Author Archives: Catarina Leitão

Portugal: Development of a project to combat school dropout / Desenvolvimento de um projeto para combater o abandono escolar

ISOTIS researcher Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon) and colleague addressed the relevance of an Education Observatory in the characterization of the phenomenon of school dropout, at the kick off meeting of the project Plano Integrado e Inovador de Combate ao Insucesso Escolar da Lezíria do Tejo (PiiCiE LT), in Santarém, Portugal.

This project defines a strategy of convergent implementation of a positive, innovative, creative and excellence education, to combat school dropout and failure, and to promote educational success for 2017-2020, in the Portuguese region Lezíria do Tejo. This investment involves the development of an inter-municipal collaborative network, that can potentiate the sharing and transfer of good practices, and a positive impact.

Meet the project here and watch the recording of the meeting below (in Portuguese).


A investigadora do ISOTIS Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-IUL) e colega abordaram a relevância de um Observatório da Educação na caraterização do fenómeno do abandono escolar, na reunião de arranque do Plano Integrado e Inovador de Combate ao Insucesso Escolar da Lezíria do Tejo (PiiCiE LT), em Santarém.

O PiiCiE LT é um projeto que define uma estratégia de implementação convergente de uma educação positiva, inovadora, criativa e de excelência, como estratégia de um desenvolvimento económico e social da Lezíria do Tejo para combater o abandono e o insucesso escolar, e promover o sucesso educativo para o triénio 2017-2020. Este investimento preconiza a criação de uma rede de trabalho colaborativa intermunicipal, potenciadora de partilha e transferência interconcelhos de boas práticas, e de um impacto positivo.

Conheça o projeto aqui e assista ao vídeo da reunião seguidamente:

The European Commission releases the 2018 Education and Training Monitor

The Education and Training Monitor is a European Commission publication that presents a yearly evaluation of education and training systems across Europe. It emphasizes priority themes and informs national education reform debates in EU Member States.

According to the results showed in this publication, students with a migrant background on average report a slightly higher motivation to achieve academically than their native peers. However, students with a migrant background have considerably lower rates of attaining baseline academic proficiency in reading, maths and science, in the majority of the Member States. They also report a lower sense of belonging at school, are less satisfied with their life, and experience more school related anxiety than native students. 

Students with a migrant background continue to face obstacles, often due to their lower socioeconomic status and having to learn more than one language. As stated by European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, on the occasion of the release of the 2018 Education and Training Monitor: "Behind the poor educational performance lies the lack of knowledge of the language."

The results found reinforce that it is important to look at what happens in schools and classrooms, and what can be done to improve the situation. In this scope, ISOTIS is collecting information on best practice in curriculum, pedagogy and inclusive climate development in early childhood and primary school education. Our team is also developing a virtual learning environment to support multicultural and multilingual education. This tool will contribute to the development of the multi/intercultural competences of professionals.

Find the Monitor here

Supporting multicultural and multilingual education through a virtual learning environment

A major new task has started: the design, implementation and evaluation of a virtual learning environment to support multicultural and multilingual education at home and in (pre)school. This tool will contribute to the development of the multi/intercultural competences of professionals.

The ISOTIS Italian team has built a beautiful digital platform with multiple functionalities to support parents, children and teachers.

ISOTIS researchers in several countries are now equipping the platform with multicultural and multilingual activities, information, demonstration videos and much more, in close collaboration with children, parents and teachers.

These are exciting times and we look forward to sharing them with you!

Romani Early Years Network: Willing to speak Romani?

"Willing to speak Romani?" is the title of the article by ISOTIS researcher Stanislav Daniel (ISSA) on the Romani Early Years Network website.

Our colleague highlights that the acceptance of the Romani language is crucial to embrace diversity in today’s open society. The Romani language is part of cultural heritage and cultural wealth of the world. However, using this language beyond the Roma community can be a challenge.

Stanislav Daniel explains that there are two main streams in efforts to make Romani usable at the international level. One involves trying to develop new words by transforming the original ones. The other relies on the use of international words. Read the full article

This article was published on 5th of November - the International Day of Romani Language. This day was proclaimed by UNESCO and it is recognized by the Council of Europe. It emphasizes the promotion of language and culture of Roma people, and the support of multicultural values.

Conference on Cultural Diversity, Migration and Education

ISOTIS participated in the invited symposium Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom at the conference on Cultural Diversity, Migration and Education, organized in Potsdam, Germany, on August 23rd – 25th.

The aim of the conference was to better understand how cultural diversity and issues related to migration are potential resources that contribute to children’s positive educational experiences and promote school success.

"Home-(pre)school relations in culturally diverse Europe" was the theme addressed by ISOTIS coordinator Paul Leseman (Utrecht University) during the conference. He presented preliminary results of the ISOTIS large-scale interview study among immigrant, Roma and low-income parents in ten European countries.

Preliminary findings indicate that there seems to be a discrepancy between the reality of everyday life experienced by culturally and linguistically diverse families and the reality of public media discourse. Read more

Inclusion in Europe: Two realities?


The ISOTIS team interviewed parents with a Turkish, North-African, Romani and native low-income background about their views and experiences related to children's education. These interviews were conducted in the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal.

Preliminary results are now coming to light. These early results seem to indicate that diverse families live in two realities.

Turkish and North-African immigrants, Roma and native low-income people are, overall, living well together in the locations where the ISOTIS study is being conducted. They report, on average, low discrimination by other parents and neighbours, reasonable inter-group contact, and positive supportive relations with professionals in education, care and health care at the local level.

Immigrant and Roma parents wish to preserve their heritage language and culture, but also agree with the importance of learning the national language and culture. Parents in all groups, including the native low-income group, share the value of recognizing, respecting and celebrating different cultural backgrounds in (pre)primary education.

However, the experienced discrimination in public discourse, media and social media is high and this negatively affects parents’ wellbeing and feelings of belongingness to the country. The overall positive personal relations with professionals at the local level are a protective buffer against the negative effects of media discrimination on parents’ wellbeing and sense of belongingness.

In sum, there seems to be a discrepancy between the reality of everyday life at the local level and the reality of public media discourse.

Watch ISOTIS researcher Martine Broekhuizen (Utrecht University) presenting the goals of the interviews with parents.

ISOTIS researcher met with Sri Lanka government representatives

Professor Edward Melhuish has advised a number of countries on their early childhood policies, most recently Sri Lanka.

Earlier this year, he made a presentation and held a series of discussions with Sri Lankan government officials on the long-term benefits of high quality early childhood education.  Sri Lanka subsequently boosted funding for early childhood education. He argues that Australian governments should follow the Sri Lankan government’s lead, and welcomed the Australian Labor Party’s commitment to increase Federal funding for early childhood education.

