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The meanings of spaces in ECEC centres: a literature review

This literature review, written under the EDUCAS project, investigates the meanings, relevance, and importance of physical indoor and outdoor space in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services for children from birth to school age. Authors map, synthesize and critically analyze the findings of studies carried out internationally as well as national studies from Italy, Lithuania, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Special attention is placed on the Educare approach and on the involvement of children and families in the discourse. Three specific questions guided the authorship of this review:

- how can space support children’s development?
- how can space support an Educare approach?
- how can space support the inclusion of all children and families?

The particular value of this literature review is the inclusion of both scientific international peer-reviewed publications and local contributions published in the national language of each country participating in the EDCUAS project (Italy, Lithuania, and Belgium).

Drawing from the findings of the literature review, implications for practice are discussed and some key recommendations are provided, to orient education professionals, researchers and policymakers on space issue in ECEC centers and its connection with an Educare approach.