ECEC Play Hubs: Integrated services for young children and their families 08/10/2018

What are the ECEC Play Hubs?

ECEC Play Hubs are safe Early Childhood Education and Care spaces where relationships between Roma and non-Roma young children and their families are built. They are located in areas that are reachable for both Roma and non-Roma families, and are designed and run by local committees composed by representatives of both communities, school and preschool teachers and local authorities.

In addition, they are ‘special’ toy libraries that provide a toy-lending facility where:

  • children and their families of all ages are welcomed to play games with each other;
  • information about childrearing, health, early learning and development can be passed informally to parents and grandparents, and where they can meet with other parents with different backgrounds and take part in creative and social activities;
  • local communities organize intergenerational activities involving young children and elderly people with and without Roma background.

Integrated approach

TOY for Inclusion project primarily combines the toy libraries and the Together-Old-and-Young approach to enhance social inclusion in localities where Roma or other marginalized groups segregated. The TOY approach builds local capacities by establishing the ECEC (Early Childhood Education and Care) Play Hubs, which provide space for intergenerational learning and provision other services.

Play Hubs are aimed to serve as centers for the community and reach beyond education and care, primarily by offering space for activities dealing with health, nutrition, etc. Play Hubs have been established and piloted in diverse contexts in seven countries: Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Presentation and policy discussion

TOY for Inclusion is using the 12th meeting of the EU Platform for Roma Inclusion to raise awareness about the importance of local action. The EU Platform is aimed to focus on the topics of health and housing – ECEC Play Hubs will be presented mainly from their perspective of contribution to overall community cohesion, including the aspects of health and working with families in difficult housing situations (e.g. with respect to security of tenure).

One of the key elements of the Play Hubs’ long-term success is their sustainability. The local contexts are very diverse and with various levels of success the local partners have found diverse means to secure the resources to continue after the end of the pilot. To scale-up and sustain, the approach needs to be embedded in systems and the presentation at the side event to the EU Platform for Roma Inclusion should be the first step in discussing the opportunities for this step.

Draft agenda

09:30 AM – 10:30 AM      TOY for Inclusion exhibition: Presentation of posters, images, videos from the local implementation.

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM      Local experience: Panel Discussion: Presentations of partners about three stories of local implementation and its impact on cohesion in the localities.

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM     Sustainability and Policy implications: Panel Discussion: Perspectives on sustainability from local, national and EU level. Panelists: Mayor of SpišskýHrhov, Slovakia, EU Coordinator for Child Rights (to be integrated).

Venue

The venue of the EU Platform for Roma Inclusion will be in Brussels, but the exact place has not yet been decided. This event will take place in the same building. We will give you more details as soon as possible.

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