Acting on lived experience: How my time as a foreign exchange student has inspired a project- Megan McGee

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As an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to partake in the ERASMUS+ exchange programme, which allowed me to move abroad to Denmark for a semester to study during my second year. This opportunity truly piqued my interest in international education and is an experience that instils inspiration in me to this day in both my professional and personal life.

Whilst in Denmark, I was assigned to a school for placement as part of my studies; seeing with my own eyes the similarities and differences between the Danish education system and the one I knew back home triggered a line of thought: What was Early Childhood Education and Primary Education like in other parts of the world? I had tasted a small sample of what it was like in Denmark, and had experience of it in my own country, but what about the rest of the world? How similar are we in the way we structure our Early Childhood Education practices? What would it be like to be a child attending a nursery elsewhere in the world? Of course, education may be argued to be an ever-changing force, subject to policy changes and impacted by a country’s standing. But components in one’s education system, for cultural or other reasons, stand the test of time and those approaches are what intrigue me so. This train of thought gradually grew as I worked with and befriended many wonderful colleagues from around the world and so, peaking during a school visit during the 2019 OMEP World Conference in Panama, I pondered if it might be a possibility to collate perspectives from around the globe about how their country’s Early Childhood Education systems are comprised. 

Thus, I proposed a project idea: to create a resource in the format of a book, ideally, of what Early Childhood Education (nurseries, pre-schools as many may know them as) are generally like in countries around the world. When reading books about international education, such as comparative works, I often found them to be both very text heavy and to be very ‘academic’. Therefore, I believe in taking an alternate approach whereby the text is made both fun and accessible in the sense that it can be read by a wide audience; not just academics but also practitioners, students, and anyone with an interest in international education and early childhood. It is hoped that as a part of this project, each country will have their own chapter and will be asked to contribute pictures and also practitioner testimonies from those working with nursery-aged children.

The aim of this project is to produce a resource in the form of a book that appeals to a wide audience that seeks to inform readers of how nursery education functions in different countries around the world. I will be present at the 2024 World Conference in Bangkok, Thailand to spread the word about the project and speak to fellow OMEP members about the project. 

If you would like to partake in this pilot project, please notify your branch’s president and then contact me via the following email address: meganmcgee@hotmail.co.uk. In response, you will receive a document that contains submission guidance. Submissions should be between 2,000-5,000 words and any references should be referenced using the Harvard referencing system. All submissions should be submitted before the deadline which is on: Sunday 20th July 2025 at 12pm (GMT) via the Google Form that will be emailed out to all participants in due time. Please note that at this time we will only be accepting submissions and queries regarding the project in English. We hope that this submission guideline will provide branches with enough time to write up their submissions and submit their pieces. Once we receive a branch’s submission, we will review it and provide you with feedback regarding any suggested changes or questions concerning your piece. After we have received submissions from all interested parties, we will collate all the pieces together and put them together into a book format, then we will send it off to publishers for consideration for publication. During this time, we endeavour to keep you updated on the progress with any news via email.

Megan is an educator and member of the executive committee at OMEP UK. She has worked in primary education, further education, and higher education. Her research interests include the following topics: international education, learning outside of the classroom and disability.

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