Children playing with bubbles - image courtesy of Getty Images
Title: Child-centred diversity in quality early childhood education and care
Funding: Erasmus+ KA2 - Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices - Strategic Partnerships for school education
  • VIA University College, Denmark
  • Universidade da Coruna, Spain
  • Early Childhood Ireland, Ireland
  • University of Trieste, Italy
  • Coopselios, Italy
  • University of Osijek, Croatia
  • Camborne and Truro Nursery Schools, UK
Dates live: 2017–2019

Project description

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) is internationally recognised as a social investment strategy for supporting parental employment and providing the foundations to children’s lifelong learning. ECEC provides early intervention for disadvantaged groups; high quality ECEC can help lessen the negative consequences of disadvantage on children’s later learning. 
Internationally those who work in ECEC are recognised as central to the quality of ECEC. The European Commission (2014) identified the importance of initial training and subsequent professional development as contributing to the development of professional competences of the ECEC workforce and contributing to the overall quality of ECEC. Despite the continued focus on the importance of the ECEC workforce for the quality of services, structural attributes, such as initial qualification requirements, are variable across Member States, and professional development requirements, if present at all, are even more differentiated (Lindeboom and Buiskool, 2013). Beyond these structural attributes are questions as to what constitutes the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for a competent ECEC workforce (Urban et al., 2011).
This project will enhance and extend understandings of the competences required for working in ECEC in diverse contexts, whilst creating innovative professional development to support the ECEC workforce in developing professional competences. The project focuses on child-centred practice, a commonly used and deeply embedded concept for ECEC encompassing developmental, democratic and individualised constructions of ECEC (Chung and Walsh 2000). These different constructions resonate with different aspects of ECEC’s importance in supporting children’s development whilst offering equality of opportunity irrespective of social circumstances and individual needs. 
However, questions arise as to how all children can be at the centre of pedagogical practice, particularly when considering diverse communities and whether democratic approaches can be combined with a focus on developmentalism.

Online training

Following a literature review, observations of practice and survey of training needs, three online courses have been developed by early childhood academics and professionals to support educators in reflecting on their child-centred practice. 

The courses can be accessed by visiting and registering for an account. 

Participants should then search for ‘child-centred’. 

Three courses will be listed:

  • Doing child-centredness from an embodied perspective
  • Child-centred documentation for quality early childhood education and care
  • The power of stories for child-centred practice in early childhood education and care.

All courses are free to access and offer a range of learning materials to engage with. Participants are asked to complete a short evaluation about the courses after which a certificate of participation can be provided. We recommend completing the courses with colleagues in order to share and reflect on the content.

Project partners

  • Professor Verity Campbell Barr and Dr Jan Georgeson, Plymouth Institute of Education, UK (joint Principal Investigators) 
  • Katarina Rengel and Adrijana Visnjic Jevtic, Osijek University, Croatia
  • Lillian Buus and Michal Pilgaard VIA, Denmark
  • Rita Melia, Early Childhood Ireland, Ireland
  • Paolo Sorzio, Trieste University, Italy
  • Federica Marani and Riccardo Lelli, Coopselios, Italy
  • Concepción Sanchez-Blanco and Cathryn Teasley, University of Coruña, Spain
  • Helen Adams and Emma Short, Truro and Camborne Nursery Schools, UK
Child centred diversity in quality early childhood education and care team

Read articles linked to this project