Call for Papers - Innovative Professional Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care: Inspiring Hope and Action

  • Journal of Childhood Studies


Guest editors: Joanne Lehrer (Université du Québec en Outaouais), Christine Massing (University of Regina), Scott Hughes (Mount Royal University), and Alaina Roach O’Keefe (University of Prince Edward Island)

Not only is professional learning conceptualised as critical for increasing educational quality and enhancing children’s learning and developmental outcomes (e.g. Lazarri et al., 2013; Munton et al., 2002; Penn, 2009; Vandenbroeck et al., 2016), but specific elements of professional learning (in both initial and continuing education, or preservice and in-service learning) have been identified as essential to transforming early childhood educators’ and preschool teachers’ professional identities and practice. For example, critical and supported reflection (Thomas & Packer, 2013), learning experiences that target entire teams (Vangrieken, Dochy, & Raes, 2016), collaborative and empowering practice (Helterbran & Fennimore, 2004), and competent leadership (Colmer et al., 2008) have all been found to be effective means of supporting professional learning.

While there appears to be consensus in the literature around what needs to be done, and even around how it should be done, numerous constraints prevent the implementation and maintenance of sustainable and transformational professional learning in ECEC. Vandenbroeck and colleagues (2016) go beyond the focus on individuals and childcare teams, identifying two further levels necessary for competent systems of professional learning: partnerships between local early childhood programs and social, cultural, and educational institutions (such as colleges and universities); and governance regarding vision, finance, and monitoring. In the Canadian context, the Canadian Child Care Federation has also stressed the importance of a system-wide strategy to strengthen the child care workforce (CCCF, 2016). However, early childhood services in Canada are under the purview of the provincial and territorial governments and, therefore, the conditions, regulations, certification requirements, curriculum documents, and educational systems vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The educational requirements for certification, for example, may include no formal training (in NWT and Nunavut), one entry-level short course, one-year certificates, or two-year diplomas. This complicates efforts to define who the early childhood professional is and what opportunities are constitutive of professional learning (Prochner, Cleghorn, Kirova, & Massing, 2016). While these disparities within the field may impede the development of a cohesive strategy, Campbell et al. (2016) recently asserted that much can be learned from sharing and appreciating the rich diversity of approaches to professional learning both within and across provinces and territories. In addition, examples from other countries serve to broaden the discussion and expand our understanding of what is possible (Vandenboreock et al., 2016).

This special issue, then, is dedicated to sharing stories of hope and coordinated action, linking theory with practice. We seek Canadian and international submissions related to professional learning practices that extend beyond individual programs, showcasing partnerships and community mobilization efforts within and across various settings for young children (child care, Kindergarten, drop-in centres, etc.) in relation to philosophical, practical, critical, transformative, personal, and/or hopeful themes. Each submission will respond to one or more of the key questions, including, but not limited to:

  • How can professional learning be conceptualised?
  • How do we build and maintain effective partnerships to foster professional learning?
  • What strategies for transformative community mobilization might be shared?
  • How can innovative strategies be applied on a wider scale?
  • How might taken-for-granted professional learning and evaluation practice be disrupted?
  • What story about professional learning do you need (or want) to tell?
  • How has your community been transformed through a particular activity, event, or practice?
  • How might the lives and futures of children be positively shaped by engagement in partnerships and mobilization?
  • Where might we be in 5, 10, or 15 years through such endeavours?

We welcome submissions in multiple formats, including research articles, theoretical papers, multimedia pieces, art work, book reviews, and so forth. These may be submitted in English, French, or in any Canadian Indigenous language. 

Submissions are due August 1, 2017 and should be submitted as per Journal of Childhood Studies submission guidelines. 



Campbell, C., Osmond-Johnson, P., Faubert, B., Zeichner, K., Hobbs-Johnson, A. with S. Brown, P. DaCosta, A. Hales, L. Kuehn, J. Sohn, & K. Steffensen (2016). The state of educators’ professional learning in Canada. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward.

Canadian Child Care Foundation [CCCF], (2016). An Early Learning and Child Care Framework for Canada’s Children. Retrieved from:

Colmer, K., Waniganayake, M. & Field, L. (2014). Leading professional learning in early childhood centres: who are the educational leaders?, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 39(4), 103-113.

Helterbran, V.R. & Fennimore, B.S. (2004). Early childhood professional development: Building from a base of teacher investigation. Early Childhood Education Journal, 31(4), 267-271.

Lazarri, A., Picchio, M., & Musatti, T. (2013). Sustaining ECEC quality through continuing professional development: systemic approaches to practitioners’ professionalization in the Italian context. Early Years: An International Research Journal, 33(2), 133-145.

Munton, T., Mooney, A., Moss, P., Petrie, P., Calrk, A., Woolner, J. et al., (2002). Research on ratios, group size, and staff qualifications and training in early years and childcare settings. London: University of London.

Penn, H. (2009). Early childhood education and care: Key lessons from research for policy makers. Brussels: Nesse.

Prochner, L., Cleghorn, A., Kirova, A., & Massing, C. (2016). Teacher education in diverse settings: Making space for intersecting worldviews. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Thomas, S., & Packer, D. S. (2013). A Reflective Teaching Road Map for Pre-service and Novice Early Childhood Educators. International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education5(1), 1-14.

Vandenbroeck, M., Peeters, J., Urban, M. & Lazzari, A. (2016). Introduction. In M. Vandenbroeck, M. Urban & J. Peeters (Eds.) Pathways to Professionalism in Early Childhood Education and Care, (pp. 1-14). London: Routledge.

Vangrieken, K., Dochy, F., & Raes, E. (2016). Team learning in teacher teams: team entitativity as a bridge between teams-in-theory and teams-in-practice. European Journal Of Psychology Of Education - EJPE (Springer Science & Business Media B.V.)31(3), 275-298. doi:10.1007/s10212-015-0279-0