For the past decades, European policy makers as well as the European civil society have shown a growing interest in the field of Early Education and Care (ECEC). The Barcelona objectives (set by the European Council in 2002) urges for a greater availability of top-quality child-minding solutions while the predominant role played by early years in children’s development becomes a commonly known fact. Nevertheless, child care provision in Europe remains a fragmented area, including formally trained practitioners as well as experienced but informal childminders.
Informal childcare is commonly used, sometimes to compensate the insufficient availability of formal and affordable solutions. However, informal care does not necessarily rhyme with unskilled workers, but the lack of transparency impeaches to identify workers’ competences and therefore to develop them via lifelong learning. Yet, Validation of Non-formal and Informal learning (VNIL) is a way to both diagnose and evaluate skills acquired through experience which allows in a second time to guide people toward further appropriate learning. But for now, this kind of device is unfortunately not frequently used in Europe in the child care area, as there is no common assessment framework.
The VALCHILD project aims to fulfil the gap between the demand of qualified childminders and their availability, to address the need expressed by the communities for higher quality in ECEC and to foster a formal and transparent economy. In order to achieve this, the consortium will develop a mechanism for validating informally developed knowledge, skills and competences, so as to link informal childminders, especially the low skilled ones, with guidance services.
Asses, validate, and guide childminders trough further personalised learning steps will foster them to join the formal labour market and will provide users with higher quality services. Overall, the project results will be designed to offer to all stakeholders involved in the child care area the opportunity to implement the VNIL framework.
Lasting 30 months, the project is being carried out by the following 5 partners from 5 European countries, representing childcare sector representatives, association promoting research and development methodologies, experts in lifelong learning and VNIL, certification representatives and VET providers.
- Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) - Ireland
- PROMEA - Greece
- The Foundation European Centre Valuation Prior Learning (EC-VPL) - Netherlands
- IPERIA L’Institut - France
- Escola Superior de Educadores Infância Maria Ulrich (EISEIMU) - Portugal
To achieve the given objectives, the project will provide the following outputs in 5 languages (English, Greek Dutch, French and Portuguese):
1- Evidence-based validation requirements and criteria
2- Assessment and validation toolbox
3- Recommendations and certification scheme
4- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a position paper on VNIL in the EU to influence and support policy making to further simplifying the transparency and recognition of skills and qualification across Europe
Period: 1 October 2018 – 31 March 2020