Aarhus Universitets segl


The SEYCE UNESCO Chair delves into the concept and practice of care in ECCE contexts, as a foundational force that promotes UNESCO educational goals in combination with other important forms of sustainability, which encompass taking care, of our shared planet, the human and nonhuman environment, and especially its more vulnerable members. Consequently, through research, publications, consultancy and conference organisation we intend to systematically support an agenda on care in ECCE, as a dimension that helps support children’s development and learning.

Our research team has a long track record of counselling and advising Danish administration concerning the 0-6 area, which we plan to use for supporting the UNESCO goals. For instance, we provided scientific advice to the Ministry of Employment about the best strategies to ensure inclusion of 0-3 children in terms of education and social mobility (see “The first 1000 days” report in appendix). At a national level, we have been deeply active in the design of the new educational curriculum for the Danish ECCE institutions, as well as in its current implementation in many municipalities (e.g. Fredensborg and Randers). The curriculum strongly reflects the UNESCO vision and goals, as it builds on pedagogical core values concerning early years development and wellbeing: play, learning, care, social interaction and inclusion. These values are brought about in six areas (Personal development; Social skills; Communication and language; Body, senses and motion; Culture, aesthetics and society; Nature, outdoor life and science), so as to create stimulating learning spaces and environments that contribute to unleashing the learners’ potential in creative representation, as well as to foster children’s social relations while expressing feelings and being sensitive to others, solving problems encountered in play activities, and making plans and taking decisions.

Furthermore, building on the well-established research activity developed by our team, SEYCE contributes to providing evidence on the importance of ECCE, highlighting good practices in policy and programme development, strengthening partnerships with local and transnational stakeholders, and coordinating efforts at the global, regional and national levels. In particular, we intend to strengthen collaborations with local, national and transnational ECCE networks to create shared online platforms for data and innovation exchange. For this purpose, we synthesize research and innovative practices in core areas of ECCE, such as programme quality, the transition from ECCE to primary school, and teacher quality in ECCE.

Understanding and fostering ECCE services quality is an especially important focus of our research programme work, which we plan to further expand through the activity of the UNESCO Chair. We intend to examine:

  • How ECCE services create and sustain care, play and learning through building positive social and  relational environments, including physical design and equipment;
  • How teachers participation in children’s play can be improved through guidance designed to promote symbolic play, social skills, and inclusion of vulnerable children;
  • How social relationships and interactions between child and adult can increase children's life chances;
  • How diversity can be sustained and valued to strengthen collaboration between ECEC practitioners;
  • How the critical dimensions of high-quality ECEC services (quality, equity, efficiency and sustainability) can be both supported at the national level and systematically compared at the international one; and
  • How teachers continuous professional development can be  supported at a national and international level within an approach to ECCE workforce improvement.