Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education

RECE is less an organization than an evolving group of early childhood educators who come together each year to discuss cutting edge research, theory, and practice. We are not incorporated. There are no dues (other than the annual conference fee). There is no official publication (other than this web site). We have no board or officers (other than the folks who volunteer at each conference to host and organize the conference the following year).

We came together at the beginning, and we continue to gather each year, because we value having an opportunity to participate in sessions and to engage in conversations which are unlikely to occur at "regular" conferences such as NAEYC and AERA. In fact, it was frustration with the format, size, and conservatism of NAEYC and AERA which originally brought many of us together, and gave us the motivation to start the RECE conference and keep it running from one year to the next.

Despite a lack of formal organization and a haphazard way of operating, each year for a long number of years now, miraculously, the conference has occurred, drawing between 80-300 people. Whether we meet in a big city or small, in the center of the U.S., somewhere in Asia, or in the Middle East, with careful planning and foresight, or last minute arrangements, we end up with a stimulating conference. Not the same 80-300 people, but a healthy mix of returnees and new blood.

The conference planning has sometimes been stormy. It is in the planning sessions, which are held during and after the conference each year, at dinners during AERA, and via conference calls and E-mail exchanges, that the conference program takes place. The call for papers and resulting selection and session organization process has been a site where we reconceptualizing have talked, disagreed, and sometimes fought pitched battles. Subjects of discussion and debate have included such issues as the name and focus of our organization; the radicality of year each's call; the selectivity/exclusivity of the review process; the emphasis given to theory, research, and practice; and the tension between meeting the needs and desires of presenters versus audience members. The way these issues play out each year has some effect on who attends the conference and acts as chair the following year.

Many publications have come out of the conference. These publications, in turn, have given our loosely organized organization some attention, notoriety, and influence. We are now sometimes referred to as the reconceptualizers (in ECE).

To the left, the menu shares a few other pages in our wikispace.

Take a look at where we are focusing our next gathering and what we've been up to in the past.