REYN Croatia Contributed to the NESET Report on Multilingualism

The in-service Bayash language course developed by the Open Academy Step by Step and REYN Croatia has been included as current practice that support multilingual children and families in the recently published NESET analytical Report “Working with multilingual children and families in early childhood education and care (ECEC): guidelines for continuous professional development of ECEC professionals”.

An increasing number of children are growing up in environments in which more than one language is spoken. For many of these children, early childhood education and care (ECEC) is often their first contact with the majority language of the country in which they are growing up. This situation adds to the crucial role that ECEC professionals play in children’s education.

Children from multilingual families bring an added richness to the ECEC centre. Their full language repertoire is both a resource for the child’s own holistic development, and enriches the learning experiences of the other children. Policy recommendations at European level, as well as the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child advocate for language learning from a young age and promotion of multilingual education in ECEC.

About the NESET Report

However, multilingualism presents specific challenges for ECEC professionals. To support multilingual children and families, ECEC staff must possess complex knowledge, skills and competences, as well as an understanding of child development and early childhood pedagogy. Many ECEC professionals feel an insecurity or lack of experience about working with multilingual children and families. In addition, educational practices are often geared toward monolingualism, and approach diversity and multilingualism as a problem instead of a resource. Multilingual parents (or non-native speakers of the institutional language) may also be uncertain when faced with making choices for their child, and often face barriers to engaging in reciprocal relationships with ECEC professionals.

Some of these challenges may be overcome through the participation of ECEC professionals in continuous professional development (CPD), which can positively impact the quality of pedagogical practices towards children and parents. However, CPD must be of high quality and must meet specific criteria – which, as evidenced by the findings of recent research, is not always guaranteed. CPD in relation to multilingualism in the ECEC context is often not attuned to the complex realities of multilingual families and may not always incorporate up-to-date scientific insights. To overcome this, CPD requires ongoing review and development. With this in mind, the purpose of this report is to formulate research- and practice-based policy recommendations for high-quality CPD to support ECEC professionals working with multilingual children and families.

You can find the full version of the report here. Find the summary in English here, in German here and in French here.

TOY for Inclusion training inspires coordinators of new Play Hubs

This week eight candidates to be Play Hubs coordinator attended a three-day training in Croatia. “I felt understood; people accepted me as I am,” said trainee Tatiana Pastorekova.

Eight new TOY for Inclusion Play Hubs will open in 2020. The in-training coordinators followed a three-day international training session in Sisak (Croatia) this week.

“I like to work with children and people. It is in my heart and I want to give something back to society”, said one of the trainees, Tatiana Pastorekova. She is a preschool teacher and has been selected as a coordinator of the Play Hub that will open in Roskovce (Slovakia) next year.

The in-training coordinators have learned the TOY for Inclusion approach, which integrates four building blocks: community based early childhood education and care; social inclusion and respect for diversity; intergenerational learning; integrated services.

“The coordinators will work in different countries and settings, it is therefore important to set a shared vision. Also, the coordinators have learned the TOY for Inclusion approach and received suggestions on how to run such a space”, says Valentina Erba, Trainer of Associazione 21 Luglio.

“As a teacher, I came here already with a theoretical background but I really liked the sessions focusing on practical activities and tips on how to run a Play Hub,” Ms. Pastorekova concluded.  

In the photos you can see some of the activities that the trainees could observe at the local Toy for Inclusion Play Hub.

Read more about Toy for Inclusion here.

REYN Italy and REYN Croatia event: Comparing Educational Practices

- News

REYN Italy and REYN Croatia start the autumn season with a joint event called “The Romani child between school and family: comparing educational experiences in Italy and Croatia.”

The event will take place in Rome (Italy) on November 17-19, 2017, focusing on the exchange of innovative educational practices in the two countries.

Associazione 21 Luglio, REYN Italy‘s coordinator, will present some experiences of Italy’s education system. At the same event Sanja Brajković, Psychologist, Open Academy Step by Step Croatia and REYN Croatia, will share innovative practices of her country of origin.