Professor Melhuish is Professor of Human Development at the University of Oxford and Principal Investigator on ISOTIS. He is also an adviser on childhood development issues to the OECD, European Commission, UNICEF and WHO. It was in his capacity as a UNICEF Ambassador that he made a presentation on “Building Brains, Building Futures: The Sri Lanka Early Childhood Development High-Level Meeting”, in July this year. Key government officials and advisors, including the education minister and the finance minister, were at the meeting.

Regarding this presentation, Professor Melhuish says that: “The message I gave them was that in order to provide an infrastructure for the level of economic development that Sri Lanka wants for its future generations, they needed to improve their early year services, particularly in the area of early education. I pointed out that other Asian countries such as Singapore, which Sri Lanka sees as a major competitor, had taken on board the international research and had started to invest much more heavily in early education. They were impressed by this comparison and by the evidence from around the world that I presented to them, and now the minister of finance has announced a massive increase in government spending on early education.

A large and growing body of research shows that quality early childhood education delivers a wide range of benefits, not just to the children involved, but to society overall. These include improved child well-being and learning, reduced poverty, increased social mobility, greater female workforce participation and increased social and economic development.

Professor Melhuish informs that: “The evidence from around the world is that when you invest in good quality early education, you see improved outcomes for children in their behavioural outcomes and in their early learning and capacity to adapt to school very quickly.

That impact at the start of school then has consequences for their later developmental trajectories. Those children with good preschool education for longer duration start on a high trajectory and maintain that trajectory through to the end of school, and finish with higher levels of qualifications. They subsequently get better jobs and show better social adjustment.

Thus, the skills base of the whole population is raised, and the economic potential of the country is improved. Those children are less likely to get involved in crime, to use drugs, to have an early pregnancy, or to get involved in risky behaviours that lead to bad health. They are less likely to be dependent on welfare and unemployment benefits, and more likely to be employed, paying taxes and improving government finances.

ISOTIS Newsletter released

We are delighted to share our newsletter from October!

Click here to read the newsletter

We invite you to read about preliminary results from our interviews aimed at parents. These results seem to indicate that diverse families live in two realities: one is the everyday life, and the other is the public media discourse.

Also, discover more about what is happening in ISOTIS. Findings have been shared at different events, and several related publications released.

Happy reading! Please, give us your feedback on our social media.


ISOTIS team at the ESA RN03 Conference in Łódź

The ISOTIS team participated in the mid-term conference of the European Sociological Association Research Network 03 (RN03) ‘Biographical Perspectives on European Societies’, in Łódź, Poland, on September 17-18. The theme of the conference was “Theoretical and empirical reflections on social disorganisation and “otherness” in modern European societies: Following the biographical and discursive approach of Thomas and Znaniecki’s legacy of “Polish Peasant in Europe and America”.

Our colleagues presented on the personal stories of migrant, Roma and low-income parents, collected through qualitative in-depth interviews. These presentations were included in the special panel session “ISOTIS project: The mothers' story of inequality and otherness in contemporary Europe: bringing up children in low income, immigrant and ethnic minority families”. ISOTIS researcher Lyudmila Nurse (University of Oxford) was an organiser and a convener of this panel session. Colleagues from Poland, Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands were presenters.

From left to right: Ayça Alayli (Utrecht University), Kateřina Sidiropulu-Janků and Jana Obrovská (Masaryk University), Lyudmila Nurse (University of Oxford), Alessandra Mussi (University of Milano-Bicocca), Paulina Marchlik (University of Warsaw), Katarzyna Gajek (University of Łodz), and Elżbieta Czerska-Szczepaniak (University of Warsaw).

ISOTIS researchers also participated in other conference sessions:

- Lyudmila Nurse (University of Oxford) chaired the session “Women’s Biographies in Various Contexts”. During this session, Jana Obrovská and Kateřina Sidoropulu-Janků (Masaryk University) presented “Between kidneys and skin. How Czech Roma mothers cope with ethnic othering”.

- Elżbieta Czerska-Szczepaniak (University of Warsaw) participated in the session Communities and Institutions: Different Aspects of Otherness”. She conducted the presentation “Institutional and informal support systems in raising a child in low income families- Polish mothers’ biographical reflections.

Visit the conference website:

Find the conference programme:

Germany: How do socially-determined gaps in achievement develop over time?

When do socially-determined gaps in cognitive achievement emerge, how large are they before children enter school, and how do they develop over schooling?

These questions are addressed by ISOTIS researchers Jan Skopek and Giampiero Passaretta in the recent article "The social stratification of skills from infancy to adolescence – Evidence from an accelerated longitudinal design". The researchers studied the evolution over time of achievement gaps related to the socio-economic status (SES) in children between 7 months and 16 years of age, in Germany.

Findings indicate gaps as early as 7 months of age, which expand before children enter school. However, these gaps remain fairly stable as children navigate through school. The researchers tentatively conclude that schooling decreases social inequality in learning. 


Find the full article here:

Happy World Teachers Day!

Today we celebrate the commitment of teachers and educators!

Quality education for all learners entails effective training and support for teachers and educators. ISOTIS aims to contribute to the professionalization of staff, centres and schools to improve quality and inclusiveness.

Read the ISOTIS publications on professional and organizational development:

- The role of professionals in promoting diversity and inclusiveness

- Inventory and analysis of professional development and models related to inclusiveness

Check out researcher Pauline Slot addressing the challenges facing professional development in multilingual and diverse cultural backgrounds, and the innovations proposed by ISOTIS.

ISOTIS team in the 2018 conference of EARLI – SIG5

ISOTIS researchers participated in the 2018 conference of the Special Interest Group on “Learning and Development in Early Childhood” (SIG 5) of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instructions (EARLI). The theme of the conference was "ECEC 2.0: Future Challenges for Early Childhood Education and Care". Researchers were invited to discuss effects of recent societal, educational and technological changes on early childhood education and care, namely: increasing emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); education in general and the use of technology in particular; increasing recognition of the importance of social-emotional and motivational competency aspects for children’s educational pathways.

