Different professionals are at work in preschools. There’s not only teachers but also ‘assistants’, e.g. child practitioners in the preschool classes or people who work with the children during lunch break or after school hours.
These practitioners often take up the important care functions.
From an extended preschool team ...
Recent research findings show that the element of care is not elaborated enough for the youngest toddlers in preschool. Our own research into ‘educare’, a pedagogy where education and acre are well balanced, and our video observations in four reception classrooms also show how young children, and especially children from vulnerable groups, don’t always get the best start.
Up until now, not much has been invested in the cooperation between teachers and assisting co-workers. While parents often testify how important the assistant’s caring role is for the very youngest. At the same time, the assistants themselves seem to underestimate their function. As in many countries they seem to be invisible: there aren’t much data available on this group of ECEC workers and they hardly get involved in training or team meetings.
All this results in missed opportunities for a caring preschool system.
... to a caring preschoolteam
The main focus in this project is: how can all professionals in preschool work together on creating a caring preschool? How can they all join forces, to cater the needs of every child, in a context of diversity?
The search is for methods and professional learning on the topic of an ‘educare’ pedagogy for colleagues with a different background in training and qualification. Next, in at least two pilot schools, in Antwerp and in Brussels, we implement a team development trajectory on ‘working together for a carig preschool’.
VBJK coordinates this Erasmus+ project. Partners are research and training organisations from Belgium (Flanders), Portugal, Slovenia and Denmark. For Flanders these are: Erasmus college, Karel de Grote college, The Flemish Community Commission (Education department), the city of Antwerp (education network).