Reflections from Early Childhood Education: Is There a Role for Philanthropy?

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Professor Mathias Urban, Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education at DCU’s Institute of Education

On Thursday, 27th June, members and friends of Philanthropy Ireland attended our Summer Members Networking Event in Boston College to discuss Early Childhood Education: Is There a Role for Philanthropy?

Our session was led by Professor Mathias Urban, Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education at DCU’s Institute of Education, who gave an overview of trends around early childhood education in Ireland and globally, and how philanthropy has the potential to make an impact in the development of this area.

Professor Urban’s address explored how early childhood education, or pre-primary education, has proven to be an extremely important part of the educational system, recognised by its inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (Goal #4). Over the years, progress regarding policy in early childhood education has been made, but some systemic challenges remain. He highlighted that these challenges include; governance, resourcing, fragmentation of services, and marketisation of services.

Professor Urban explored the possible agenda in which the philanthropic sector can play a role. These included:

· Systematically connecting the local and global in terms of practice, policy, research, and theory
· Systems research
· Building EC research capacity in Ireland

Following the engaging presentation by Professor Urban, our guests participated in a Q&A, where the finer details of philanthropy’s role in early childhood education were discussed. Philanthropy Ireland members and guests were particularly engaged with what is needed to help push these changes forward.

Professor Urban’s presentation is available to members by request from Philanthropy Ireland.

Thank you to Boston College for hosting our event.

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