Community Based Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for Roma Children
Segregation of Roma is determined by socioeconomic and historical factors, and has a detrimental effect on young children (and their families) in terms of their rights, development, and their future. The latest reports show a dramatic increase of Roma-only classes in spite of the authorities’ commitment to reduce the number of classes with Roma pupils only.
TOY for inclusion aims to improve the transition experience of Roma children to schools by offering an innovative response to discrimination of Roma communities by creating community based Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Play Hubs (resource and meeting centres) where relationships between Roma and non-Roma young children and their families are built and interactions in safe play spaces across all generations are supported.
This project is co-funded by the European Commission and the Open Society Foundations and runs from 2017 to 2019.
For more information and get access to our news, publications and resources, please visit the official website of the project: www.toy4inclusion.eu
Participants in the TOY for Inclusion training were ECEC and Social Care practitioners and community development workers from seven countries (Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia). The training focused on community-based ECEC, social inclusion and IGL and resulted in the creation of the Local Action Teams: groups of local stakeholders responsible for the design, running and evaluation of the pilot actions.
Romani and non-romani Children (0 to 8 years old), their families (parents and grandparents) and local authorities were involved in pilot actions in all seven countries, which are taking place in safe community-based and inclusive play spaces called ECEC Play Hubs.
So far, 8 Play Hubs have been opened in 7 EU countries. They are bringing Roma and non-Roma communities together, building parenting skills and improving cooperation between civil society and local agencies (intersectoral cooperation). In 2018, about 4000 children, 2500 adults and 400 practitioners participated in the activities in the Play Hub in 7 countries. An estimated 27% of them were from Roma origin.
The TOY for Inclusion Play Hubs have prooven successful in:
1. IMPROVING THE TRANSITION EXPERIENCE OF ROMANI CHILDREN TO SCHOOLS.
2. IMPROVING CHILDREN’S PREPAREDNESS FOR FORMAL EDUCATION.
3. INCREASING TRUST OF ROMA COMMUNITIES IN THE LOCAL SERVICES.
TOY for Inclusion developed a toolkit on community-based ECEC initiatives to promote inclusion in non-formal ECEC settings through intergenerational learning (IGL) and other approaches.
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) and seven 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), Centre for Innovation in the Early Years – VBJK (Belgium) and Partners Hungary.
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 in Italy are co-funded by Open Society Foundations (OSF) - Early Childhood Programme