ISOTIS researchers addressed the following themes:

Symposium: Tackling educational inequalities through promising and evidence-based interventions around Europe
Chairperson: Paul Leseman (ISOTIS coordinator)
Organisers: Joana Cadima (ISOTIS researcher) and Paul Leseman
Discussant: Tove Mogstad Slinde, Ministry of Education and Research Norway, Norway

- Parent- and Family-Support Interventions: An Inventory of Promising programs in 7 European countries
by Gil Nata, Maria Evangelou, Joana Cadima, Yvonne Anders
Read abstract - 16

- An inventory of curriculum, pedagogy, and social climate interventions in 8 European countries
by Cecília Aguiar, Carla Silva, Rita Guerra, Giulia Pastori
Read abstract - page 17

- Professional development aimed at cultural/linguistic diversity: inventory in 10 European countries
by Pauline Slot, Bodine Romijn, Olga Wysłowska
Read abstract - page 18


Symposium: Educational partnerships in ECEC in a context of cultural diversity
Chairperson: Martine Broekhuizen (ISOTIS researcher)
Discussant: Tove Mogstad Slinde, Ministry of Education and Research Norway, Norway

- Family-preschool partnerships: mothers with a Turkish and Mahgrebian background in Europe
by Martine Broekhuizen, Ryanne Francot, Paul Leseman
Read abstract - page 72

- Roma mothers’ resources, experiences, and aspirations in the Czech Republic, Greece, and Portugal
by Petrogiannis, Cecília Aguilar, and Jana Obrovská
Read abstract - page 73

- Playgroups for Inclusion: Experimental Impacts on the development, temperament and behavior of children from different ethnic groups
by Joana Dias Alexandre, Clara Barata, Catarina Leitão, Bruno de Sousa, Vanessa Russo
Read abstract - page 74


Symposium: Family Support to Foster Early Childhood Development
Chairperson: Kerstin Schütte, Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN), Germany
Discussant: Joana Cadima (ISOTIS researcher)

- The use and evaluation of family support services in disadvantaged groups across Europe
by Martine Broekhuizen, Katharina Ereky-Stevens, Thomas Moser, and Helga Norheim
Read abstract - page 8

- A meta-analysis on the relationship between time spent in childcare and social-emotional outcomes
by Katrin Wolf, Hannah Ulferts, Yvonne Anders
Read abstract - page 9

Visit the conference web page.

The experience of migrant Arab mothers in Italy

ISOTIS interviewed Arab mothers living in Milan about their parenting experiences. Researcher Alessandra Mussi (University of Milano Bicocca) addressed this work at the ESREA conference ‘Building solidarities for anti-racist adult education’, on June 15. The title of the article presented is "Arab migration and parenting: the experience of Arab migrant women in Italy".

According to the researcher, becoming mother during migration can be a source of insecurity and fear, but can also be a stimulus to face adversity. Adequate support can contribute to the development of educational and resilience skills, potentiating the integration process and, consequently, the well-being of the whole family.

Recommendations for professionals working with Arab mothers include taking into account:
- The recognition of the resources available to mothers and the legitimacy of different parenting methods;
- The recognition of cultural and educational diversity, but also promotion of negotiations and hybridizations;
- The enhancement of narration, dialogue and intercultural meetings as qualities of a relational posture, but also as practices with formative implications.

Read full article

Promising educational practices to tackle inequalities/Práticas educativas promissoras para combater desigualdades

ISOTIS developed an inventory of promising curriculum, pedagogy, and social climate interventions tackling inequalities in centre-based early childhood education settings and primary schools. The interventions selected aim to promote educational equality and
belongingness for immigrant, Roma, and low-income children. The countries included are the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal.

A total of 78 interventions were selected for review and analyses. Findings indicate that while 79% of the interventions provided some type of language support, only 32% considered children’s heritage language, even though 72% of the interventions targeted either immigrant, Roma, or mixed groups of children.

These  findings suggest the need to provide language supports to immigrant-background students concurrently to teaching the age-appropriate curriculum. These findings also highlights the importance of supporting and value the development of the language and cultural heritage of immigrant and ethnic minority students. Read more about the inventory

On May 11, our colleague Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-IUL) presented findings from this inventory during the conference “Um mundo em mudança: Desafios para a Psicologia Comunitária e da Saúde”, at the University Institute of Lisbon. Promising interventions in Portugal were addressed. See the presentation (in Portuguese)


O ISOTIS desenvolveu um inventário de intervenções promissoras a nível do currículo, pedagogia e clima social para combater desigualdades em centros de educação pré-escolar e escolas do primeiro ciclo do ensino básico. As intervenções selecionadas visam promover a igualdade educacional e o sentimento de pertença em crianças imigrantes, de comunidades ciganas e de famílias em situação económica mais vulnerável. Os países incluídos são a República Checa, a Inglaterra, a Alemanha, a Grécia, a Itália, a Holanda, a Polónia e Portugal.

Setenta e oito intervenções foram selecionadas para revisão e análise. Os resultados indicam que, enquanto 79% das intervenções forneceram algum tipo de apoio linguístico, apenas 32% consideraram a língua de origem das crianças, embora 72% das intervenções tenham como alvo crianças imigrantes, de comunidades ciganas ou grupos mistos de crianças.

Estes resultados sugerem a necessidade de fornecer apoio linguístico a alunos com background de imigração, concomitantemente com o ensino do currículo adequado à idade. Estes resultados também destacam a importância de apoiar e valorizar o desenvolvimento da língua de origem e a herança cultural de estudantes imigrantes e de minorias étnicas. Leia mais sobre o inventário

No dia 11 de Maio, a nossa colega Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-IUL) apresentou os resultados deste inventário durante a conferência “Os mundos de vida, os Desafios para a Psicologia Comunitária e da Saúde”, no ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa. Intervenções promissoras em Portugal foram abordadas. Veja a apresentação em Português

ISOTIS presentato nella newsletter del progetto Mamme a Scuola

We are happy to see ISOTIS presented in the newsletter of the Mamme a Scuola project, in Italy. This is a project within neighborhood schools that involves immigrant women, their children and the scholastic realities that welcome them.

Check out the newsletters here:
- April
- February

Visit the project webpage

IT: ISOTIS è presentato nella newsletter del progetto Mamme a Scuola, in Italia. Mamme a Scuola è un progetto all'interno di scuole di quartiere che coinvolge le donne immigrate, i loro figli e le realtà scolastiche che li accolgono.

Le newsletter sono disponibili qui:
- Aprile
- Febbraio

Visita la pagina web del progetto

Presentation on the experiences of parents with Turkish immigrant background

ISOTIS researcher Hande Erdem (Freie Universität Berlin) presented part of her PhD project "Intersection of Ethno-cultural and Class based Identities in Educational Contexts: The Case of Turkish Immigrant Background Parents in Germany" at the Migration Conference, hosted by the University of Lisbon, on June 26. Visit the conference website

This study is being developed by Hande Erdem, together with ISOTIS researcher Yvonne Anders (Freie Universität Berlin), and Prof. Dr. Özen Odag.

The study focuses on the views and experiences shared by parents with a Turkish background, that were interviewed in Berlin, in the scope of the ISOTIS project. The parents were asked about their children’s education and upbringing: experiences with educational systems and support services, hopes and wishes for their children, resources and support needs.

More information on the views and experiences shared by the parents interviewed by the ISOTIS team will be available soon. Stay tuned!

