ISSA Conference 2024

ISSA Conference is a unique platform to listen to the world’s leading Early Childhood experts, an opportunity to learn from your peers, but also to share the knowledge and experience you have gained. ISSA unites researchers, practitioners and policymakers from around the world. Together, we explore themes through discussion and interactive sessions, and we share lessons learned and proven solutions from which you will benefit instantly. As always, there will be a rich and diverse offer of one-day pre-conference workshops and site visits for you to choose from, alongside conference sessions.  

This year’s conference will be preceded by a diverse range of pre-conference workshops, taking place in parallel on 22 October, and optional site visits and sightseeing tours will be organized on 25 October. The conference will also mark ISSA’s 25th anniversary as a learning community devoted to Early Childhood Development, and the 30th anniversary of the Open Society Foundations’ Step by Step Program, upon whose legacy and resulting network ISSA continues to build.  

It Takes an Early Childhood Ecosystem for All Young Children to Thrive

The 2024 conference theme recognizes that we live in disruptive and increasingly challenging times where the concern for protecting and asserting the importance of safe, healthy, and happy childhoods is more pressing than ever. Recent years, especially since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing with economic downturns and devastating consequences of wars, have clearly demonstrated how rapidly changes are occurring, exposing vulnerabilities not only in societies but also in early childhood systems.

Through its strands, the theme of ISSA 2024 Conference invites discussion on:

  • What changes in early childhood systems are demanded by the contexts in which we are living?
  • Which policies and programs have been transformative and initiated systemic changes at local, country, regional level that improve the quality of childhoods?
  • What system changes are required to address acute or emerging issues, for which solutions still need to be identified, researched, and developed? 

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Keynote Speakers 

James Cairns, M.A.
Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
Senior Director for Strategic Engagements and Organizational Learning

Read his bio here. 


Mathias Urban, Phd
Dublin City University, Ireland (DCU)
Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre (ECRC)

Read his bio here. 


Important dates:

  • Extended Call for Proposal deadline: 13 May 2024
  • Early Bird registration: until 12 August 2024
  • Registration closes: 7 October 2024
  • Pre-Conference Events: 22 October 2024
  • ISSA Conference 2024: 23-24 October 2024
  • Site Visits & Sightseeing Tours: 25 October 2024


Registration Information:

Registration for the ISSA Conference 2024 is now open. Please refer to the conference registration fees below and register to secure your participation. 

  • Bulgaria Conference partner: € 330
  • ISSA Members & groups* with discount
    • Early Bird: € 360
    • Regular: € 415 (after July 19 August 12)
  • Early Bird: € 435
  • Regular: € 500 (after July 19 August 12)

During registration, you will have the option to sign up for the pre-conference and networking events as well as the diverse site visits to early childhood centred services and sightseeing activities in and around Sofia. 

*Groups with 5 or more participants are eligible for the group discount.

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Participant Package Includes:

  • Digital program and Conference App
  • Admission to some pre-conference workshops on 22 October (registration required)
  • Admission to all conference sessions
  • Opening Reception on 22 October
  • Coffee breaks on 23-24 October
  • Lunches on 23-24 October
  • Free ticket to Muzeiko, a children’s museum in Sofia
  • Admission to the site visits on 25 October (registration required)

Learn more about ISSA Conference 2024: 





News on the Keynote Speakers will follow soon!