The Global Forum on Child Development and Family Education

The first Global Forum on Child Development and Family Education was successfully held on the 14th and 15th of May 2021 in the city of Shenzhen, China.

This forum was co-sponsored by Shenzhen Education Bureau, BNU, UCL, Shenzhen Futian District People’s Government, and organised by the Faculty of Education of BNU and Shenzhen Futian District Education Bureau. The executive units were the Institute of Child Development and Family Education of the Faculty of Education of BNU,  Shenzhen Radio and Television Group, and the UCL Centre for Teacher and Early Years Education.

The theme of the Forum was “Diversity, Inclusion, Collaboration and Sustainability: Global Child Development and Family Education in Changing Times”. This theme is not only consistent with the purpose of UNESCO and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but also fully reflects the global trend of child development and family education in this era of rapid development and change.

The Forum had 46 speakers share their ideas offline at the venue, and another 11 speakers from 7 countries who delivered their presentations online. 

Nearly 2300 people in total attended the Forum in person, and around 100,000 viewers watched live streams online. 

The main venue hosted more than 1500 people, and around 800 people attended the sub-venues. Participants came from all over China, representing more than 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. The number of domestic online viewers was 97,055.

The main venue in the Shenzhen Broadcasting Group 1800 Studio Hall

The Forum was held online and offline simultaneously, with offline venues in various locations, including primary and middle schools. Within these sub-venues, scholars, researchers and practitioners of global child development and family education conducted in-depth discussions and explorations on the three sub-themes of diversity, cooperation and sustainability. The three sub-themes complement each other, integrate with each other, and run through all aspects of children and family policy guidance, law and regulation, academic research, and daily practice…

Sub-venue 2 in Cuibei Experimental Primary School
Sub-venue 3 in Xin'an Middle School

1.The sub-theme of diversity and integration focuses on how to interpret and analyse the overall development and family education of children from a global perspective in different cultural, social, historical and political contexts,

2. The sub-theme of collaboration focuses on how the government, society, schools, and families can support and collaborate with each other to jointly promote the creation of an educational ecology that is conducive to the overall development of children,

3. The sub-theme of sustainability looks forward to the future, focusing on discussing current hot issues and cutting-edge development trends in the research of child development and family education in order to achieve the overall sustainable development of children.

Principal Zang Xiuxia of Hongling Experimental Primary School proposed that curriculum is the source of integrating schools, communities and families, and believes that it is necessary to integrate family-school-community through curriculum to enhance children's education
Deputy director Wang Shuifa of the Shenzhen Municipal Education Bureau gave the Forum's concluding speech about "Support for Children and Empowering Families", with suggestions for child development and family education
Dr Marek Tesar from the University of Auckland shared the design and policy background of New Zealand's early childhood curriculum, and believed that children should become physically and mentally healthy, capable and confident learners and communicators, who can make valuable contributions to society.
Dr Marina Bluvshtein from Adler University in Chicago introduced the historical development of family education in the West from the 20th to the 21st century, and shared a creative outlook on the development trends and concept of family education in the 21st century.
Professor Lynn Ang from UCL discussed her research on the educational support that children and their families received during the COVID-19 epidemic, and of the important role of early childhood educators, community participation and global cooperation to support children

Neil, as Honorary Professor of UCL and Nottingham University, and the former Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, was also invited to give a speech which was shared at the closing ceremony of the Forum:

The holding of this Forum not only provided a platform for global experts, scholars and researchers to share the latest research results and exchange and discuss with each other, but also provided the opportunity for front-line practitioners and children’s parents to further understand and participate in worldwide discussions on child development and family education.