Project name: SEQUENCES – Self and external Evaluation of QUality in EUrope to Nourish Childhood Education Services
Duration: 30 months
Dates: 01/09/2016 – 31/12/2018
“At a time of unprecedented economic and social challenges, the importance of giving all our children a solid start in life by providing high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) is crucial” (Eurydice and Eurostat Report, “Key Data on Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe”, 2014).
Looking at researches and analyses from OECD and the European Commission, it is clear that there is a consensus at policy-level on the fact that Quality Assurance has to be at the centre of the political priorities for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in European countries. A lot remains to be done at implementation-level in terms of awareness raising, development of methodologies and techniques for adequate Quality Assurance management, and competences required for monitoring and assessing the provision among educators, childminders, parents and families in order to reinforce the educational dimension of the services – too often treated as pure care.
The SEQUENCES project is a bottom-up reaction to the need of improving the quality of Early Childhood Education and Care provision in Europe, as emerged from literature and partners’ experiences from the ground. It brings together organizations from 7 countries – Italy, Romania, Ireland, Malta, Lithuania, Hungary and Belgium, joining the efforts of the specific and relevant categories of stakeholders: private and public ECEC providers – respectively Cooperativa SEM (IT) and Grắdinitắ cu P.P Zấna Zorilor (RO), national-level education trade unions – Lithuanian Education Trade Union (LT) and Malta Union of Teachers (MT); a VET provider delivering continuous training to ECEC professionals, with professional expertise in Quality Assurance – FORMA.Azione srl (IT), academia with the Observatory Centre for Educational Development (HU) of the Corvinus University of Budapest; national policy-level non-profit organizations – Early Childhood Ireland (IE), EU networks of relevant stakeholders – European Parents’ Association (BE).
The specific objectives pursued by partners are 1) to promote quality culture and quality assurance approaches in ECEC settings; 2) to develop ready-to-use tools for self and external evaluation with transnational validity and referred to the 5 quality areas identified in the “Proposal for key principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care” from the EU Commission (access, workforce, curriculum, evaluation/monitoring, governance/funding) and 3) to come up with guidelines and recommendations for the different target groups identified, in order to support their acquisition of quality management approaches.