Policies, Practices and Qualifications in Early Childhood Education

Key note speaker

Professor Susanne A. Denham, Department of Psychology, George Mason University, USA

Editor of 'Early Education and Development', international expert on early childhood education

Susanne Denham is an applied developmental psychologist and University Professor Emerita of psychology at George Mason University, with M.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and Ph.D. from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She worked in the 1970s as senior school psychologist and coordinator of an early 0-5 early intervention program.

Her work centers on the social-emotional development of preschoolers, particularly their emotional competence and its socialization by pivotal adults (parents and teachers), along with its importance for social and academic functioning. She is author of two books and numerous scholarly articles.

Along with participation on several editorial boards and a past co-editorship for Social Development, Denham is current editor of Early Education and Development. She strongly espouses a philosophical stance of research-based practice and practice-informed research, and her school psychology training strongly informs her work.

Prof. Carmel CEFAI

Carmel Cefai, Phd (Lond), FBPS, is the Director of the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health, and Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, at the University of Malta. He was a visiting fellow at the School of Education, University of Leicester, UK, Honorary Visiting Scholar at Flinders University, Australia, and Fulbright Scholar at the Prevention Research Centre at Pennsylvania State University, USA. He is joint founding honorary chair of the European Network for Social and Emotional Competence (ENSEC), founding co–editor of the International Journal of Emotional Education, associate editor of the international journal Emotional Behaviour Difficulties and international editor of the Journal of Pastoral Care in Education. Heis a member of the European Commission Network of Experts on Social Aspects of Education and Training (NESET II) and member of the NESET II coordinating team.

Prof. Cefai is the coordinator of an EU funded project on the development of a Masters programme in resilience in children and young people (ENRETE, 2016-2018), and of other projects on resilience, wellbeing of children, and mental health promotion in schools. His research interests include resilience, social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people, and mental health promotion in school. He has published extensively in the area and some of his books include Mental Health Promotion in Schools: Cross Cultural Narratives and Perspectives (2017), RESCUR Surfing the Waves: A Resilience Curriculum for Early Years and Primary Schools (2015), Social and Emotional Education in Primary School: Integrating Theory and Research into Practice (2014), Building Resilience in School Children (2011) and Promoting Resilience in the Classroom: A Guide to Developing Pupils’ Emotional and Cognitive Skills (2008).


Dr. Zuhal Yılmaz Doğan is the coordinator of Projects Coordinatorship at Doğa Schools group, are in charge of the school’s involvement in numerous scientific, Erasmus+ and H2020 projects. She has gained great experience as project coordinator. She contributed to the development of on-line courses and coordinated project activities in schools in LLP Projects www.bsiproject.com , http://www.ntse-nanotech.eu/, www.sustain-project.eu. She has extended experience as a foreign language teacher and a teacher trainer of MoNE to train the language teachers on current methodologies and programs, instructional designs on interdisciplinary teaching. She had studies about the applicability of “A CEF-R for Languages” in public schools during her master education and she has PhD at Yıldız Technical University of Program Design and Development Department. She got TESOL certificate from UMASS in 2011.

She was local coordinator of TTT NET (Teamwork, Training, and Technology Network, COMENIUS Multilateral Networks) 540029-LLP-1-2013-1-IT-COMENIUS-CNW, Eduforhealty (Let’s make it better! Raising the awareness of the triad nutrition-health-food safety in school education) KA2 project, 2014-1-RO01-KA200-002931, CARMA (RMA and Other Non-Formal Learning Methods for Student Motivation) KA3- Support for Policy Reform 562261-EPP-1-2015-1-IT-EPPKA3-PI-FORWARD, EUMOSCHOOL (Emotional education for Early School Leaving Prevention), KA2 Strategic Partnership for School Education. DEMOKLEOS (Rethinking Democratic Awareness and Collective Responsibility for a whole-school approach) KA2 Strategic Partnership for School Education. WoW ! (Developing World Skills of World Youth for Better Employability), Capacity Building for Youth in ACP countries, Latin America and Asia. 566050-EPP-1-2015-1-BG-EPPKA2-CBY-ACPALA. Horizon 2020 funded project WYRED (netWorked Youth Research for Empowerment in the Digital society) H2020-SC6-REV-INEQUAL-2016

Maria Ampartzaki

Maria Ampartzaki is a Permanent Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Preschool Education at the University of Crete. Her research work is particularly focused on teaching methodology, and teachers’ in-service training for the improvement of teaching practices. She has a considerable experience in action research in educational settings and in the use of Learning Management Systems in Higher Education, Distance Education and In-service Training for teachers. Maria has also experience in developing educational programs and working as part of multidisciplinary teams in order to design and implement educational interventions and educational packs for the formal or informal educational settings. Her contribution to this field has been recently recognized as her work publication “Communities of practice and participatory action research: the formation of a synergy for the development of museum programmes for early childhood” had been considered to be an exemplar of “engaged scholarship” and included in the toolbox of the TRUCENetwork which is comprised of 39 of the best American Universities.

