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Child Research Network Asia (CRNA)

Child Research Network Asia (CRNA)
Japan Mainland China India Indonesia Korea Malaysia Philippines Shingapore Taiwan Thailand

N.B.- "CRN Child Science Exchange Program in Asia" has changed its name to "Child Research Network Asia (CRNA)" as of March 19th, 2018.

N.B.- "CRN Child Science Exchange Program in Asia" has changed its name to "Child Research Network Asia (CRNA)" as of March 19th, 2018.

Interactive Activities

Report on the Second International Conference of Child Research Network Asia (CRNA)

The Second International Conference of Child Research Network Asia (CRNA), hosted by Child Research Net (CRN), Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute (BERD), Ochanomizu University Institute for Education and Human Development, was held in Tokyo on March 17 and 18, 2018. The theme of the conference was "Nurturing Social and Emotional Skills--Media, Play, and Children with Special Needs," and researchers in early childhood education and care, teachers, and pediatricians from various countries and regions including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Japan gathered to discuss various issues related to early childhood education and care. The following is a report on the conference. (Presenters' titles and affiliations are as of the time of the conference.)



The close relation between social and emotional skills and cognitive skills

Three keynote lectures were delivered under the main theme of the conference, social and emotional skills, discussing and analyzing their importance from various perspectives. On the morning of Day 1, keynote speeches were given by Yuichiro Anzai, President of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and Fasli Jalal, Professor of the State University of Jakarta.

Dr. Anzai stressed the need to adapt our way of learning to the rapid social changes now underway with the advance of globalization and identified five qualities and abilities that children will need in the future: living with autonomy, living with diversity, living cooperatively, living with gratitude, and living with pride. Citing research in cognitive psychology, he explained that developing these abilities is inseparably related to the development of social and emotional skills. Pointing to the basic principles of the next amendment of the official curriculum guidelines (Courses of Study of the Ministry of Education) that emphasize deep learning that is proactive and communicative, he expressed the need to reassess the conventional education that overly emphasizes cognitive skills. Citing survey results by Benesse Educational and Research Institute (BERD) and others, he asserted a correlation between development of social and emotional skills and that of cognitive skills and the critical importance of the balanced growth of both. (Detailed Report)

Professor Fasli Jalal gave a presentation on policies to implement Holistic Integrated Early Childhood Development (HI-ECD) in Indonesia over the past several years. He explained that in the past, economic disparity among households resulted in serious educational disparity, but due to cooperation and coordination among government agencies and also local communities as well as more government assistance, early childhood education and development is also taking root among families in rural areas that live under difficult economic conditions. According to various data, children who became able to receive early childhood education and development displayed remarkable growth in social and emotional skills. These children also showed notable growth in cognitive skills after entering elementary school, which also confirmed the close relation between social and emotional skills and cognitive skills. (Detailed Report)

In the morning of Day 2, Masumi Sugawara, Professor of Ochanomizu University gave the third keynote address in which she addressed the development of social and emotional skills and the factors involved, primarily citing research in developmental psychology. She explained that cooperativeness is a character and ability that has a large influence on how such acquired factors as experience and environment develop and provided examples of how it is rapidly acquired after the age of four and a half, underscoring the importance of the preschool period for the development of social and emotional skills. The relation between household income and child-rearing based on survey data was also taken into account. Professor Sugawara stated that the economic disparity does not directly affect children's well-being. Positioning parents' mental health as a factor influencing children's development, she emphasized that close support for parents shall lead to positive interaction with their children. (Detailed Report)



Three views on environmental factors that cultivate social and emotional skills

In the afternoon of Day 1, three concurrent sessions were held, each with a moderator and three presenters, which focused on different subjects closely related to the theme of cultivating social and emotional skills.

Concurrent Session 1, titled "Children in the new age of digital media" concerned the relation between digital media or artificial intelligence (AI) and education. All presenters agreed that ECEC facilities, school, and society at large would continue to effectively use digital media and further develop it. One question was "If robots with no emotions become teachers, will it be possible for them to offer emotional teachings?" In response to this, one of the presenters, Kazuo Hiraki, Professor of The University of Tokyo predicted that the continuing development of technology would probably result in robots showing emotions in the future. When asked how daycare centers and kindergartens should use digital media, two presenters, Tomomi Sato, Associate Professor, Aichi Shukutoku University in Japan, and Hiroko Sakaue, Managing Director of NHK Educational Corporation, offered concrete examples showing applications for family use and educational TV programs. (Detailed Report)

In Concurrent Session 2 on "Viewing 'play' from a scientific standpoint," the presenters each addressed different aspects of the topic. Shih-Tsung Chang, Professor of National Taipei University of Education, recommended that children and adults engage in creative play together that involves crafting activities using one's hands. Sopia binti Md Yassin, Director of the National Child Development Research Centre, Sultan Idris Education University in Malaysia approached play from two perspectives. First, the importance of play is corroborated by neuroscience which indicates that when immersed in play, children are truly pursuing enjoyment. Second, her presentation included case studies at ECEC facilities in Malaysia where teachers have taken hints from children's play and have created curricula designed to take that play further into learning. Miwako Hoshi, Professor Emerita of Jumonji University in Japan proposed studying the characteristics and similarities of play in ECEC facilities in the countries of Asia. How can spontaneous play fulfill an important role in the development of children's social and emotional skills? How should adults be involved in children's play? These questions were the main points of discussion, resulting in a lively exchange of the views by presenters. (Detailed Report)

