Training, Networking and Mobility in Early Childhood Education and Care (TRAECE)
A high quality of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is crucial for the development of young children because it provides a precondition for future successful learning paths and a basis for a good start into the life of work and lifelong learning. Due to immigration and cross border mobility within Europe, ECEC professionals are increasingly challenged by the education and integration of children with varying cultural backgrounds. A high intercultural sensitivity and own intercultural experience help to face this challenge. The exchange of ECEC students and of ECEC staff combined with adequate mentorship and evaluation adds to qualify the staff for that.
In addition, ECEC professionals become more and more interested in their own working mobility because of various reasons. But still cross-border mobility in the ECEC sector is quite difficult. The training for ECEC teachers varies broadly as well as their job description in the different countries. Qualifications are far from being mutually recognized.
The objectives of this project were to improve the quality and recognition of learning experience in internships abroad during the training of ECEC professionals and to facilitate the mutual understanding on the competences needed in ECEC and thus enable more cross-border labour mobility. Our aim was to develop and adapt useful tools with a systematic practical dimension.
In a consortium of six partners from five countries (DE, ES, EST, IT, NL) teachers for ECEC in vocational training schools and practitioners from ECEC institutions worked together in order to develop, revise and adapt instruments for the recognition of (long-term) internships abroad and to facilitate mobility (cross-border, vertical and horizontal) in general. Most of the consortium members are well experienced in international work. Based on a Competence Matrix for ECEC which has been pre-developed by several European teachers and practitioners, we improved it on a broad European level as basis for the development of relevant Learning Outcomes and as an instrument to match different professional profiles. For better recognition, not only the agreement on Learning Outcomes is important but also their proper assessment and evaluation in order to make them formally recognizable. All instruments are available on a free online platform which provides all ECVET documents and helps to facilitate the management of mobility projects.
Impacts of the project are expected at local, regional, national and possibly also European level. Target groups are ECEC students, their teachers, ECEC practitioners and stakeholders in this sector. Sharing experiences and testing new methodological tools in multicultural contexts will provide all with new examples and ideas. For ECEC students the project provides more transparent ways to have their internships and parts of occupations validated and recognized as well as a professional mentorship. Altogether, the project added to human resources development, to intercultural learning, to the attractiveness of the institutions for students respectively for good staff and to a better recognition of competences within Europe.