Educational Inequality Conference held at the University of Amsterdam

ISOTIS researchers Herman van de Werfhorst and Jesper Rözer, both from the University of Amsterdam, integrated the team that organized the Educational Inequality Conference, held on 5-6th July. The team aimed to integrate studies that focus on mechanisms that explain how inequalities are created (e.g. in families, or in schools), and studies that focus on emergence or effects of institutional arrangements in educational systems.

This conference included presentations authored by ISOTIS researchers Herman van de Werfhorst, Jesper Röze, Jan Skopek, Thomas Van Huizen, Giampiero Passaretta, Nigel Kragten, and Andrea Forster, namely:

- School tracking regimes, student sorting, and social inequalities. A comparative analysis of Germany, Italy and the Netherlands
Moris Triventi (University of Trento), Jan Skopek (Trinity College Dublin) & Thomas Van Huizen (Utrecht University)

- Female advantage and disadvantage: Institutional and cultural explanations for vertical and horizontal gender segregation in education.
Lotte Scheeren & Herman van de Werfhorst (University of Amsterdam)

- Contextual inequality, education-based meritocracy and personal legitimation of stratification
Anatolia Batruch & Herman van de Werfhorst (University of Amsterdam)

- Inequalities in Educational Opportunities by Socioeconomic and Migration Background: A Comparative Assessment
Jesper Rözer, Herman van de Werfhorst & Nigel Kragten (University of Amsterdam)

- To what extent are social inequalities in educational achievement explained by preschool inequalities? A comparative analysis of the UK, Germany and the Netherlands
Giampiero Passaretta (Trinity College Dublin), Jan Skopek (Trinity College Dublin), Thomas van Huizen (Utrecht University)

- Tracking, Student Expectations and Higher Education Enrollment – A comparison between the US and Germany
Andrea Forster (University of Amsterdam), Anna Katyn Chmielewski (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto) & Herman van de Werfhorst (University of Amsterdam)

Visit the conference page

Portugal: Process quality in preschool classrooms serving children at-risk and with disabilities

What does quality ECEC look like for centres serving children at-risk of poverty, social exclusion and children with disabilities?

ISOTIS and CARE researchers Joana Cadima, Cecília Aguiar and Clara Barata examined the complex interplay of structural features and interactions between staff and children in Portuguese centres serving these populations. The title of the paper is: Process quality in Portuguese preschool classrooms serving children at-risk of poverty and social exclusion and children with disabilities.

The paper is available for free download for 50 days after publication. Check it here:

PT: Como é a qualidade dos serviçoes para a primeira infância nos centros que atendem crianças em situação de risco de pobreza, exclusão social e crianças com deficiência?

As investigadoras do ISOTIS e do CARE Joana Cadima, Cecília Aguiar e Clara Barata examinaram as complexas ligações entre caraterísticas estruturais e interações entre o staff e as crianças nos centros portugueses que servem estas populações. O título do artigo é: Qualidade do processo em salas de aula pré-escolares portuguesas que atendem crianças em situação de risco de pobreza e exclusão social e crianças com deficiência.

O artigo está disponível para download gratuito por 50 dias após a publicação. Encontre-o aqui:

Online course – The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development

We are happy to share the launching of the free online course "The Best Start in Life: Early Childhood Development for Sustainable Development", from the SDG Academy. The course starts on September 24, 2018, and has a length of 8 weeks.

The course will address questions such as: What does a successful early childhood care program look like? How has a child’s brain developed at the age of 3? How does nutrition impact the future well-being of a child into adulthood? Topics will include:
• How neurological makeup affects children’s development;
• The intersection of childcare, education and other programming with policies at the national level and beyond;
• How factors such as forced migration impact a child’s future.

Instructors: Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Jack P. Shonkoff, Aisha Yousafzai, and Catherine Tamis-LeMonda.

This year all course video lectures have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi to reach a wider audience.

Enroll here:

Shaping environments for motor development – International conference

The Utrecht University, the Netherlands, will host the international conference: "Shaping environments for motor development", on September 10-11. The following themes will be addressed:

Keynote by Osnat Atun-Einy | Ora Oudgenoeg-Paz | Saskia van Schaik

Keynote by Catherine Tamis-Lemonda

Keynote by Charles Super

Anneloes van Baar | Imke van Maren-Suir | Marike Boonzaaijer

Marian Jongmans | Mijna Hadders-Algra

Find out the link to register here:

Urban spaces to support parents – New study by ISSA

The environments in which children and embedded can influence to a great extent their access to services, and the quality of these services.

A comparative study of "Urban Spaces to Support Parents" was developed by ISOTIS partner International Step by Step Association (ISSA). The main goal was to identify social facilities that have the potential to improve the quality of life for children between 0-4 years old . The study analyzes programs from Australia, Belgium, Slovenia, the UK and the USA. The research aimed to learn more about: diversity of the services provided; type of workforce required; curriculum of the programs; flexibility in terms of opening hours; funding schemes and costs.

Read the new about this study
Read the report

Do children benefit from universal Early Childhood Education and Care?

A new study by ISOTIS researcher Thomas van Huizen (Utrecht University) and colleague Janneke Plantenga examines the effects of universal Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) on child development and children's later life outcomes.

The researchers analysed the findings from 30 studies conducted between 2005 and 2017. They found that:
- Age of enrollment is not a major factor in explaining the impact. Some evidence indicates that more intensive programs produce more favorable outcomes.
- Program quality matters critically: high quality arrangements consistently generate positive child outcomes.
- Publicly provided programs produce more favorable effects than privately provided (and mixed) programs.
- The evidence does not indicate that ECEC effects are fading out in the long run.
- The gains of ECEC are concentrated within children from lower socioeconomic families.

The title of the article is "Do Children Benefit from Universal Early Childhood Education and Care? A Meta-Analysis of Evidence from Natural Experiments", and it is published in the journal Economics of Education Review.

Find the access to the article here:

van Huizen, T.M. & Plantenga, J. (2018). Do Children Benefit from Universal Early Childhood Education and Care? A Meta-Analysis of Evidence from Natural ExperimentsEconomics of Education Review, forthcoming.

Presentation on the contribute of partnerships for the development of projects in the field of inclusive education

ISOTIS researchers Joana Guerra and Catarina Leitão (University of Coimbra) presented "The contribute of partnerships for the conceptualization and execution of community intervention projects in the field of inclusive education. Examples in the scope of the Escolhas program in Portugal", at the 2nd Congresso Internacional de Redes Sociais, on June 7.

The goal of this communication was to present the results of a case study about interagency working developed in a intervention project carried out in a Roma community. To present examples of good practice, identifying success factors and obstacles in achieving collaborative work among agencies with a responsibility to solve wicked problems, such as access to education, can be a measure to combat early inequalities.

