ILIAS | Inclusive leadership that promotes collaboration

VBJK and Steunpunt Diversiteit en Leren set up innovation processes for the role of leadership in supporting collaboration between a diversity of professionals in ECEC.



  • staff shortage in ECEC;
  • need for more diversity in ECEC teams;
  • need to value the diversity;
  • limited culture of collaboration between a diversity of ECEC professionals.


ILIAS aims to strengthen inclusive leadership to support the collaboration between a diversity of ECEC professionals.  So ECEC professionals feel autonomous, involved and competent.


  • direct target group: persons with a leading position in ECEC, such as ECEC-leaders, school principals, pedagogical coaches, coordinators …;
  • final target group: all professionals working in ECEC;
  • cross sectoral: childcare, preschools, out of school care, preventive family support.


Diversity in ECEC teams: We define diversity very broad, there are differences in socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity, educational background, statutes, job description …

Leadership: Also leadership is defined broadly. Not limited to one manager or leader, but also other forms of leadership such as shared leadership, participatory leadership, co-creative leadership ...

Inclusive leadership: And inclusive is also defined in a broad way. Inclusive leadership refers to setting up a broad diversity policy in which the diversity in the team is valued. It relates to: participation, sharing responsibilities, feeling jointly responsible for the children, parents, the service, society.


Support leaders to work in an inclusive way, so all professionals from the team feel autonomous, involved, and competent. ILIAS provides this support by exchanging expertise from Flemish pilots and transnational partners. Hence, an intervision trajectory with the Flemish pilots will be set up. From this intervision trajectory concrete implementation options will be examined and tested. Finally, ILIAS will formulate joint policy recommendations.


  • Project team: VBJK and Steunpunt Diversiteit en Leren;
  • Advisory group: key persons from policy, practice and research from the ECEC sectors. Tasks of the advisory group: give feedback on the ILIAS project set up, provide input for potential pilots in Flanders and transnational partners, create support for the wider sector;
  • Flemish pilots: one to two services per sector who want to exchange ideas, learn and experiment;
  • Transnational partners: two to three partners who have expertise in inclusive leadership and who want to focus on mutual learning.


  • ESF call;
  • Phase 1 – 09/2020 - 12/2020: setting up partnerships with Flemish pilots and transnational partners, developing a plan of action;
  • Phase 2 – 01/2021 - 12/2022: exchange expertise, develop and implement professional development initiatives an inclusive leadership that promotes collaboration in a divers team.

More information?

Do you want more information? Please contact Hester Hulpia.