The “Valchild recommendations and certification scheme” was completed in the framework of the Erasmus+ project named ValChild - Validation of non-formal and informal learning in childminding. The project, started in October 2018, is carried by 5 partners from 5 EU member states: Ireland, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, and France.
ValChild 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.
The main objective of this output is to propose a set of 3 ready-to-use tools that are meant to facilitate the implementation of operational and reliable validation procedures. These tools are described as follows:
- A recommendation mechanism: based on pre-set ValChild competence, assessment and language standards, this tool enables the assessment of childminders' competences and provides recommendations as regards the next steps in education and training, eventually leading to childminders' certification. More concretely, through this mechanism the childminder receives a report on his/her competences, focusing on both the identified strengths and weaknesses.
- A certification scheme: based on the developed ValChild qualification standard at EQF level 3 (5 competence areas, 26 competencies and assessment descriptors), it enables childminders, after the evaluation of their submitted portfolio and interview with the certification commission, to obtain partial or full certification. In case of non-validation, the childminders are provided with recommendations for future training.
- A trainer handbook: that provides guidelines and key principles to be considered by validation experts involved in ValChild assessment and validation procedure. Also, it sets out guidelines on ValChild qualification standard for home-based registered childminders; on the use of ValChild assessment and assessment materials and tools as well as recommendations on the development of additional resources, including case studies, practical exercises etc.
The proposed tools are mainly built on the basis of the best knowledge and the experience of the project partners, as well as on the findings of the key documents, studies, and projects in the field of validation of non-formal and informal learning carried out in the EU.
As a matter of fact, some of the participating countries to this project, such as France, Ireland, The Netherlands, and Portugal have already some official qualifications for the professional profile of childminders at their NQFs, as well as validation procedures already in place and in some cases well consolidated. Both, qualifications, and validation process, are part of the binding legal frameworks within those member states. Therefore, for those member states and others having already established qualifications and/or validation process, ValChild outputs can be only relevant as an example for future developments or adaptations - considering the relevant social, economic, and labour market context - and do not intend to replace the existing tools and processes. Consequently, these tools represent a common ground that would serve as a sound basis for further development, especially for those EU member states not having still developed their own qualifications in the field of childminding.
The ValChild recommendations and certification scheme, along with other project's outputs, is available in English, Greek, Dutch, Portuguese and French, at the project website.