A Good Start Project – Resources developed by ISSA

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A Good Start Project is a project funded by the European Commission’s DG REGIO, led by Roma Education Fund. The project aims to raise early childhood education and care (ECEC) outcomes for Romani children in an effort to enhance school readiness and long-term life opportunities, while scaling up access to quality ECEC services for disadvantaged Romani children.

ISSA has been one of the three international partners in the project, along with the Slovak Governance Institute/Slovakia and Fundacion Secretariado Gitano/Spain. ISSA’s main contribution to the project was to build and strengthen the capacity of all actors involved in providing early childhood services to deliver high quality services, tailored to the specific needs of Romani children and their families in all 16 communities included in the project in Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia.

As part of the project, a guide has been developed by ISSA, titled “Building Opportunities in Early Childhood FromThe Start – A Teacher’s Guide to Good Practices in Inclusive Early Childhood Services”. The guide provides practitioners with opportunities to reflect on, learn about and practice inclusive approaches on working with Romani children and their families, based on ISSA’s extended experience in working and promoting inclusive learning environments. The guide is a resourceful tool for all those who are interested in providing high quality services for Romani children and in promoting the respect for diversity within communities. The main author of the guide is Zorica Trikic, ISSA’s Program Specialist, who worked under the coordination of Mihaela Ionescu, ISSA’s Program Director.

Another important resource developed is the Continuum for Assessing Caregivers in Center/Community/Home Based Programs. The Continuum is a (self)-assessment tool developed by ISSA based on its Principles of Quality Pedagogy and ISSA’s Professional Development Tool for Kindergarten Teachers. The tool aims at providing a shared understanding of what quality means in inclusive learning environments that are child centered. This tool was authored by a team of experts from ISSA, under the leadership of Dawn Tankersley, ISSA’s Program Specialist, and it was used on a limited scale as a monitoring tool within the A Good Start Project. The tool consists of 24 indicators around 6 areas of practices with examples of practices for each indicator ranging from Inadequate to Quality. ISSA plans to further pilot the tool in other projects in the network.

For more information contact Mihaela Ionescu at