ISSA’s Annual Conference, offers a unique platform to listen to the world’s leading early childhood experts, an opportunity to learn from your peers and to share the knowledge and experience which you have gained while working in the field. ISSA aims to unite the knowledge and practice of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, parents and NGOs from around the world to explore themes through insightful discussions and interactive sessions, while sharing their wisdom and solutions.

As is custom, the ISSA CONFERENCE 2019 will be packed with the latest learnings and insights from the Early Childhood Development field, offering two days of knowledge sharing, dialogue and networking. And there will be several pre-conference events for you to consider attending.

17 June 2019  -  Pre-Conference Events with ISSA Partner Organizations
18 & 19 June 2019  -  ISSA Conference 2019


Nurturing Environments

Supporting the Wellbeing of Young Children and their Families


Nurturing Environments: this theme strongly resonates with a holistic view on the environment in which children live, learn, play and develop. A child’s wellbeing in the early years is crucial and it depends tremendously on the physical, mental, social-emotional, cultural, economic, and political conditions of the environment in which they are born, grow and develop. Starting from the family environment, moving to early childhood services and neighborhoods in the communities and cities, everything has an impact on children’s life with various intensities.


At the 2019 Conference, ISSA aims to stimulate discussions and provide answers to questions such as: what is important in the child’s environments to ensure their holistic and healthy development and wellbeing? What we can do to improve those as much as we can? Which environment is most nurturing and stimulating and how do we connect and combine Home, Service, & Community Environments effectively? A clearer outline of the thematic strands is as follows:

1. The Home Environment
aimed topics for keynotes/breakout sessions:

Supporting Families while they provide for their young children:

  • Nurturing interactions at home.
  • Nurturing care: assist parents get (access to) good quality services and supportive environments.
  • Nurturing space: safe, healthy, and stimulating home environment.


2. The Learning Environment in Services aimed topics for keynotes/breakout sessions

  • Meeting the growing demands and needs of children and families.
  • Indoor and outdoor design as a powerful pedagogical tool for stimulating learning and the child’s holistic development.
  • Modeling in services inclusive environments for all children and families, and for the community.


3. The Community Environment aimed topics for keynotes/breakout sessions

  • The public spaces and their role in a safe and stimulating childhood.
  • Accessibility and inclusion at public spaces, such as playground and village/city parks and greens.
  • Urban design and child wellbeing, how infrastructure and architecture will/can change to meet the 21st century child.
  • Advocacy, policies and required structural support from local and city governments. A plea for integrated systems.

Pre-Conference event:
The pre-conference events encompasses a diverse option of topical issues related or non-related to the conference theme. Some field visitations such as early childhood services, (pre)schools and community/family centers and to explore the City of Leiden’s vision on healthy, urban living for (young) children are planned to be part of the pre-conference agenda.


Below, you will find a visual recap of our succesful 2017 event, or visit for all insights, news items and presentations.

Three pre-conference workshops kicked-off a week of knowledge sharing in Ghent. The workshops focused on 1) integrated services in the early years, 2) developing sustainability through fundraising and 3) intervention packages to support nurturing care.

ISSA partnered with a.o. the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Ankara University to provide these interesting learnings.

Highly notable also was the keynote speech of Nora Milotay. She is a policy analyst at the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), working on issues of European social policy at the Economic Policies Unit. Please access her keynote here.