Escolhas is a national government program, promoted by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and integrated in the High Commission for Migration (ACM, IP), whose mission is to promote the social inclusion of children and young people from vulnerable socioeconomical contexts. The partnership work is considered one of the pillars in this program. The consortia created for each project enable the idea that it is on the local scale that problems can best be solved. The local partnerships seek complementarity, the articulation of resources and co-responsibility for initiatives, in order to promote the sustainability of actions.

The conclusions of the study by our colleagues point out the success factors and constraints of partnership work for public and private sector professionals and organizations. They also highlight advantages of this organizational model as a way to guarantee adequate social responses and services to the needs of children, young people and their families, as well as to the wider community.

PT: As investigadoras do ISOTIS Joana Guerra e Catarina Leitão (Universidade de Coimbra) apresentaram a comunicação "O contributo das parcerias na concetualização e execução dos projetos de intervenção comunitária no domínio da educação inclusiva. Exemplos no âmbito do programa Escolhas em Portugal", no 2º Congresso Internacional de Redes Sociais, no dia 7 de junho.

O objetivo desta comunicação foi apresentar os resultados de um estudo de caso sobre o trabalho de parceria desenvolvido num projeto de intervenção comunitária realizado numa comunidade cigana. Apresentar exemplos de boas práticas, identificando os fatores de sucesso e os obstáculos na concretização do trabalho de colaboração entre agências com responsabilidade na resolução de problemas sociais complexos, como por exemplo o acesso à educação, pode constituir uma medida de combate às desigualdades precoces.

O Escolhas é um programa governamental de âmbito nacional, promovido pela Presidência do Conselho de Ministros e integrado no Alto Comissariado para as Migrações – ACM, IP, cuja missão é promover a inclusão social de crianças e jovens de contextos socioeconómicos vulneráveis. O trabalho de parceria é considerado um dos pilares do Programa Escolhas. Os consórcios criados para cada projeto viabilizam a ideia de que é na escala local que os problemas melhor poderão ser resolvidos. As parcerias locais procuram a complementaridade, a articulação de recursos e a corresponsabilização pelas iniciativas, de forma a promover a sustentabilidade das ações.

As conclusões do estudo indicam fatores de sucesso e constrangimentos do trabalho de parceria para os profissionais e organizações do setor público e privado. As conclusões também realçam as vantagens deste modelo organizacional como forma de garantir respostas e serviços sociais adequados às necessidades das crianças, jovens e suas famílias, bem como para a comunidade em geral.

Find out more about Escolhas  / Saiba mais sobre o Programa Escolhas:

The ISOTIS team discussed the development of the Virtual Learning Environment

The ISOTIS team met on June 26-27th, in the University of Milano-Bicocca, to discuss the development of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) proposed in the scope of the project. The aim of the VLE is to develop an interactive e-learning environment that can be used by children, parents, teachers and other professionals to support multilingualism, enhance the parent-school partnerships and promote inclusiveness in the classroom.

Our team discussed the main VLE functionalities, structure and users’ profiles and journeys. Main functions will be to provide resources, to facilitate communication and exchange through a social media structure, and to provide a collaborative space of work for professionals, parents, and children. The team focused on how to guarantee the most user-friendly interface for professionals, while also encouraging the creation of communities.

Our colleagues presented possible activities to be included in the VLE. Our goal is to select activities that strengthen community bonds, enhance communication and collaboration, and mobilize and value families’ and professionals’ resources.

How digital technology is used by young children today?

"Young Children (0-8) and digital technology - A qualitative study across Europe" is a recent report by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s in-house science service. It presents the results of a qualitative study made over seventeen countries exploring how children between 0-8 years old engage with digital technologies, how far parents mediate this engagement and their awareness on the risks-opportunities balance.

According to the report:
- Young children learn digital skills by observing and mirroring adults' and older children's behaviors. Yet, young children lack of agency and of clear representation of tools they use daily (e.g. Internet, Wi-Fi, social networks).
- Young children diversify their digital skills and are more aware of risks if their school integrates digital technology meaningfully and develop digital literacy. Parents tend to support more their children’s digital learning opportunities if schools integrate digital technology in their homework requests.

New literature review on structural characteristics and process quality in ECEC

"Structural characteristics and process quality in early childhood education and care: A literature review" is the title of a OECD Education Working Paper, authored by ISOTIS researcher Pauline Slot (Utrecht University).

According to the abstract:

"This literature review investigated relations between structural characteristics and process quality in centre and family daycare provisions for children from birth to age 5. Structural characteristics were examined at system, organisational, classroom, and staff levels. The strongest evidence concerned the positive relations between staff’ pre-service and professional development and process quality. Smaller group sizes and child-staff ratios were also generally positively related to process quality. At the system level, quality rating and improvement systems appeared to be associated with higher process quality, although most systems lacked sensitivity in differentiating between fine-grained levels of quality. Evidence on relations at the organisational level was scarce. Furthermore, there was evidence of a complex interaction of structural features at different levels that jointly predicted process quality, but more research is warranted. Overall, most studies were focused on centre-based provisions for children aged 3 to 5, whereas less evidence was available for provisions for children aged 0 to 2 and family daycare."

Find the paper here:

Newsletter agora disponível em Português (Newsletter now available in Portuguese)

A última Newsletter do ISOTIS encontra-se agora disponível em português. Descubra-a aqui:

Nesta Newsletter verá um resumo das atividades e publicações desenvolvidas pela nossa equipa durante os primeiros meses de 2018. Conheça o nosso estudo sobre oportunidades educacionais atendendo ao contexto económico e ao background migrante. Descubra os nossos inventários sobre abordagens potencialmente eficazes para combater as desigualdades e aumentar a inclusão na educação e na sociedade. Nestes inventários encontrará recomendações úteis para a prática e para o desenvolvimento de programas e políticas.

Votos de uma boa leitura! 

Yeni video: Anket çalışması (Türkçe)

Ayça Alaylı (Utrecht Üniversitesi) ailelerin çocuk yetiştirme tecrübeleri ve çocuklarının eğitim hayatları hakkındaki anne babalara yönelik olarak yapılan anket çalışmasının amaçlarını anlatıyor. Ankette yer alan başlıca konular, anne-babaların eğitim sistemi ve destek servisleri ile olan tecrübelerini, çocukları için dilek ve temennilerini ve kaynak ve destek ihtiyaçlarını kapsıyor.

ENG: Ayça Alayli (Utrecht University) presents, in Turkish, the goals of the interviews aimed at parents on their experiences related to children’s education and upbringing. Topics that are covered include parent’s experiences with the educational system and support services, hopes and wishes for their children, and their resources and support needs.