Entrance is free of charge, seating is limited and available on a first come first serve basis.

Find out more in Italian here.

‘Buna zua! Kum ješć?’ REYN Croatia presents the course for teaching the basics of Beyash language to adults

- News

The Romani Early Years Network Croatia offered a course of Beyash language to its members – primarily to educators and other professionals working with Roma children. The course is taught by Romani assistants, Biljana Horvat and Elvis Kralj, with the guidance of Professor Radosavljević. The Beyash language is an old Romanian dialect; it is spoken by a large number of Roma people in Croatia and specifically in the Međimurje County, which has the highest concentration of Roma people in the country. This is the first time that a course of this kind is delivered, so far there have been no published resources nor teaching materials in Beyash.

Read more about the course here.

“Internalized attitudes define our work with children”

- Blog | REYN Admin

REYN at the international DECET conference ‘No Quality without Equality’
Under the auspices of Newman University, UK, No Quality without Equality was the title and theme of the DECET (Diversity in Early Childhood Training) network’s international conference held in Birmingham in June 2015. The event gathered more than 100 participants, including academics, practitioners, and activists from all over the globe, such as the EU, the Americas, Asia and Australia.
The work of the REYN international network, as well as that of the national networks, was presented by Colette Murray from TREYN Ireland, and Asja Korbar from REYN-Croatia. The opportunity to present REYN to a wider ECEC audience was created thanks to the joint collaboration and support of ISSA (International Step by Step Association), Open Society Foundations’ Early Childhood Program, and DECET.
REYN’s presence at this event offered an opportunity for sharing the challenges as well as the innovative and successful practices gathered under the umbrella of REYN’s international platform. Describing how REYN has been strengthened through its’ mission to develop inclusive practice, which can alleviate the obstacles faced by Romani and Traveller children as a result of economic, social, and racial marginalization was both worthwhile and inspiring.
Through numerous quality sessions, this conference endorsed the crucial debate on the relationship between quality and inequality and the role of ECEC within this dynamic. Janneke Platenga from Utrecht School of Economics opened a question on the role of ECEC within the tension between the targeted intervention and universal provision. Deepa Grover from UNICEF presented the challenges of early childhood development programs in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States, and the UNICEF’s role in combating these challenges.
The discursive framework of Antibias defined almost every discussion during both conference sessions and conference breaks, and participants had the opportunity to reflect intensively on the ways our internalized attitudes defines our work with children, even more so because – in the words of keynote speaker Louise Derman-Sparks – internalized oppression co-exists with internalized privilege and sustains the existing power relations from policy to everyday life.
If we translate this into the context of the marginalization of Romani and Traveller children, then we – whether this we stands for practitioners, researchers, activists, policy makers, business managers, journalists, or simply fellow citizens – must remind ourselves of the internalized privilege which enables our position. The process (and not the eventual outcome) is at the heart of the struggle for equality; and of the resilience of the every child and every family that we are articulating. We must keep this in mind as it might not only strengthen our hopes for better future, but more importantly strengthen our capacity to imagine that a different world is possible.
Possible might just also mean real.
Asja Korbar
Colette Murray

The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion – Croatia report

- Blog | REYN Admin

The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI), a joint initiative of the Open Society Early Childhood Program, the Roma Education Fund (REF), and UNICEF, launched its six report about Croatia in February 2015 in Zagreb.

The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion+ (RECI+) Croatia report confirms that education is one of the most critical areas of intervention for Roma children.

Download the report in pdf here

* Picture: A Roma Good Start Project, UNICEF, OSF, REF, ISSA

Strategies to combat segregation of Romani children in schools

- Blog | REYN Admin

In Strategies to combat segregation of Romani children in schools, the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights of Harvard University analyzes the interventions employed by civil society organizations active in six EU countries to push and/or support the state institutions in developing and implementing measures to prevent and stop segregation of Romani children in schools.

The report presents six case studies summarizing findings based on an in-depth literature review and from conversations with communities, experts, and stakeholders in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, GreeceHungary and Romania.

To download the report, click here