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Published in November 2023, this compendium highlights over a dozen Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programmes being run by remarkable organisations in Central Europe. The publication’s purpose is to provide inspiring ideas for ECEC practitioners, donors, and policymakers to develop more inclusive and high-quality programmes and policies. The digest was compiled by Places to Grow, a regional knowledge-sharing platform and a catalyst for excellence in the field.

The research on early childhood development is convincing. We know that investing in children through ECEC programmes and services leads to notable returns for the individual and society at large. We also know that ECEC is especially beneficial for children from disadvantaged backgrounds but that they often do not have access to suitable programmes.

This compendium showcases inclusive practices that enable children from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in ECEC services, while considering the barriers they face in doing so. Many of the programmes can be adapted or scaled, and Places to Grow invites interested stakeholders to explore possibilities of cooperation with the featured organisations.

For the purposes of this compendium we are using the term ECEC to cover both formal and non-formal initiatives for young children, ages 0 to 7, like preschools, childcare centres as well as programmes providing parent support groups, parent and toddler groups and home visits.

 

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Programmes in this compendium were selected based on their compliance with 14 criteria the authors considered important for high-quality, inclusive ECEC initiatives:

  1. Staff qualifications and training in early childhood development and diversity and inclusion,
  2. Programme foundation on pedagogical science and research-based practices,
  3. Long-term sustainability of the programme,
  4. Regular monitoring and evaluation to ensure quality and progress,
  5. Non-discriminatory entry requirements,
  6. Encouragement of parent and family involvement,
  7. Low or no cost of the programme,
  8. Accessibility of the programme to families,
  9. Efforts to encourage participation of marginalised groups,
  10. Multilingual staff,
  11. Adherence to principles, values, or policies ensuring inclusion and diversity,
  12. Culturally sensitive services adaptable to individual needs,
  13. Safe programme environment,
  14. Promotion of empathy, understanding, and respect for diversity.

The diversity of the programmes in terms of employed methods, location and target groups was taken into consideration to provide a comprehensive overview of inclusive practices in the region. For each selected programme, a detailed case study was developed. This involved observing programme activities and collecting relevant data and documents. Interviews with programme staff were conducted from May to August 2023 by four interviewers.

The case studies describe the programmes’ inclusive practices, strategies, and impact. They serve as practical examples for other organisations seeking to develop or adapt inclusive early childhood development programmes.

For readers’ convenience, each case study is labelled with tags emphasising each programmes’ focus. The tags are adapted from the classification used in the HECDI – Holistic Early Childhood Development Index (UNESCO, 2014).

 

DAILY PRESCHOOL
PART-TIME PRESCHOOL
COMMUNITY-BASED ECEC
PARENT SUPPORT
TEACHER TRAINING
HOME VISITS
SOCIAL PROTECTION
GROUPS WITH MIXED BACKGROUNDS
CONSULTING
COUNSELLING
LIFE SKILLS
MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIP

 

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CZECH REPUBLIC

  • Eurotopia’s Support Group for Expecting Mothers
  • Tosara’s Children’s Group
  • Ecce Homo’s Children’s Group
  • Desegregation of Schools by Awen Amenca
  • Association for Early Childhood Intervention

SLOVAKIA

  • Cesta von’s Omama Programme
  • Aflatoun by Wide Open School and OSF
  • Early Intervention Center Košice
  • Gaštanový koník

HUNGARY

  • Blum Personality Development Programme
  • TOY for Inclusion: Play Hub in Nagydobos
  • Rainbow Island: Sure Start Children’s Center in Katymár
  • Come With Us: SZETA Kindergarten in Eger
  • Grassroots Romani Association in Szomolya

 

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THE PUBLICATION IS AVAILABLE IN DIGITAL AND PRINT-FRIENDLY VERSIONS IN ENGLISH, HUNGARIAN, AND SLOVAK. 

Download your preferred version below:

CONTACT

Diana Takacsova

Maxim Dedushkov