New ISOTIS publication: Promising practices in family support programs

ISOTIS releases the "Inventory and analysis of promising and evidence-based parent- and family focused support programs", edited by Joana Cadima, Gil Nata, Maria Evangelou and Yvonne Anders. It provides social context indicators on family support for the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal. The country profiles focus on child and family services, country policies on equality issues, monitoring, and language support. 

According to the authors, recommendations for potentially effective interventions include:

"Programmes have to be adapted to the country-specific contextual needs."

“Services/programmes need flexible staff to address parents’ needs while keeping up standardization; this is particularly the case when dealing with families and parents who do not speak the same language of the programmes’ staff, or when dealing with disenfranchised groups who may need time and support to trust institutions.

Multicultural beliefs, as opposed to egalitarian and assimilative beliefs, seem to be key prerequisites to develop and carry out high quality programmes that meet the needs of multicultural groups. Beliefs are relatively stable but develop over time, so professional development programmes that foster multicultural beliefs need to be implemented carefully, and sensitivity for multiculturalism needs to be transferred to all levels of service/programme development and implementation.

Only few services/programmes consider the first languages of immigrants or their promotion in their programmes and staff development. However, this aspect should be revisited to address this important issue, because it may be an important factor, not only for outreach but also for the compliance and trust of participants in services/programmes.

ICT-tools may have great potential to foster particularly outreach and compliance of participants and provide new ways for networking, building communities of trust and share ideas to overcome challenges at local, regional, national or even international level. ICT-tools may be particularly useful for integrating the first languages of immigrants within programmes.”

“(…) the service/programme needs to be monitored and evaluated against its aims, continuously. Thus, continuous long-term implementation checks need to be planned, and possibilities to reflect and adapt contents and delivery modes of the programme need to be enabled. There may be differential adaptations necessary regarding dissimilar target groups and the aims and core areas of the programmes may also differ between target groups after a careful assessment of the specific and individual needs of different target and minority groups.”

Read executive summary

Download full report

Share your comments on this publication on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter. Your views are important to us. 

Article: Effects of home and preschool environments on language development

"Differential effects of home and preschool learning environments on early language development" is an article by  ISOTIS researcher Yvonne Anders (Free University of Berlin) and colleagues, published in the British Educational Research Journal.

The study focuses on the effects of both home and preschool learning environments on children's grammatical and vocabulary development. It is based on data from a German early childhood education and care governmental initiative.

Results indicated that the quality of the home learning environment predicted development in grammatical skills at age 4, but not in receptive vocabulary. The effects of preschool process quality showed similar relative impacts on both grammatical skills and receptive vocabulary. Results also indicated accumulated advantages of preschool quality for children from medium‐ and high‐quality home learning environments in their vocabulary development.

Link to the article:



ISOTIS researchers from the Freie Universität Berlin at the GEBF conference (GEBF-Tagung 2018)

ISOTIS researchers from the Free University of Berlin conducted presentations at the 6th annual conference of the Association of Empirical Educational Research (GEBF), in Basel, on February 15-16th. Read the abstracts (in German).

Yvonne Anders and colleagues focused on different perspectives of educational professionals on language development and related pedagogy (p.236). Theresia Hummel and Yvonne Anders addressed the knowledge of early childhood education professionals concerning the cooperation with children’s families (p. 238). Franziska Cohen, Yvonne Anders and colleague discussed the effects of changes in the care-taking environment on 5 years old children’s socio-emotional competences (p. 509).

DE: GEBF-Tagung 2018, in Basel

Abstractband der Haupttagung und der Nachwuchstagung:

[seite 236]. Dimensionalität sprachpädagogischer Überzeugungen von frühpädagogischen. - Fachkräften, Nadine Wieduwilt, Simone Lehrl, Yvonne Anders

[seite 238]. Welches Wissen haben Fachberatungen im Kompetenzbereich Zusammenarbeit mit Familien? - Theresia Hummel, Yvonne Anders

[seite 509]. Der Einfluss mehrfacher Betreuungswechsel auf die sozial-emotionalen Fähigkeiten von Kindern im Alter von 5 Jahren. - Franziska Cohen, Yvonne Anders, Eric Vogel

ISOTIS team meeting: The study of educational inequalities during the life course

On May 31st, the ISOTIS team addressing patterns and mechanisms regarding inequalities in educational careers met in Dublin. During this interdisciplinary meeting, our colleagues discussed which measurement and method to use to study how inequalities develop during the life course. They also discussed which policies could potentially tackle (the growing) inequalities.

This meeting occurred in the beautiful Trinity College. The group picture shows the team visiting the library. From left to right, the members are: Henrik Daae Zachrisson (University of Oslo), Thomas van Huizen (Utrecht University), Giampiero Passaretta (Trinity college), Jan Skopek (Trinity college) and Jesper Rözer (University of Amsterdam).

Our colleague Pauline Slot (Utrecht University), who is addressing professional development in the scope of the project, also visited the meeting.






Impact of social origin on educational achievement in Germany

"The social stratification of skills from infancy to adolescence – Evidence from an accelerated longitudinal design" is the title of the paper by ISOTIS researchers Giampiero Passaretta and Jan Skopek (Trinity College Dublin), presented at the II Convegno SISEC (Società Italiana di Sociologia Economica), in Milano, on January 26th.

According to the abstract:
“This paper examines the impact of social origin on educational achievement in Germany. Contrary to previous research, we reconstruct how achievement gaps in cognitive skills are unfolding from early childhood (7 months) to adolescence (age 16). Our theoretical background discusses two groups of counteracting mechanisms that favour social inequality in educational achievement to magnify or diminish as children age and navigate through school. Based on these theories, we expect social inequalities to magnify in the context of the highly stratifying German education system. Adopting an accelerated longitudinal design, our investigation exploits very recent multi-cohort test data collected by the German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). Drawing upon approximately 50 tests done across the age span of 7 months to 16 years we are in the position to study the time evolution of social gaps in skills in unprecedented detail. We inspected composite measures of skills as well as domain-specific measures such as reading and math. Our findings point to striking a gap in skills between children from higher and lower educated parents which emerges long before school. Contrary to our expectations, these preschool gaps in relative terms remain astoundingly persistent throughout subsequent school career. By providing the most recent and comprehensive assessment of skill gaps in the literature, our study contributes adds to an emerging longitudinal research on skill gaps aiming to understand when and how social differences in skill arise in children.”

Read more about the conference.

Nieuwe video: Interview studie gericht op moeders met een Marokkaanse of Turkse achtergrond in Nederland

Martine Broekhuizen (Universiteit Utrecht) vertelt over de doelen van de interview studie gericht op moeders met een Marokkaanse of Turkse achtergrond in Nederland. Onderwerpen die worden bevraagd zijn moeders’ ervaringen met het onderwijs- en zorgsysteem, hun verwachtingen en wensen voor hun kinderen, en hun hulpbronnen en ondersteuningsbehoeften.

