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As early childhood professional, does your early childhood education and care handle with diverse groups? What approaches do you have to ensure all children needs are met? Diversity+ project aims to provide the tools for creating/designing inclusive quality early childhood services.

Launched in late October, Diversity+ looks to develop governance, benchmarking, recognition and professionalisation tools for Early childhood education and care – ECEC professionals in order to understand and improve their current approach to diversity inclusion.

ECEC is increasingly acknowledged as providing the foundations for lifelong learning and development. According to EU Quality Early Childhood Education and Care Framework (2014), learning and education start from birth. The high quality, inclusive early childhood education and care is an essential foundation for all children’s successful lifelong learning, social integration, personal development, and later employability. It can also help close the achievement gap for children from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and provide them with the best start in life. The European Pillar of Social Rights declares that children have the right to affordable early childhood education and care of good quality’. Participation in high quality ECEC is proven to be especially advantageous for children from disadvantaged and/or marginalised groups.

ECEC facilities, approaches and services have not always been designed to meet the pluralistic needs of all children and their families. This can be seen in the fact that minority and disadvantaged groups remain underrepresented in ECEC, and in many cases even when they attend ECEC, they are not treated in respectful and inclusive manner. In many cases, ECEC professionals are not sure how to develop services which are inclusive for the full range of marginalisation and vulnerability. And this is precisely the reason why Diversity+ exists. 

Diversity+ aims to provide ECEC organisations to fully understand how they should change and adapt in order to accommodate different children and their families, and become fully inclusive to all. This will be achieved by calibrating the EU Quality Framework for ECEC in light of inclusiveness of provision.

Along the project’s lifecycle (until August 2023), Diversity+ will develop resources that offer a structured and supported approach to quality inclusive service design.

The Diversity+ toolkit will contain:

  • A Diversity+ Charter to set out the minimum requirements for an ECEC organisation to be considered diversity positive;
  • An interactive digital Assessment tool which ECEC managers will be able to use to assess current services and track improvements;
  • An EQF profile and training resources for the development of a Diversity Ambassador role;
  • A serious game that will help ECEC practitioners to empower children to recognize and address biases, prejudice, discrimination, and exclusion, to think critically, speak out for themselves and others, and threat everybody with empathy, and respect regardless of existing differences.

The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. The consortium, coordinated by CIAPE, brings together partners from 6 European countries.

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