Date: 19-07-2022

SAVE THE DATE: A series of webinars on 'Challenging the split system in early childhood care and education'


International webinars

Challenging the split system in early childhood care and education 
Emerging pathways: Experiences from Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands 

Tweet: SAVE THE DATE: November 15 and December 1, 2022!</p>
<p> Tweet about this webinar

Many European countries have separate education and care services that cater to the needs of children below school age and the needs of their families in what is referred to as a split early childhood education and care (ECEC) system. The services that cater for the needs of children up to three years of age and their families are labelled as “childcare” — stressing a caring role which denies the important pedagogical dimensions. The services dedicated to the needs of older children and their families are often called “preschool”, implying a narrow focus on school readiness which obscures the necessary element of care. 

In 2019, the Council Recommendation on the High-Quality ECEC Systems (2019), challenged the conceptual and institutional split between services for younger children (up to 2-4 years old) and older children (from 2-4 years to primary school age), suggesting that early years services are more beneficial when they address the entire age group (birth to primary school age) in a consistent and holistic way.

Interest in investigating the consequences of sustaining the split ECEC system for children, families, and professionals has led to more in-depth research in four countries: Belgium, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. Researchers and civil servants from the four countries investigated challenges at system level (macro), local level (meso) and pedagogical level for staff, children and parents (micro), as well as innovative practices and/or emerging policies that can inspire other countries. The research also highlighted several critical issues that emerge from split systems, such as increased inequalities; failing transitions; inconsistent presence of pedagogy; and distinct and distant professional and institutional cultures that lack (political) dialogue.  

Webinar 1


Why challenge the split early childhood education and care systems?

Date: November 15th, 2022 

Time: 15:30 - 17:30 CET

Languages: English, French and Italian


During the first webinar, the challenges that persist in split systems in many European countries —where childcare for the youngest children is organized distinctly from preschool for the children up to compulsory school age — will be shared. Findings from the research in Belgium, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, on the experiences of children, parents, and professionals, as well as policy makers, will focus on the inequalities that are (re)produced by the split system and how this may be related (and questioned) by the implementation of the European Child Guarantee Council Recommendation.

Topics and speakers:

  • Framing the theme of the webinar – Michel Vandenbroeck, Belgium
  • Policy perspectives: moving from a split to an integrated ECEC system in Italy - Arianna Lazzari & Lucia Balduzzi, Italy
  • Predictors of child development in split systems in The Netherlands - Ruben Fukkink, the Netherlands
  • Transition to kindergarten in France, experiences of socialization in split systems and a special focus on children in poverty - Pascale Garnier & Sylvie Rayna, France
  • Experiences of children and parents with transitions in Belgium - Katrien Van Laere & Marie Housen, Belgium

 Host: Zorica Trikic, International Step by Step Association, the Netherlands


Webinar 2 


What are alternative pathways to address critical issues raised by maintaining split ECEC systems?

Date: December 1st, 2022 

Time: 15:30 - 17:30 CET

Languages: English, French and Italian


During the second webinar, country examples that illustrate the organization of smooth transitions between home and ECEC services, and between ECEC services and preschools, or those that experimented with the integration of care and education and bridged the organizational divides existing in split ECEC systems, will be shared and discussed, giving voice to children, parents and professionals experiences.

Topics and speakers:

  • Introducing the theme of the webinar – Michel Vandenbroeck, Belgium
  • Shared continuing professional development initiatives for 0-3 educators and 3-6 teachers in Italy - Tullia Musatti and Mariacristina Picchio, Italy
  • The experiences of actions passerelles and classes passerelles in France - Sylvie Rayna and Pascale Garnier, France
  • Findings from the Integrated Centres in The Netherlands - Ruben Fukkink and Pauline Slot, the Netherlands
  • Emerging pilot projects on the integration of care and education in Flanders - Kathy Jacobs, Lobke Van Lombergen, Marie Housen, Belgium

 Host: Zorica Trikic, International Step by Step Association, the Netherlands



Stay tuned for more information to come! 

Courtesy of Caroline Boudry