The theme of Concurrent Session 3 was "Supporting children with special needs." Poh Tin Tan, a pediatrician at the Tan Specialist Child and Family Clinic in Malaysia examined the definition of "special needs." She noted that the need for special support is not only associated with autism, ADHD and other congenital diseases, but anyone can be in need of special support due to experiences such as abuse. The second presenter, Thelma Mingoa, Assistant professor of the Department of Educational Leadership and Management, De La Salle University in the Philippines, introduced the support system for special needs education in the Philippines. She explained that teacher training programs now include curricula to train teachers so that they can fully develop the capacities of children with special needs. The third presenter, Masahiro Oba, principal of Taiyo-no-ko Hoikuen, a daycare center, reflected on the history of special needs education in Japan. Noting that the conventional daycare system first divides children into those with disabilities and those without disabilities and then integrates them, he pointed out that the boundary between disability and non-disability is vague, particularly during infancy, and tends to create binary oppositions of disability vs. non-disability. He then introduced the inclusive childcare practiced in his daycare center where, irrespective of disability, the environment is healthy, safe, and conducive to emotional stability, self-expression and growth of children. He stated that universal design, a basic environment, and rational, practical consideration were central to realizing such a daycare center. (Detailed Report)

Each moderator gave a wrap-up of his or her respective session, summarizing and sharing insights with the audience. The moderator for the wrap-up session was Jiaxiong Zhu, Professor Emeritus of East China Normal University. He noted that the themes of the three sessions posed questions that were difficult to answer, emphasizing the importance of discussion and exchanging diverse views. (Detailed Report)

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What can we learn from a comparison of child-rearing in four countries with different sociocultural backgrounds?

A panel discussion was held in the afternoon of Day 2. First, Seiko Mochida, a researcher at Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute (BERD) took the podium to announce the results of a survey conducted in 2017 targeting mothers of preschool children in the metropolitan areas of four countries with different sociocultural backgrounds (Japan, China, Indonesia, and Finland). The survey was titled "International Survey Research on Home Education in Early Childhood" targeting parents in Japan, China, Indonesia and Finland. BERD identifies social and emotional skills as "attitudes of learning to learn," which comprise "curiosity," "collaborative skills," "self-assertion," "self-restraint" and "perseverance," and data on the relation between attitudes of learning to learn and parental involvement in the four countries were introduced and compared. According to Ms. Mochida, in the survey, mothers' attitudes toward child-rearing were classified into two types: "the supportive type" or "the protective type," and the "supportive" type of child-raising shows a correlation with development of the attitudes of learning to learn."

Next, researchers from the four countries presented research findings on their respective countries.

Takashi Muto, Research Professor, Shiraume Gakuen University Graduate School in Japan, discussed the characteristics of child-rearing awareness among Japanese mothers. He noted that while they maintain traditional values that are common among Japanese mothers such as teaching children not to inconvenience or bother others, they also respect the child's thoughts and encourage independence. They also avoid overly high expectations, allowing the child to express his or her autonomy. He reasoned that this parental attitude which encourages thinking and the desire to learn heightens attitudes of learning to learn.

Nianli Zhou, Professor of East China Normal University, noted that mothers in China give high significance to children's self-assertion, but do not consider children's self-regulation to be very important. This contradiction can be explained by the clash of two psychological factors, the wish and effort to continue Chinese traditions and cultural practices and a superficial yearning for Western culture.

Sofia Hartati, Dean of the Faculty of Education, and Eriva Syamsiatin, a lecturer at the State University of Jakarta stated that mothers in Indonesia tended not to give their children picture books or educational toys, but rather emphasized only such cognitive skills as reading and arithmetic. They pointed out the need to promote awareness of acquiring attitudes of learning to learn (non-cognitive skills) through measures such as distributing books and materials for early childhood education to households along with continuing surveys on child-raising.

Risto Hotulainen, Associate Professor of the University of Helsinki, and Sirkku Kupiainen, Special Adviser of the University of Helsinki, who were not present, sent a video message, and Junko Takaoka, Research Manager at Child Sciences and Parenting Research Office, BERD, added a commentary in which she explained the characteristics of parents and children in Finland as follows. They have naturally learned to follow an orderly lifestyle according a regular schedule. Working hours are short and fathers actively participate in child-rearing. Children learn reading and writing in daycare centers and are not forced to study at home. Furthermore, digital devices are widespread. She also pointed out that the survey indicated that mothers in Finland strongly feel that "child-raising is important, but also want to value their own life."

