LEADING research and practice in the field of early childhood education will be discussed at a two-day conference to be held in Bahrain next month. More than 160 people from the region and worldwide are expected to attend the First International Early Childhood and Montessori Conference.
It is held under the theme: Childhood An Evolutionary Vision - Celebrating 100 years of Montessori.
The event is being held by the Mother Child Home Education Programme (MOCEP) in co-operation with the Bahrain Montessori Centre (BMC) at the Beit Al Quran in Manama on May 26 and 27.
The conference targets all levels of lay people and professionals that either work or are interested in early years education and development, teacher training, early years curriculum, multiple intelligences, Montessori, the Reggio Emilia approach and Project Zero work from Harvard University.
The four keynote speakers to address the conference are MOCEP and BMC founder and director Dr Julie Hadeed; Harvard Graduate School of Education, Project Zero educational researcher Mara Krechevsky; Cambridge University early years scholar Mary Jane Drummond; and Montessori Centre International, London, chief executive Barbara Isaacs.
They will discuss early learning, a Montessori approach to education versus a traditional one, multiple intelligences and related topics.
The conference will consist of morning lectures, followed by individual workshops in the afternoons that will address more hands-on experience.
Dr Hadeed said the conference was an excellent opportunity to present a global vision of high quality early years educational approaches and directions for leading the way forward.
"Early childhood is important because the first six years of life are critical for the whole of life," Dr Hadeed told the GDN.
"Long-term research evidence clearly shows that the extent and quality of early years intervention in terms of pre-school has lasting and significant benefits later in life.
"Early years education is the right of every child under the UN Convention on Human Rights, not a privilege for only those who can afford it."
Dr Hadeed said Bahrain could benefit from introducing a Montessori approach.
"It would also educate parents and the local community on early years education," she added.
"Childhood is irreversible," said Dr Hadeed, who has been an early years educator and researcher for over 35 years.
"The investment into early years is not an option but rather an obligation and responsibility"
The Montessori environment provides self-teaching materials paving the way for independent learning.
The conference celebrates the honorary legacy of Dr Maria Montessori, who founded the Montessori concept 100 years ago, and some leading research and practice in the field of early education and development.
The event is sponsored by Esterad and Gulf Finance House. For more information contact MOCEP Bahrain on 17292877, or email [email protected]