ENG: Martine Broekhuizen (Utrecht University) presents the goals of the interviews aimed at mothers with a Moroccan or Turkish background in the Netherlands. Topics covered include: experiences with the educational system and support services, hopes and wishes for their children, and their resources and support needs.

Watch this and other ISOTIS videos

Conference of the Pan-Hellenic Association of Early Childhood Educators (Πανελλήνιος Σύνδεσμος Βρεφονηπιαγωγών)

ISOTIS researchers Konstantinos Petrogiannis (Hellenic Open University), Paul Leseman (Utrecht University) and Giulia Pastori (University of Milano-Bicocca) participated in the conference of the Pan-Hellenic Association of Early Childhood Educators (Πανελλήνιος Σύνδεσμος Βρεφονηπιαγωγών - PASYBN), on March 2nd-4th, in Thessaloniki, Greece. The conference theme focused on the reexamination of the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) at the international level.

Paul Leseman focused on quality indicators in ECEC, addressing the question: "What is needed to create an adequate system?".

Giulia Pastori, jointly with Claudia Giudici (Reggio Children), conducted a presentation on the relevance of an unified system and inter-service cooperation in ECEC, focusing on the case of Reggio Emilia.

Konstantinos Petrogiannis presented findings from the CARE project, which addressed issues related to the quality, inclusiveness, and benefits of ECEC in Europe.

The researchers also presented ISOTIS and its link to the CARE project. ISOTIS is a continuation of the CARE project and involves many of the former partners. ISOTIS expands on CARE by including the primary school phase and by focusing more specifically on the role of early and primary education in tackling inequality and exclusion.

Read more about the conference (in Greek)

Image source:


Δελτίο Τύπου - Διεθνές Συνέδριο Προσχολικής Αγωγής & Εκπαίδευσης 2018
Ολοκληρώθηκαν με επιτυχία και ικανοποίηση διοργανωτών και συμμετεχόντων οι εργασίες του Διεθνούς Συνεδρίου Προσχολικής Αγωγής & Εκπαίδευσης 2018 με θέμα: «Επανεξετάζοντας την Προσχολική Αγωγή και Εκπαίδευση στο Διεθνές Περιβάλλον», το οποίο διοργάνωσε ο Πανελλήνιος Σύνδεσμος Βρεφονηπιαγωγών (ΠΑ.ΣΥ.ΒΝ.) σε συνεργασία με το Τμήμα Προσχολικής Αγωγής Α.Τ.Ε.Ι. Αθήνας, υπό την αιγίδα των υπουργείων: Εσωτερικών και Παιδείας Έρευνας και Θρησκευμάτων.

Στο Συνέδριο συμμετείχαν διακεκριμένοι καθηγητές ελληνικών και ξένων πανεπιστημίων, ερευνητές, μέλη διεθνών οργανισμών, υπεύθυνοι ευρωπαϊκών προγραμμάτων και πρόεδροι οργανισμών. Παρουσιάστηκαν από τους εισηγητές εφαρμοσμένα συστήματα προσχολικής αγωγής και εκπαίδευσης, ο ρόλος των πολιτικών και του προσωπικού των προσχολικών πλαισίων στην ποιότητα της προσχολικής αγωγής και εκπαίδευσης, διαυπηρεσιακές συνεργασίες και ευρήματα από το ευρωπαϊκό πρόγραμμα CARE στο οποίο συμμετείχε και η χώρα μας.

επισκεφθείτε την ιστοσελίδα

Inclusive curricula and educational practices: Presenting ISOTIS work at the ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon

Our colleague Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE) presented the work developed by the ISOTIS Curriculum and Pedagogy team at the CED Talks, ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon, on January 12. The presentation addressed the analyses on inclusive curriculum, pedagogy, and school climate interventions, aiming to describe key features and conditions for success, both in early childhood education and primary school.

PT: A nossa colega Cecília Aguiar apresentou o trabalho desenvolvido pela equipa do ISOTIS dedicada ao tema "currículo e pedagogia" no evento CED Talks, ISCTE-IUL, no dia 12 de janeiro. A apresentação focou as análises sobre intervenções inclusivas em termos de currículo, pedagogia e clima escolar, com o objetivo de descrever as principais condições para o sucesso, tanto na educação pré-escolar como no primeiro ciclo do ensino básico.

Presentation available here / Apresentação disponível aqui

Eating behaviors of children: Social inequities and the role of parental self-efficacy

Eating behaviors of toddlers and young children: Social inequities and the mediating role of parental self-efficacy (Gesundheitsverhalten von Kleinkindern: Soziale Ungleichheit und die Bedeutung der elterlichen Selbstwirksamkeitserwartung) is an article authored by ISOTIS researchers Franziska Wilke and Yvonne Anders (Free University of Berlin), and colleagues. It is published in the journal Prävention und Gesundheitsförderung.

"Results provide support for intervention program aiming at the enhancement of parental self-efficacy. This might be especially relevant for parents with immigrant background. The goal of such programs should be to reduce social disparities in health outcomes."

Read the abstract in English & Zusammenfassung auf Deutsch

Children in a Digital World by UNICEF

"The state of the world’s children 2017: Children in a digital world" is a recently released publication by UNICEF. It highlights that digital tools can offer children from diverse backgrounds opportunities to learn, socialize and make their voices heard. Read more about this publication.

ISOTIS is working on a Virtual Learning Environment accessible for children, to be use in the classroom and at home. We are currently focusing on the development of its content in order to support multilingualism, enhance parent-school partnerships and promote inclusiveness, taking into account its future use by parents, children and education professionals.

Article on practices for supporting migrant mothers in Milan

"Mother-led integration: Discussion on two best practices in Milan for supporting migrant parenting on the female side" is the topic of the recently released paper authored by ISOTIS researcher Alessandra Mussi (University of Milano-Bicocca), published in the journal Formazione, Lavoro, Persona.

This paper analyses the characteristics and importance of programs that support migrant motherhood as a way to promote well-being and integration of the family. Two cases of best practices in Milan are addressed.

Read full paper in Italian

IT: Articolo "Integrazione a partire dalle madri. Discussione di due buone pratiche di supporto alla genitorialità migrante al femminile sul territorio milanese", Alessandra Mussi.

Leggi l'articolo completo in Italiano


Article on evaluation of a nurse-led group support for mothers

"Randomized controlled trial and economic evaluation of nurse-led group support for young mothers during pregnancy and the first year postpartum versus usual care" is an article published in Trials, authored by ISOTIS researchers Jacqueline Barnes, Edward Melhuish and colleagues. This article focused on the evaluation of the new intervention Group Family Nurse Partnership (gFNP), aimed at young, expectant mothers. This study was designed to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of this intervention in reducing risk factors for maltreatment with a potentially vulnerable population.