The day ended with a free discussion between the panelists and audience, with Yoichi Sakakihara, Director of CRN, serving as the moderator. The question and answer session covered a wide range of topics: the relation between social and emotional skills as defined by UNESCO and the attitudes of learning to learn espoused by BERD, the methodology of the survey, the relation between the decline in traditional child-raising practices and the internet diffusion rate. One extremely difficult question was "What sort of programs are the most effective for nurturing both cognitive and non-cognitive skills?" Dr. Sakakihara's answer seemed to have satisfied everyone: At this point, there is no definite prescription, but it is certain that play has an enormous effect on the development of both skills." (Detailed Report)



For children who are citizens of the future

After the panel discussion, the conference came to end with a joint statement prepared and read by all board members of Child Research Network Asia (CRNA). United under the slogan "Children are our future," all participating countries made a strong commitment to a number of goals that included cultivating social and emotional skills and the attitudes of learning to learn, examining play from diverse perspectives, continuing study on the relation between children and new media, and research on further support for children with special needs.

Over a period of two days, the conference addressed such topics as media, play, and special needs and discussed their specific relation to cognitive skills in hope to contribute even in some small way to deepen our understanding of social and emotional skills. We would like to share our understanding of social and emotional skills and the importance of cultivating them in further research efforts with all who are concerned with children and their wellbeing. Let us look forward to future activities together.



Second International Conference of Child Research Network Asia (CRNA)

Conference Theme:
Nurturing Social and Emotional Skills
—Media, Play, and Children with Special Needs

Social and emotional skills are indispensable for children's "well-being." What can we, adults, do for the children who will live to see the future world? Yet again, by reconsidering what social and emotional skills are, and how we can enhance them, we shall discuss and search for solutions to such matters from an interdisciplinary viewpoint among professors from Asian countries.

We hope the Conference will be an arena of exchanges that will contribute to the "well-being" of children in Asia.

Theme Nurturing Social and Emotional Skills—Media, Play, and Children with Special Needs
Date March 17th-18th, 2018 (Registration from 9:20)
Venue Ochanomizu University, Tokyo, Japan
Language Japanese, English, and Chinese (Trilingual simultaneous interpretation available)
Host Child Research Net, BERD (Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute)
Co-host Ochanomizu University Institute for Education and Human Development
Supporter Japanese Society of Child Science
Registration Fee Free of charge
(Please contact for pre-registration)


Day1: Saturday, March 17th, 2018 (Registration from 9:20)
Time Agenda
9:50-10:00 Opening
10:00-12:00 Keynote 1: Yuichiro Anzai, Japan (President of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)
Keynote 2: Fasli Jalal, Indonesia (Professor, State University of Jakarta)
12:00-13:00 Lunch break
13:00-16:00 Concurrent Sessions 1-3
(with respect to social and emotional skills)
Concurrent Session 1 Children in the new age of digital media
Moderator: Yeh Hsueh (Associate Professor, University of Memphis, USA)
Presenters: Kazuo Hiraki (Professor, The University of Tokyo, Japan)
Tomomi Sato (Associate Professor, Aichi Shukutoku University, Japan)
Hiroko Sakaue (Managing Director, NHK Educational Corporation, Japan)
Concurrent Session 2 Viewing "play" from a scientific standpoint
Moderator: Nobuko Kamigaichi (Professor, Jumonji University, Japan)
Presenters: Shih-Tsung Chang (Professor, National Taipei University of Education, Taiwan)
Miwako Hoshi (Professor Emerita, Jumonji University, Japan)
Sopia binti Md Yassin (Director, National Child Development Research Centre, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia)
Concurrent Session 3 Supporting children with special needs
Moderator: Christine Chen (President, Association for Early Childhood Educators, Singapore)
Presenters: Poh Tin Tan (Pediatrician, Tan Specialist Child and Family Clinic, Malaysia)
Thelma Mingoa (Assistant professor, De La Salle University, the Philippines)
Masahiro Oba (Director, Yoko Fukushikai [Welfare Organization]; Principal, Taiyo-no-ko Hoikuen [Daycare Center], Japan)
16:00-16:30 Break time
16:30-17:30 Wrap-up of concurrent sessions

Moderator: Jiaxiong Zhu (Professor Emeritus, East China Normal University, China)
Speakers: Moderators from each concurrent session
Day2: Sunday, March 18th, 2018 (Registration from 9:20)
Time Agenda
10:00~11:00 Keynote 3: Masumi Sugawara, Japan (Professor, Ochanomizu University)
11:00~13:00 Poster Presentations, Lunch break
13:00~15:30 Panel Discussion: Discussing "Social and Emotional Skills" and Parent-Child Involvement from the International Survey Results

Moderator: Yoichi Sakakihara (Director, Child Research Net, Professor Emeritus, Ochanomizu University, Japan)
Results Sharing: Seiko Mochida (Researcher, Child Sciences and Parenting Research Office, BERD, Japan)
Panelists: Takashi Muto (Research Professor, Shiraume Gakuen University Graduate School, Japan)
Nianli Zhou (Professor, East China Normal University, China)
Sofia Hartati (Dean, Faculty of Education, State University of Jakarta, Indonesia)
Junko Takaoka (Research Manager, Child Sciences and Parenting Research Office, BERD, Japan)
15:30~16:00 Sign Joint Statement
All Board Members of Child Research Network Asia (CRNA)
Presenters' titles and affiliations are as of the time of the conference.

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