NEWS – INTESYS: How can we accomplish more together? – Part 4
Integrated systems is a complex term; don’t let the name put you off. Integrating early childhood systems helps reduce disparities in learning outcomes for vulnerable children and help professionals meet the diverse needs of children and families. They help practitioners, managers and policymakers accomplish more – together.
Though we know the benefits of integrating early childhood systems, it can be difficult to motivate systems to change. So, we asked the experts to explain the critical factors that motivate different early childhood organizations and services to work together.
'Sometimes it is difficult to understand what integrated system means.' says Petra Bozovičar of the Step by Step Center for Quality in Education, Slovenia.
'The most important starting point for establishing an integrated system is bringing together all relevant stakeholders involved in the provision of services for young children - creating opportunities for dialogue and joint work between individual stakeholders. It is important to establish a culture of cooperation between different experts from different institutions: to provide an opportunity to sit together at the same table; to get to know each other; to exchange information about each institution's work, their principles, successes and challenges; to align the principles that lead their work through different debates and workshops; to develop a common vision; to plan joint actions, develop action plans and evaluate steps regularly. At the beginning of this "journey" it is necessary to create a shared understanding of ‘integration’ among all stakeholders. Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand what integrated system means. One participant in the working group asked: “If we call each other when there is a problem that we need to solve- is this not an integrated system?”
A very important point for ensuring sustainability of established cooperation is to make sure that the leading structures of each relevant institution is involved. This is crucial for embedding the culture of working in an integrated manner into the functioning of individual institutions, otherwise integration stays at the level of enthusiastic individuals.'
Still not sure what Integrated Systems for early childhood services are? Be sure to brush-up on what the term means through our series of INTESYS interviews.
Download the INTESYS Toolkit here!