Read full article

New article on selectivity of migration and educational disadvantages

"Selectivity of migration and the educational disadvantages of second-generation immigrants in ten host societies" is a recently published article by ISOTIS researcher Herman van de Werfhorst and colleague Anthony Heath in the European Journal of Population1.

According to the abstract of the article:
"Selectivity of migration varies significantly between ethnic/origin country groups, and between the destination countries which these groups have migrated to. Yet, little comparative research has measured empirically how selective different migrant groups are in multiple destination countries, nor has research studied whether the selectivity of migration is related to the magnitude of ethnic inequalities among the children of migrants in Western societies. We present an empirical measure of educational selectivity of migrants from many different origin countries having migrated to ten different destination countries. We examine whether selective migration of a particular ethnic group in a particular destination country is related to the gap between their children’s and native children’s educational outcomes. We find that the disadvantage in educational outcomes between the second generation and their peers from majority populations is smaller for ethnic groups that are more positively selected in terms of educational attainment. We also find some evidence that the effect of selective migration is moderated by the integration policies or tracking arrangements in the educational system in the destination country."

Read the full article.

1van de Werfhorst, H.G. & Heath, A. Eur J Population (2018).

New OECD publication on quality in early childhood education and care

"Engaging young children: Lessons from research about quality in early childhood education and care" is a new OECD publication. It addresses different dimensions of quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC). As stated here: "It draws lessons from a cross-national literature review and meta-analysis of the relationship between early childhood education and care structure (e.g. child-staff ratios, staff training and qualifications), process quality (i.e. the quality of staff-child interactions and developmental activities), and links to child development and learning."

One of the background studies is a literature review authored by ISOTIS researcher Pauline Slot (University of Utrecht). This review examines how structural and process aspects of ECEC quality are interrelated in the provisions of ECEC for children in the 0-5 age range, including centre- and family-based day care.

Read more and find the report

New article on continuous professional development

ISOTIS researchers Chiara Bove, Olga Wysłowska, Susanna Mantovani and Małgorzata Karwowska‐Struczyk, and colleagues, published the following article in the European Journal of Education: "How does innovative continuous professional development (CPD) operate in the ECEC sector? Insights from a cross-analysis of cases in Denmark, Italy and Poland".

According to the abstract:
"This article offers insights into what characterises innovative continuous professional development (CPD) in the field of early childhood education and care (ECEC) by analysing similarities and differences from case studies of exemplary approaches to innovative CPD in Denmark, Italy and Poland. The comparative analysis focuses on four features that are particularly relevant for innovation in CPD in the field of ECEC: the social dimension of innovation as a strengthening component; the benefit of dynamic learning processes aimed at integrating theory and practice; the role of key figures in the quality of CPD; and measurements of CPD impact, outcomes and sustainability.This analysis sheds light on the effects of dynamic factors (e.g., regular team-based reflection sessions based on documentation and observation), the importance of work conditions (e.g., contractual obligations to provide time for reflection), the critical role of pedagogical leaders(coordinators, principals and head teachers, supervisors), the importance of inter-organisational networking at a local level and the facilitating role of collaboration with research institutes."

The cases were part of the CARE project, a collaborative project funded by the EU to address issues related to quality, inclusiveness and benefits (individual, social, and economic) of ECEC in Europe.

Read the full article.

ISOTIS researcher Edward Melhuish in the UK Parliament

On March 20th, ISOTIS researcher Edward Melhuish (University of Oxford) participated in a meeting of the UK Parliament's Science and Technology Committee, on evidence-based early years intervention. He highlighted the importance of investing in early years, and addressed his review of the Sure Start programme. Edward Melhuish also presented ISOTIS.

Watch the footage of the meeting.

The ISOTIS team met to discuss project developments: VLE, promising educational practices and parent interviews

Between the 7th and 9th of March, the ISOTIS team met in the Utrecht University.

In the first day, the team discussed the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) proposed in the scope of the project. The team focused on how to develop its content in order to support multilingualism, enhance parent-school partnerships and promote inclusiveness in the classroom, taking into account its future use by parents, children and education professionals. In the next months, steps will be taken towards developing a user-centered platform.

In the same day, ISOTIS research Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa) led a meeting on the case studies of promising inclusive curricula and educational practices. The goal is to collect knowledge on key ingredients of effective approaches aiming to reduce educational inequalities through curriculum design and implementation, classroom practices, and/or school social climate, both in early childhood education and primary school. These case-studies will be conducted in England, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Italy. The studies will involve interviews with key staff and parents, and will capture children's perspectives, as well as analyses of documentation and published data, whenever available. During the meeting in Utrecht, the team discussed the interview guidelines and case study timeline.

On March 8, the team addressed the progress of the large structured interview study with parents who have a Turkish, Moroccan, Romani or lower-SES native background, and a 3-6 or 9-12-year-old child. We are asking parents about issues related to bringing up their children – their experiences with educational systems and support services, their hopes and wishes for their children, their resources and support needs. At this moment, the team has conducted almost 2000 interviews across Europe! During the meeting, the researchers shared challenges and good practices in each of the countries regarding the interviews, and gathered valuable input on the possible diversification of strategies to recruit families for the study.

The team will also conduct a smaller number of in-depth interviews with parents who participated in the large structured interview study, aiming to collect additional information on the experiences related to children’s education and upbringing. The first pilot interviews were already conducted, and the participating parents were very enthusiastic and happy to share their story! On March 9, the team analysed some of the information collected and exchanged some tips to further improve the interview procedures. The team-members were inspired by the richness of the data, and are excited about the new insights they will gain through these studies.  

New ISOTIS report on curriculum, pedagogy, and social climate interventions

ISOTIS has a new report: "Inventory and analysis of promising curriculum, pedagogy, and social climate interventions tackling inequalities" by Cecília Aguiar, Carla Sofia Silva, Rita Guerra, Ricardo Borges Rodrigues, Luísa Ribeiro, Giulia Pastori and the ISOTIS curriculum and pedagogy team.

“In this report, we identify, describe, and critically analyse promising interventions used in eight European countries to target social and educational inequalities through curriculum, pedagogy, and school social climate. Specifically, we conducted an inventory of promising interventions, within the classroom and school microsystems, aiming to promote educational equality and belongingness for immigrant, Roma, and low-income children attending early childhood and primary education provision in the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal.”

"Based on our findings, increased support for immigrant and minority students’ heritage language and culture, while promoting positive contact and interactions between majority and minority children, seems to be a first key step towards designing and implementing transformative interventions that positively impact belongingness, wellbeing, social cohesion, learning, and lifetime success."

Read the full abstract.