In Flanders, we have a split system: there is a clear line between childcare for babies and toddlers (pre-school care) and pre-primary education or Kindergarten. Other countries have integrated systems: services for children 0-7y with attention for both care and education are more connected.
In our split system, care is traditionally reserved for childcare for babies and toddlers, while education is the work of the kindergarten. This is also the case for children who did not attend any form of childcare and who go straight from the life at home to kindergarten. At home, there is quite some time and space for individual attention and care, in school it is about learning in groups of peers.
The very first day of school
How is starting at school for young children? What does it mean for a 2,5 years old to go to school? How do they experience their first days? How do the parents feel and react? And what about the teachers?
Care and education
VBJK looks into the effects on young children of our split system and the education and care divide.
Through different international comparative studies, national observation data, local experiments and pilot projects we want to grasp concepts of care and education.
A warm and smooth transition
VBJK looks into the question of how more equal attention for care and education could help young children to a good start. How can both concepts be more integrated? How could care and education services work together to facilitate a better transition to school? What is the place of parents in all of this? What about the need for additional attention for children from disadvantaged, vulnerable groups.
We work on innovation with partners from the childcare and the education sector. Other major partners here are departments at the Ghent University, such as Social Work and Social Pedagogy and the Centre for Diversity & Learning. Together we work on a warm and smooth transition for young children, combining research, practice and policy.