2023 Symposium

Concepts of Child-Centredness revisited:

Images – Institutions – Impacts

13th of May, 2023

11:00 – 17:00 h


Organised by the Patron Body of Sligo School Project

Educational practice in school or at home is always linked to guiding ideas and certain visions of what is “right and wrong.” Such ideas and basic assumptions are often expressed in terms that seem to explain everything in just a few words. But they are rarely looked at for their substance and their essential relationship to daily practices.

For teachers and parents alike, caught up in the thralls of everyday busy-ness it is often difficult to allow for thought to go beyond solving the sheer practical day-to-day issues. For the day of the Symposium we grant ourselves the freedom to pause and think together a bit deeper.

In this year’s Symposium we took up threads that developed from last year’s discussion of concepts of child-centredness. For this purpose we had produced a discussion paper as a starting platform and a point of reference, it can be found here.

There were three sessions on the day. For the first two session we had invited two guest speakers:

erica-norway1-150x150Erica Burman

Professor of Education, at the University of Manchester, addressed images of child, children, childhood in the context of child-centredness. She brought an interdisciplinary perspective to the topic, building on critical psychology, feminist and childhood studies.


gerry macruaircGerry Mac Ruairc

Established Professor of Education and Head of School in the Schooling NUI Galway, was a teacher and school inspector. He spoke about experiences in Irish schools, and the model of Reggio Emilia in Italy.


The third session was reserved for all participants for an open discussion, taking into account Erica’s and Gerry’s session, referring back to the discussion paper, and connecting to their own practices in their relevant fields, be that as parents, teachers, educators.

Home-made food was provided during breaks.

Child-minding was available on request.

We have created a separate page with a couple of snapshots from the day, and some afterthoughts. You can find it here.