in Copenhagen)
Tuborgvej 164
2400 Copenhagen NV.

Price and registration

Register here

Price: DKK 1095.00

Selected VIDA publications are included in the price.