F.R.I.E.N.D.E.S.K. -Foster Reception for Inclusive Educational Needs: Development of Educational Support for Kids

The project aims to reduce social exclusion of children 0-6 years old coming from marginalized contexts.

Grant Agreement Number: 2019-1-IT02-KA201-062355

Funded by: Erasmus+        Duration: 09/2019 – 02/2022  


Challenge

Poverty and social exclusion are complex and multifaceted issues, which affect children aged 0-6 in particular. As stated in the document “Tackling Social and Cultural Inequalities through Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe” issued by EACEA in 2009, preschool children are especially vulnerable to poverty which, in early childhood more than in later years, often results in persistent learning problems and behavioral maladjustment.

Specifically, the pre-primary age is an especially sensitive period in children’s development. Most of the risks suffered by children are related to low income, social class or ethnic minority status. For this reason, acting on educational poverty does not only mean increasing the number of children attending preschool, but also working on the social, educational and economic context that involves the whole community.

Innovation

F.R.I.E.N.D.E.S.K. aims at reducing social exclusion of children 0-6 years old coming from marginalized contexts, through the implementation of an innovative ECEC (Early Childhood Education and Care) model, which involves the creation of an integrated system where teachers, educators, health care workers and volunteers could work together to provide children households with an inclusive and all-encompassing service.

Action

A report, based on qualitative and quantitative information gathered from professionals involved in the ECEC services, will analyze the situation of children exclusion and the quality of ECEC systems at European, national and local level. It will also include the guidelines for the implementation of the “Hub & Spoke” model at local level and the creation of the “Family Help Desk”.
A series of innovative training activities will be designed, addressed to teachers, psychologists, professionals from nurseries, primary schools, healthcare services etc., with the aim to increase their professional skills. The training programme will consist of contents, methodologies, learning activities, evaluation criteria and learning outcomes in order to improve the quality of ECEC systems and to implement the F.R.I.E.N.D.E.S.K. model in each country. The training package will include an offline training based on competences and an online training linked to the web platform.
The local administration of each involved municipality will launch a political working table with all the ECEC stakeholders in order to discuss about the “modelling” of the Family Help-Desks and embed its measures into the internal social policy. The involved local decision-makers will meet up in Brussels with the goal to launch a European-wide strategy on ECEC and teaming up throughout the experimentation period.
The Family Help-Desks will launch simultaneously throughout Europe and will be activated by engaging with the targeted families. Households will receive concrete help from the Family Help-Desks. One middle-term evaluation will be carried out in order to provide the Help-Desks with possible adjustments.
An integrated interactive platform (MOOC) will be designed, intended not only to provide training but also to contribute to the development of the researchers’ identity and their efficient participation in the community. The platform will allow to maximize access, dissemination and exchange of knowledge generated by students and teachers, and to promote competitiveness and quality of training.
The Regional Directorate for Primary and Secondary Education of Thessaly will provide recommendations to public entities in order to improve the quality of ECEC systems. Specifically, it will provide guidance on how to tackle child poverty and social exclusion through measures such as family support and benefits, quality childcare and early-childhood education.
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Project Partners

KMOP – Social Action and Innovation Centre
FISM (Project Coordinator – Italy)
Università degli Studi di Firenze (Italy)

WUSMED (Spain)
Blue Room Innovation SL (Spain)
Regional Directorate of Education of Thessaly (Greece)
Know and Can Association (Bulgaria)

EUROPANET Association (Romania)

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