2018 Congress
The transition to school: equity, quality and innovation






Videos / Photos

Vision and objectives of the congress


The International Congress focused on Childhood is one of our association’s key events, organised every two years. The 2018 edition is being organised in partnership with the Quebec Association of Early Childhood Centres, the Encyclopaedia of Early Childhood Development, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and private partners engaged in the cause of Early Childhood. This congress will take place on June 14 and 15, 2018 at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

This 2nd edition of the International Congress focused on Childhood will thus continue its mission: to offer a forum for the purpose of sharing knowledge, innovations and best practices with respect to education and the holistic development of young children, in order to facilitate debate on educational and family policy.

Our primary objective is to unite, explore and construct solid bases founded on a consensus of the major educational actors in order to support and link educational policies and practices in the field.


This year, the theme of the event is “The transition to school: equity, quality and innovation”. Speakers, coming from both national and international research milieux as well as from the field, will be invited to dialogue about the strategies and means that will allow governments and other stakeholders to set up an educational continuum from birth through the commencement of primary school.

The transition to school represents a major step in a child’s development. Children and their families experience a significant discontinuity when they make the transition to kindergarten, and then to primary school. Currently, countries are increasingly investing in early childhood with an eye to improving the quality and reach of their educational systems, a phenomenon that constitutes a virtual paradigm shift without precedent at the international level.

Nonetheless, educational actions and initiatives implemented either in early childhood settings or within schools seem to be compartmentalised and thus, develop in parallel, but independently of the development of children from birth through the first years of life up to their entrance into primary school.

Moreover, on top of this arbitrary demarcation of a child’s life by the simple criterion of age is added a multidimensional debate over the skills and aptitudes necessary to be considered “ready for school”. The emphasis placed on academic priorities and increased rigour constitute a real challenge for children when starting their formal education; a challenge rendered even more complex given that the education offered during the child’s early years serves rather to reinforce children’s aptitude for self-regulation, and the development of their social and cognitive skills. Shouldn’t children who are exploring, dreaming, and experimenting be engaged in something more extensive than just their “student role” upon starting formal schooling?


Organised around 4 basic sessions, and within the context of Sustainable Development Goal 4.2 (SDG 4.2), which seeks, “by 2030, to ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education,” the Congress will focus on facilitating actions to:

  • Build the process of the transition to school on solid foundations centred on children, in order to better focus on the necessary competencies and skills
  • Prepare schools to do a better job of welcoming children during this period of both strong potentialities and fragilities
  • Promote integration, equity and diversity in the process of educational continuity for an education that is both top quality and inclusive
  • Unite and engage all stakeholders around a common culture and the skills necessary to support children’s capacity to learn
  • Create tools to promote teaching and quality content that will encourage innovative approaches in teaching and learning
  • Recommend directions for public policy that will support a quality process and educational continuity
  • Champion social investment to foster development and a fully integrated educational path
  • Define effective ways to measure the impact and effectiveness of Early Childhood transition programmes

Steering Committee



Congress videos – Day 1

Day 1 - Warm Up

Day 1 - Opening Ceremony

Day 1 - Introductory Session

Day 1 - Session 1.1. A child-centred perspective on transition

Day 1 - Session 1.2. A better understanding of child development

Day 1 - Session 1.3. Prioritising equity ahead of the transition to school

Day 1 - Session 1.4. A whole village to build this educational continuum

Day 1 - Workshop #1 Katrien Van Laere

Day 1 - Workshop #2 Isabelle Vinet & Peter Dixon

Day 1 - Workshop #3 Erika Dähler

Congress videos – Day 2

Day 2 - Geneviève Avenard Opening Remarks

Day 2 - Hon Margaret Norrie McCain Opening Remarks

Day 2 - Session 2.1. Tools in the service of quality

Day 2 - Session 3.1. Developing public policies that encourage a continuum of education

Day 2 - Session 3.2. Advocacy for massive social investment

Day 2 - Session 4.1. Monitoring, evaluating, adapting, scaling up

Day 2 - Outcome 1 with Expert Witness Alberto Lidji

Day 2 - Outcome 2 with Professional witnesses M.Dutriévoz-Boyer, Y.Husianycia and R.Mellado

Day 2 Outcome 3 "Storytelling"

Congress photos