Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Inclusive early childhood education : an analysis of 32 European examples
Authors: Bartolo, Paul A.
Bjorck-Akesson, Eva
Gine, Climent
Kyriazopoulou, Mary
Keywords: Early childhood education
Inclusive education
Teachers -- Training of
Curriculum planning -- Europe
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education
Citation: Bartolo, P., Björck-Åkesson, E., Giné, C., & Kyriazopoulou, M. (2016). Inclusive early childhood education : an analysis of 32 European examples. Odense.
Abstract: This report is part of the three-year Inclusive Early Childhood Education (IECE) project run by the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education (the Agency) from 2015 to 2017. The project aims to identify, analyse and subsequently promote the main characteristics of quality inclusive pre-primary education for all children from three years of age to the start of primary education. This report presents the results of a qualitative analysis of 32 descriptions of examples of IECE provisions across Europe. The descriptions were submitted to the project in August 2015. The findings represent European practitioners’ perceptions of and practices for IECE. An inductive thematic data analysis method was used, in that themes or issues were initially derived from reading the descriptions. This inductive process was, however, also intertwined with relevant theory, particularly the Agency’s ‘ultimate vision for inclusive education systems’ that: ... ensure that all learners of any age are provided with meaningful, high‐quality educational opportunities in their local community, alongside their friends and peers(European Agency, 2015, p. 1). In total, 25 subthemes were identified. These were organised into a new Ecosystem Model of Inclusive Early Childhood Education, which is also presented in a comprehensive diagram (Figure 1). Two major perspectives previously used in describing the quality of ECE settings inspired this new model. These are the Outcome-Process-Structure model and the Ecological Systems model. The subthemes were subsequently grouped into five main themes: • Theme 1: The first main and central theme is ‘Child belongingness, engagement and learning’, often generally understood as active participation. This participation is regarded as both the main outcome and process of IECE. • Theme 2: Five major processesinvolving the child’s direct experience in the IECE setting enable this central outcome and process. These processes are: − Positive interaction with adults and peers − Involvement in play and other daily activities − A child-centred approach − Personalised assessment for learning − Accommodations, adaptations and support. • Theme 3: These processes are in turn supported by structural factors, consisting of the physical, social, cultural and educational environment. These factors may operate at different ecological levels. Some operate within the ECE setting and include: − A warm welcome for every child and family − Family involvement within the ECE setting. − A holistic curriculum designed for all children’s needs − An environment designed for all children − Staff who are appropriately qualified for IECE − A culturally-responsive social and physical environment − Inclusive leadership committed to respect and engagement for all individuals − Collaboration and shared responsibility among all stakeholders. • Theme 4: Inclusive processes experienced by the child are also influenced by more distant structural factors in the community surrounding the ECE setting. These include: − Collaboration between the ECE setting and the children’s families − Relevant in-service training for ECE staff − Wider community commitment and support for serving all children − Inter-disciplinary and inter-agency co-operation of services from outside the ECE setting that serve the children in the pre-school − Organising smooth transitions between home and the ECE setting. • Theme 5: Finally, the analysis found a number of structural factors operating at the macro-system level. These factors were not in direct contact with the ECE setting. However, they still influenced inclusive processes in the setting. They are: − A rights-based approach to ECE − Provision of mainstream ECE access for all − Setting up regional/national standards for a holistic IECE curriculum − Availability of initial education for teachers and other staff for IECE − Good governance and funding systems for IECE − Procedures for regular monitoring and evaluation. This overview of the ecosystem of outcomes, processes and structures for IECE is presented in the Results chapter. Five evidence-based chapters, dedicated to each of the five main themes, follow this. Each chapter presents a brief description of each of the outcome, process or structural factors within each main theme. These are accompanied by one to five quotations from each of the 32 example descriptions. The quotations illustrate and provide concrete evidence of what constitutes quality outcomes, processes and structures that are prevalent across Europe. The quotations were chosen both to reflect the different types of IECE concepts and practices, and to reflect the variety of countries and cultures where they occur. They are intended to stimulate inclusive developments in research, policy and practice in Europe and internationally. Finally, the Conclusion highlights the added value that this analysis contributes to IECE research, policy and practice. Four new insights are addressed: 1. The development of the new Ecosystem Model of IECE, inspired by two previous major models, should clarify the understanding of the issues related to quality ECE. 2. The analysis shows how, within an inclusive perspective, IECE’s primary goal is best conceived as that of ensuring quality outcomes for all children in terms of participation. This is described here as belongingness, engagement and learning. 3. The analysis shines a new light on the major processes in which children are directly involved and which mostinfluence each child’s participation and learning. These need to be a major focus of any intervention to improve ECE quality. 4. The analysis clarifies the structural factors needed to support the development of more inclusive ECE settings. It also shows how these factors are related to local and national policies and practices. Situating the structures at the ECE setting, community and regional/national levels isimportant in levering them to bring about the changes needed to enable each child to participate and learn.
ISBN: 9788771106268
ISSN: 9788771106275
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacSoWPsy

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Inclusive_early_childhood_education.pdf698.06 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in OAR@UM are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.