1. To gain a detailed understanding of the current situation and scope for improvement in the integration and alignment within ECEC systems in Europe, through a comprehensive mapping exercise including literature review and online survey across EU Member and candidate countries followed by detailed qualitative mapping in 4 pilot countries including in depth interviews and document analysis.
2. To develop and test (through pilots in a variety of contexts within four EC Member States - Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia) a Reference Framework including an innovative toolkit to promote integration within the ECEC workforce and across different levels of governance;
3. To mainstream these tried and tested approaches within the pilot countries and more widely across Europe through pro-active, effective and sustained exploitation of the learning, using in particular the extensive networks available to the partners both nationally and internationally.
The project specifically aims to facilitate scaling up and policy impact by developing an innovative and validated package of tools and approaches which can be mainstreamed throughout Europe. There are currently no toolkits or other guidelines to assist authorities who wish to improve the levels of integration in their ECEC system, nor is there a toolkit which addresses all professions across different sectors and services in ECEC. The toolkit will aim to:
- Build a common understanding of child’s and family’s centrality in ECEC service delivery amongst practitioners from different sectors, local, regional and national governance representatives; and
- Strengthen the capacity of professional and paraprofessionals to deliver high quality ECEC services creating platforms for cooperation amongst different services and levels of governance.
The approach, processes and tools will be designed to be practical and adaptable for use by governmental/public bodies at different levels within EU Member States with different ECEC systems (as well as other providers of ECEC services) to foster a culture of child and family centrality in ECEC service delivery. Thus, this toolkit creates a linkage between European policy and country level policy processes and implementation.