Jurgita Vaitiekuniene

Jurgita Vaitiekuniene, ISM University, master‘s degree in education leadership (2014). She is director of Panevezys region Education center. The main goals of the Education Center are to capacitate conditions for life-long learning, meet cognitive needs, upgrade acquired qualifications, obtain additional competencies, motivate formation of learning communities, and disseminate experiences of successful teachers. She is external assessor of National school assessment agency.

She is local coordinator of KA2 project “ProSocial Values”, Nr. 2017-1-IT02-KA201-036860; KA2 project „Accompanying the potential of development in Early Education, „Edu B612“ Nr.2018-1-IT02-KA201-048515; KA3 „Early Childhood Education – building sustainable motivation and value paradigm for life“, Nr. 580339-EPP-1-2016-1-BG-EPPKA3-IPI-SOC-IN. She belongs to European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 817732 project PROTEIN governance (EAB). PROTEIN is a research initiative led by a consortium of European public- and private-sector organizations working to promote health and wellbeing. By bringing together experts from across Europe, PROTEIN will develop tools using the latest communications technologies and machine learning strategies to provide personalized nutrition and physical activity support to EU citizens.

Iglika Angelova

Iglika Angelova is a pedagogical expert with background as school teacher and vast experience as teacher trainer at national and international level. Currently works as teacher of refugee children and conducts research in the pedagogic intervention models for value education. A leader in the development and practical school application of educational materials, interactive lessons and high quality teaching aids for teachers’ qualification courses; develops innovative didactic materials and ICT based products and is also educative consultant for learning materials developing companies. Has a degree in Slavic philology and specialisations in psychology, speech therapy and cinema art.

Huge experience working in more than 20 projects (LLL EU programs) and at the moment a Partner and coordinator in TTT Net Project, (9 countries) including University in Stavanger, Norway.

Excellent social skills. Communicative and good presentation skills. I am a lecturer in courses ”Non aggressive communication,”Communication skills”, Writing and presentation skills and “21st Century communication competences” etc. in PhD CE BAS programs.

Organizer and methodology expert in Inquiry science camps, with partners Bulgarian Red Cross, Space Camp-Izmir, NASA programmes for children education. www.space campturkey.com, http://spacecamp.cct.bg/

Milagros Ragodin Nabur

MIlagros Ragodin Nabur founded the International Migrants School in Rome, Italy in 2017 while doing her PhD studies and researches at the Pontificia Facoltà Scienze di Educazione. Her objective is to provide a challenging and innovative International Program within a nurturing environment, motivating and inspiring young students or children to achieve their academic and personal excellence.

She strives to build a school in order to give new hope to the foreign students who find it difficult to integrate to an Italian School because of the language, culture and environment. IMS's purpose is to accommodate the needs of education for the foreign students, specifically the young ones from the early age of 3 years old up to 18 years old.

As of now there are 100+ students enrolled in the school and it was recognized by the Ministry of Education in the Philippines and in MIUR Italy and other respective Ministries and authorities.

Mary O'Reilly

Mary O'Reilly is the International Professional Lead for EARLY YEARS and has over 27 years’ experience providing EARLY YEARS Specialist services, training and mentoring to early years educators. Her involvement in a number of International projects has reflected the Northern Ireland experience and enhanced mutual learning and sharing opportunities. Her work focuses on identifying and meeting the needs of early years services, promoting quality in early years settings and improving outcomes for young children in partnership with other agencies.

Mairead Mc Mullen

Mairead Mc Mullen has been employed by Early Years - the organisation for young children from Northern Ireland since 2012 as Project Manager in Clogher Valley Surestart and has 20 years experience in supporting children, families and communities. Throughout her career history Mairead has actively been involved in engaging parents, families and young adults in accessing services and programmes. Her most recent work in Surestart, provides experiences in how effective parental engagement and best practice around this, is vital to ensuring better outcomes for children and families.

Ruta Grigaliunaite

Ruta Grigaliunaite is a project Manager at Rights and Justice Unit of CESIE. She has a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Conflict Management from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy, a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Management, Vilnius University, Lithuania.

Since January 2016 Ruta has been working at CESIE currently being responsible for the preparation of situation/ needs analysis and overall management of several projects to build skills and competencies of teachers to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in schools (DG JUST - REC Programme (2014-2020) - SAFER Systematic Approaches for Equality of gendeR); to enhance capacity of support services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (DG JUST - REC Programme (2014-2020) - BASE Migrant and refugee child-friendly support services in cases of sexual and gender-based violence); to support the transition and autonomy of children in care and young care-leavers with migration background (DG JUST - REC Programme (2014-2020) - INTEGRA Multidisciplinary Mentorship program to support the entrepreneurship of children in care and young care-leavers).

She has knowledge and skills in capacity building activities on women rights developed through her professional experience in IDP settlements in Georgia. Also, she has experience as a researcher in conducting a research on refugee situation in Lithuania, as well as developing a methodology of Peace History that is a tool used for conflict transformation.

The field of expertise covers: non-formal education, human rights, gender equality, gender-based violence, conflict transformation and community building programmes.