Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnerships - "I.ECEC - Intercultural Early Childhood Education and Care: Curriculum Design for Professionals" (2018-1-HU01-KA201-047763)
The overall objectives are to contribute to the improvement of the social inclusion of disadvantaged children, to prevent and reduce the Early School Leaving (ESL), to improve the high quality and inclusivity of Early Childhood Education providers and the knowledge and competences of the educational workers.
Reducing Early Leaving from Education and Training is an essential objective of the Europe 2020 Strategy, and EU Member States have committed to reduce the proportion of early leavers to less than 10 % by 2020. Eurydice/Cedefop Report 2014 - Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe: Strategies, Policies and Measures shows that students with disadvantaged backgrounds, at risk of social exclusion, such as migrant background, asylum seekers/recognised refugees, ethnic minority, socio-economic circumstances, are more prone to ESL than other groups. In ESL there are also relevant factors related to the education and training system: educational approaches and teaching methods do not pay sufficient attention to the needs of these children, as well as ethnic discrimination in some educational institutions may further impede students’ chances of success in school (Luciak, 2004).
A positive factor that can lower the risk of ESL is the access in high quality early childhood education and care: the preschool education has the highest returns in terms of results and social adaptation of children, and plays a crucial role to ensure equal opportunities to all children at the entrance of the school and the development of the necessary skills to achieve good learning outcomes .Non-participation in Early Childhood Education (ECEC) and difficulties in accessing high quality education all have an impact on the attainment of migrant students (European Commission, 2013b).
This project aims to contribute to increase the quality of ECEC institution and strengthening the profile of the ECEC teachers, to achieve to a more inclusive and supportive ECEC with special attention to children from vulnerable groups, to combating social exclusion, reducing poverty and combating early school leaving. I.ECEC project aims to improve the intercultural knowledge and skills of the ECEC educational workers, and the quality of ECEC services, starting from the Context and Training Needs Analysis carried out in the frame of the ERASMUS+ KA2 MECEC+: a comparative analysis on Early Childhood Education in 3 EU countries, focusing on the training needs of educators. I.ECEC proposes an innovative Intercultural Early Childhood Education model and curriculum for educators and ECEC providers, applicable to university courses, in order to answer actual needs of children and their families, as well as ECEC providers, in this historical key moment in Europe. The project develops thanks to knowledge alliance and cooperation between Higher Education Institutions and companies, public and private, which share and develop knowledge, good practices, methodologies to achieve the common goal of improvement of the quality and inclusion of early childhood educational services.
Project outcomes have an important impact both on the future higher education institutions' teaching programs, and on the professional performance of the nursery educators in their daily routines. The transnational collaboration is valuable because there is a challenge at European level, due to the changes in the European population, to which State Member are asked to answer with high quality and effectiveness, in order to build a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous societies in all Europe. These issues have been addressed in different Member States using different methods and tools, which are shared and implemented within the project, ensuring an enrichment at partners level, and at local and European level. The expected intellectual outputs are: intercultural curriculum and educational model, Open Educational Resources to share learning outcomes at European level thanks to an online platform; and Double Degree involving partners’ Higher Education Institutions. The methodology used in I.ECEC includes 4 Short-term Training Activities; 6 Transnational Project Meetings; OER in online platform, Final Publication and Guide for Users production. Participants involved in design, implementation, testing, evaluation of impact and validation of I.O. are managers, coordinators, educators, staff of ECEC provider partner organizations and teachers, researchers, PHD and students of Higher Educational partner Institutions. The participants involved as learners are educators of partner companies. The research staff is composed by around 30 professionals in 3 partner countries; about 50 educators are directly involved in the testing of the curriculum, which more than 500 Early Childhood Education professionals from the partner organizations will benefit from.