Date: 29-11-2013

Case study on ISSA’s teacher training featured in a new report from the European Commission

  • ISSA’s and OSF’s approach to training and pedagogy, featured as a good example of practical research.
  • The adoption of more democratic processes in early childhood education, highlighted as a priority and a successful practice in ISSA’s approach.

Entitled as “Early childhood education and care (ECEC) for children from disadvantaged backgrounds: Findings from a European literature review and two cases studies”, this new report from the General Directorate of Education and Culture includes two case studies; one on the government initiatives for young children in England and the other on the approach of ISSA and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) to teacher training and pedagogy. Written by ISSA’s program expert Dawn Tankersley and the Director of the Early Childhood Program at the Open Society Foundations, Sarah Klaus, the main findings of the study focus on:

  • The promotion of a democratic interactive type of training, which includes decentralized, school-based professional development and on-going training.
  • The success of the set of principles implemented by ISSA for early childhood and primary school teachers working with disadvantaged children, families and communities: “They are not imposed as quality standards, which may undermine rather than support professional autonomy and responsibility, but are intended rather for discussion by pedagogical teams”, the report states.
  • The foundation of a strong framework of support for teachers, through the development of additional resources like an intranet with useful tools and news; a library including other kind of publications related to ISSA’s principles and an online education platform.

According to the report, the professional approach to teacher training offered by ISSA can be considered a good example of large scale “research on practice, carried out by practitioners teams who know a context well and have an immediate use for the results of their reflection”. Taken as a model to be implemented by other European organization, ISSA’s approach is defined as “democratic and based on interactive, co-constructed learning”. ISSA is a vibrant network that connects professionals and non-profit organizations working in the field of early childhood development. Established in the Netherlands in 1999, ISSA’s community today stretches across the globe with its more than 50 members primarily located in Europe and Central Asia. Building upon the Step by Step Program initiated by the Open Society Foundations in 1994, ISSA aims to ensure equal access to quality care and education for all young children from birth to 10 years old. This mission is implemented through three main pillars of action: equal access for all children; promoting high-quality and professionalism in early years services and empowering parents and communities to be part of the children’s development and learning. For more information on the EC report, please contact Alejandra Mahiques at or download it at