Intellectual Outputs

IO1 Comparative Studies on ECEC systems and Hub&Spoke Model Guidelines

The objective of the IO1 is to analyse the situation of children exclusion and the quality of ECEC systems at European, national and local level.

The IO1 study will include a comparative analysis explaining the different ECEC systems at national level and it will focus on a benchmarking about the qualitative indicators in the local contexts of involved partner countries.

It will take into account the following aspects:

  • Statistics data at European and National level;
  • Statistics data at local level;
  • Need and features of exclusion contexts;
  • Local Analysis: strength and weaknesses of ECEC local systems;
  • Main challenges of local ECEC systems about quality and admission;
  • The official educational policies at European/national/local level;
  • The official guidelines at a European/national/local level;
  • Monitoring and evaluation procedures implemented by ECEC systems;
  • Competences analysis for ECEC professionals

The IO1 implementation will be realised through:

  • the collecting of at least 2 national best practices and 2 local practices on ECEC systems by
  • the collecting of information from professional experts involved in the ECEC services by surveys in
    order to set a competence framework.

It is known that the Barcelona objectives have been numerically achieved in almost all EU countries, but there are still substantial differences in the qualitative indicators, especially when it comes to socially excluded families that have been impoverished by the economic crisis.

The innovation element is that F.R.I.E.N.D.E.S.K. will try to work on this qualitative gap. It will scale up its activities in order to cover the whole picture and allow a fluid exchange of innovative practices (European impact and transferability).

Tangible Output:

  • 1 Final Report including quantitative and qualitative information on ECEC contexts at different level (local, national, European countries partners) and Guidelines for the Hub&Spoke Model experimentation
  • 1 Competence Framework including the target group identification

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IO2 Training package for ECEC professionals

The objective of the IO2 is to develop an innovative training programme addressed to ECEC experts and based on the needs recognised in the IO1 Competence Framework.

The training package will consist of contents, methodologies, learning activities, evaluation criteria and the learning outcomes in order to improve the quality of the ECEC systems and to implement the Friendesk Model in the respective territories on the basis of the IO1 results.

The training package will produce two outcomes:

  • An offline training design based on competences (Competence Based Learning) for the Transnational training activity (C1) for external experts;
  • An online training design linked to the web platform (IO4) consisting of modules for the e-learning

So the IO2 is preliminary for the Transnational training activity that consists of a pilot training course for ECEC teachers and experts (among phycologists, teachers for special need children, cultural mediators).

The goal of this capacity building training is to increase their professional skills through inclusive methodologies and pedagogical approaches.

Furthermore, since the IO2 is related to the IO4 training managers will work closely to web developers.

The innovation element is the interrelation with the Model Friendesk implementation.

The expected impact is to create a “Community of practice” in order to share experiences on the topic of social integration with ECEC systems, but also to share information and contacts with the aim of building further collaborations in support of the F.R.I.E.N.D.E.S.K. project.

The idea is to make it as one of the biggest forum on ECEC in Europe, boosting their mutual interactions and exchange of ideas (transferability).

Tangible output:

  • Final report with the training programme and the selection criteria for the target group of the Transnational training activity (C1).

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IO3 Friendesk Hub & Spoke Model Experimentation

The objective of the IO3 is to create an innovative approach model for the start-up and implementation of the “Hub and Spoke” Model.

It consists in one central physical place or central element (the ‘Hub’) an in its country extensions (the ‘spokes’ or sub-elements) represented by experts in ECEC systems.

With reference to the Friendesk Model Guidelines (IO1), the Hub will start as Family Help-Desk simultaneously in about 15 schools located in each country partner whereas the ‘spokes’ will be represented by external experts.

The Hub and Spoke Friendesk is helpful to engage and help families and children that are vulnerable for economic or geographical obstacles because they live in marginalised areas (e.g. poor suburbs, ghettos).

F.R.I.E.N.D.E.S.K. is an innovative project because it proposes a logistic and educational model never experimented before. The action plan will involve major players from the education sector in order to generate multiplier effects at territorial and European level.

Although the project has a specific focus on children living in disadvantaged conditions, the foremost attention is shifted to the family, to be considered as the context of children’s learning and social capabilities.

Whether the family is well integrated with the community, exploits the offered services and participates to joint initiatives, every child will get many more opportunities to be socially included and receptive to external educational stimulus. F.R.I.E.N.D.E.S.K. will precisely act for this purpose, putting in place an innovative pattern devised to connect ECEC main actors and close the gap with families living in marginalised conditions.

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IO4 Integrated Interactive Platform with MOOC training courses

The objectives of the IO4 are:

  • to deliver training programmes;
  • to create a virtual community represented by the Family Help-Desks stakeholders and the training beneficiaries;
  • to disseminate all project materials (guidelines, reports).

The creation of an open source online platform for MOOC trainings is addressed to the stakeholders of ECEC systems.

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access by the web.

In addition to traditional course materials, such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs might provide interactive courses with user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs), as well as immediate feedback to quick quizzes and assignments. The certifications might be included as well.

This Integrated Interactive Platform is intended for providing not just training, but a social space for project targets. The IO will imply designing, piloting and publishing the digital space, which will include an interactive platform (MOOC) and social networks that will contribute to the development of the researcher’s 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.

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IO5 Hub&Spoke Model Governance

The way in which ECEC is designed and organised is highly dependent on the responsible authorities at the highest level, which may be Ministries or Regions or Municipalities.

The output O5 will provide guidance for public entities on how to tackle child poverty and social exclusion through measures such as family support and benefits, quality childcare and early childhood education.

The objective is to influence the authorities in order to improve the local contexts within the social inclusion of children.

On the basis of the IO1 results, the Regional Directorate for Primary and Secondary Education of Thessaly, Lead organisation responsible for the IO5, will realise the governance guidelines useful for a sustainability of the project and a better impact on local contexts. The guidelines will take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the local contexts identifying common points starting from the analysis produced by the IO1.

Impact can only be ensured by involving relevant stakeholders and gatekeepers.
R.D.T.E. as regional education authority has been involved in order to ensure impact on policy level. All associated partners will use their network, to impact not only locally, but also on regional and national level. European networks, such as European Schoolnet, public entities and stakeholders will be involved.

There will be recommendations to public bodies across partner countries for usage beyond the project duration. The free access and the free availability of the recommendations to public bodies will be kept readily available to all interested stakeholders, and will be maintained to attract further input.

Transferability to other countries will be explored with the participation of all partners and R.D.T.E’s role as leader, due to its close cooperation with educational stakeholders across and beyond Europe.

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