The Good Childhood in a World of Change:
A Nordic-American Dialogue on Best Educational Practices

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On November 18 & 19, 2016, over 225 practitioners from around the world in the field of early childhood education gathered at the Scandinavia House in New York City to explore the deeper meaning of this “Nordic ideal” by attending The Good Childhood in a World of Change: A Nordic-American Dialogue on Best Educational Practices, a symposium conceived and organized by the Child Development Institute (CDI) at Sarah Lawrence College in collaboration with the American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF).

The two-day symposium was a cross-cultural gathering of educators and specialists including professors of education and practitioners/teachers from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and the US who presented at the symposium and facilitated discussions. The symposium key organizers and advisors included Judith Wagner, Monika Heimbold, Sara Wilford, Saundra Norton, Lynn Carter, and Mary Kerr.

The Child Development Institute is deeply grateful to the American-Scandinavian Foundation and to the Heimbold Family Foundation and Monika Heimbold for her leadership in this event and her unwavering support for both CDI and the ASF.

Speakers

  • Maja Sbahi Biehl, Program Director and Faculty, CDD, Child Development and Diversity Program, Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Senior Advisor, Defending the Early Years; Professor Emerita, Early Childhood Education, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA

  • Ingrid Engdahl, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education, Stockholm University, Sweden

  • Heidi Harju-Luukkainen, Associate Professor, Department of Childhood Education, University of Helsinki, Finland

  • Denisha Jones, Assistant Professor, Early Childhood and Elementary Education in the College of Arts and Sciences, Trinity Washington University, Washington, DC

  • Ingrid Pramling-Samuelson, Professor, Early Childhood Education, Gothenburg University, Sweden

  • Judith Wagner, Director, Broadoaks Children’s School; Professor, Education and Child Development, Whittier College, CA

Presentation Topics

  • What is Unique About Early Childhood Education in Scandinavia

  • How Does Finland Have the Best Test Scores in the World

  • Play for All or Play for the Rich and Privileged?

  • An Excellent Education for Every Child: Challenges and Possibilities for US Educators

  • Transition from Preschool to Elementary School: The Implications of Play in Curriculum Development

  • Bringing the Natural World into the Classroom When You Can’t Bring the Children Outside

  • Scandinavian Responses to Increasing Ethno-Cultural Diversity in Schools

Breakout Sessions

  • Loose Parts Play in a Classroom Setting & Loose Parts in the Community w/CAPEs—Millie Harper & Robbin Hawkins

  • Storytelling through a Lens: The Uses of Technology in the Classroom—Mbachi Kumwenda

  • What Would We Create: The Communal Language of Artmaking—Kathleen Ruen

  • Transition from Preschool to Elementary School: The Implications of Play in Curriculum Development—Sonna Schupak

  • Learning from Children’s Work: The Prospect Archives and the Art of Teaching—Mary Hebron & Jerusha Beckerman

  • Increasing Ethno-Cultural Diversity in Schools and Child Care Institutions—Maja Sbahi Biehl

  • “Image of the Child:” How a Philosophical Concept Can Affect Classroom Practice Across Cultures—Sara Wilford