Community Based Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for all children
TOY for Inclusion is the gateway to education and care for many children of disadvantaged communities.
High quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is an essential foundation for all children’s successful lifelong learning, social integration, and later employability. Disparities in access to quality education and increasing segregation in schools start at a young age.
TOY for inclusion aims to improve the transition experience of vulnerable children, and especially those with a Roma, minority or migrant background, to schools. It does so by creating community based Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Play Hubs, where relationships between young children and families from different backgrounds are built. They are located in areas that are reachable for all families, and are designed and run by multi-sectoral teams composed by representatives of communities, school and preschool teachers, health services, parents and local authorities (Local Action Team).
A first phase of the project ran from 2017 to 2019 and focused on the inclusion of Roma children in ECEC. In January 2019, the second phase of the project started, under the name of TOY to Share, Play to Care. The objective of TOY to Share Play to Care is to broaden the target, scale up and embed in policy the TOY for Inclusion approach - an effective means of creating community-based ECEC initiatives that improve access to ECEC for all marginalized young children, their transition to formal education and the capacity of their parents and professionals.
TOY for Inclusion was awarded the European Lifelong Learning Award 2018 from the LLL Platform, as best learning environment and in 2019 TOY for Inclusion was selected by the WHO European Regional Office as a best practice that promotes health equity.
This project is co-funded by the European Commission and the Open Society Foundations.
With ‘TOY to Share: Play to Care’ we are scaling up the ‘TOY for Inclusion’ approach, broadening its target beneficiaries to include all hard to reach young children, such as those from migrant and ethnic minority backgrounds (and their families) in Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey.
ECEC, health and social service practitioners as well as local authorities are active involved in all project activities through their participation in the Local Action Teams.
The approach is also rooted in the idea that all generations are responsible and equally involved in the well-being of young children and contribute to social cohesion. For this reason, the approach promotes the organization of intergenerational activities between older adults and young children.
So far, 16 Play Hubs have been opened in 8 EU countries. From 2018, about more than 10.000 children, 5000 adults and 1000 practitioners participated in the activities in the Play Hubs.
With With ‘TOY to Share: Play to Care’ we are:
What is a Play Hub? How do children benefit from Play Hubs? How do parents and caregivers and other family members benefit from Play Hubs? This document answers these questions and more. It is available in English, Croatian, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Dutch, Slovakian, Slovenian, and Turkish.
We are creating non-segregated multigenerational play spaces in seven countries where IGL activities will also take place. These spaces offer children (and their families) not only a place to play, but also help them develop necessary skills and knowledge for formal education. Read more...
We developed a ‘What Works Guide’ with recommendations for practitioners and local authorities to implement community based ECEC for Romani and non-Romani children.
TOY for Inclusion is the result of the cooperation between International Child Development Initiatives – ICDI (NL), International Step-by-Step Association – ISSA (NL), six members of the Romani Early Years Network – REYN: Educational Research Institute - ERI (Slovenia), Open Academy Step by Step – OASS (Croatia), Associazione 21 luglio (Italy), Centre for Education Initiatives – CEI (Latvia), Wide Open School – WOS (Slovakia), and Partners Hungary, as well as the Centre for Early Childhood Research at the Dublin City University Institute of Education (Ireland), the Federation of Mediterranean Roma Associations - Akromfed, Turkey and Salvation Army Netherlands.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
The activities are co-funded by Open Society Foundations (OSF) - Early Childhood Programme in all countries, except Ireland and Turkey.