InTrans project - Achievements to enable smooth and inclusive early years' transitions
Since early 2020, the InTrans consortium has been working to ensure that all children and families — especially those in the most vulnerable situations — benefit from warm and inclusive transitional practice. To achieve this goal, the project supported professionals in pre- and in-service training, and through advocacy actions at the policy level.
Policy and Governance
The COVID-19 pandemic showed how crucial it is to keep the relationship between ECEC centres and families and children alive. To reclaim this significance, the InTrans project developed policy recommendations to enhance the participation of children and families in ECEC, and to promote the professionalization of ECEC staff, in times of crisis and beyond.
In May 2022, the InTrans consortium gathered for a high-level networking meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, to support policy exchange and peer learning in reinforcing the structure, pedagogy, and professional continuity in the educational systems of participating countries. Led by the University of Bologna, this exchange was hosted by BUPL (Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators).
32 participants, including 18 policy makers, from Belgium (Flanders), Finland, Italy, and Slovenia took part in this three-day event, which included site visits, presentations, and panel discussions. While the site-visits focused on inspiring inclusive transitions — specifically the pedagogical continuity between ECEC and primary schools, Danish experts presented their educational system and how transitions between levels are managed. This not only encouraged national teams to reflect on the Danish context, but also to engage in discussions among and between the country groups.
This successful meeting provided a platform for policy makers to support smooth transitions and to begin planning future steps in pushing transitions further in the policy agenda in their respective countries.
Watch the meeting video here.
"One aspect that touched me through the visits to the ECEC centers, is the concept of trust and responsibility. Within the ECEC center everybody collaborates, creating a professional community that becomes an educational community and a territorial point of reference. This is an important theme when going back home, especially thinking that now in Italy we are building the integrated ECEC system 0 to 6, coming from a split system."
Daniela Marrocchi, Ministry of Education, Italy
International webinars: exploring the emerging pathways towards change in Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands
The international webinar series Challenging the split system in early childhood care and education, brought together researchers from Belgium, France, Italy, and the Netherlands that discussed the challenges and explored newly emerging innovative practices and policies, that can inspire policy makers from other countries.
Two webinars were organized in English, French, and Italian by InTrans project partner ISSA, in late 2022. The first addressed challenges faced in split systems in many European countries, while the second focused on discussing alternative pathways when countries maintain the split ECEC systems. Over 950 people registered, including but not limited to policy advisors, ECD professionals and practitioners.
The InTrans Resource Package supports in-service trainers with vision, knowledge, examples of good practice and tools to invest in the creation of warm and inclusive transitions with ECEC/primary school staff. This project output has been led by Education Research Institute (ERI) in Slovenia and the Centre For Innovation in the Early Years (VBJK) in Belgium.
Comprised of five interconnected modules, the publicly-accessible resource package is assembled in a straight-forward and user-friendly online environment. The modules highlight topics that enable practitioners working in the ECEC and primary school environment in creating smooth transition practices. They include the importance of warm and inclusive transitional practices, how to engage with families and children, inspiring transitional practices, how learning can happen across institutions, and how to create systemic change.
Pre-service training of future ECEC and primary school staff
The analysis of the initial training institutions in Belgium (Flanders), Finland, Italy, and Slovenia highly contributed to the cross-country recommendations on improving pre-service training to create a steadier foundation for smooth transitions. Led by project partner Tampere University (Finland), the cross-country report, Initial training as a significant forum to build professional competences for smooth and inclusive early years’ transitions, weaves together main related themes and critically reflects on the four local studies, which portray the different initial training systems while considering the split or unified ECEC system each adopt.
Photo: ©Caroline Boudry