Author Archives: Catarina Leitão

Coordination between agencies in Europe and the UK to support children and families

Integrated working between services for families, in fields such as education, health, youth welfare, employment and criminal justice, has been tried in different European contexts. The goal has been to improve support for children and families, and to potentially reduce inequalities.

"Inter-agency working in Europe and the Uk to support vulnerable young children and families" is the title of a new article by ISOTIS researchers Jacqueline Barnes and Edward Melhuish (University of Oxford), published in the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

According to the authors, the inter-agency work has been promoted as a way to provide joined-up solutions for families who are likely to experience multifaceted problems, that are inadequately addressed by traditional separated services. For example, when services work separately, families may be involved in multiple assessments, with replicated explanations to many different professionals in different locations.

The authors highlight that agencies working in collaboration, with a shared vision, a common location, and (ideally) a common governance structure, can be responsive and efficient in supporting children and parents, and reducing inequalities.

Analysing Parent- and Family-Focused Support in Portugal

In Europe, different approaches are used to support families of young children and to promote the quality of their home learning environment.

In a new article, ISOTIS researchers Joana Cadima and Gil Nata (University of Porto) discuss the contextual factors, facilitators and underlying challenges of family support services in Portugal. "Parent- and family-focused support in Portugal: context and analysis of services/programmes from an equity perspective" is the title of this article, which is published in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.

This article begins by providing an up-to-date overview of relevant social context statistics, about poverty, use of services and early education and care programs. These statistics contribute to document country policies regarding parents and families.

Then, 11 research-supported and promising parent- and family-focused support programs currently implemented in Portugal are analyzed. The authors discuss key features and principles that have been empirically determined to address social and educational inequalities.

Click here to read the full article.

ICT as a resource for family support programmes

The integration and use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is seen as a promising approach for family support programmes.

Our team studied promising or successful programmes focused on family and parenting support, and found that, in some cases, ICT was used as a communication tool to overcome language challenges.

However, the team also found that it was an unused resource. It was still not seen as a success factor by all participants in the examined programmes, although implemented officially in the concept of two programmes.

Our team points to the potential benefits of strategic ICT use within the programmes. The implementation of ICT tools needs to be adapted to the needs of the providers and families and should be supported through the professional development of the staff.


Integrating information on service coordination with parents’ and professionals’ experiences

Colleagues from England, the Netherlands, Greece and Portugal met at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, to discuss next steps in the scope of the project.

Our team aims to develop a comprehensive overview, relating information on service coordination (in fields such as education, health, social work, and welfare) with experiences of parents and (para)professionals living in the same areas. The goal is write a report that can guide future European developments in coordination between services involving young children and their families.

This work will integrate findings from previous ISOTIS studies, such us:
- The interviews with heads of services, coordinators, and local government representatives on collaboration between services for children and families. Click here to read more

- The interviews with parents with a Romani, Turkish, North-African, and native low-income background on their views and experiences with educational and support services, and on experiences of integration and inclusiveness. Click here to read more

-The survey among professionals working in formal and informal (education) sectors on cultural and linguistic beliefs, practices and organizational policies, relations with parents and other stakeholders, and staff’s work environment. In this survey, a wide range of professionals were involved, including teachers, specialists, managers and social and family workers, working in a variety of settings, such as early childhood education and care, formal education, after-school care and the social work sector. Findings of this survey will be released soon.

Stay tuned!

How can professionals working in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts be supported?

In the current educational world, more and more professionals are faced with issues of inclusiveness and multilingualism – or the use of multiple languages – in their classroom or services.

ISOTIS developed an inventory of promising interventions aimed to support professionals working with the issues of inclusiveness and multilingualism.

Click here to read the full inventory

In the video below, ISOTIS researcher Pauline Slot (Utrecht University) tells us about the lessons learned from this inventory.

She also addresses the next steps in the scope of the project to support professionals working in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts.

Cultural diversity and inclusiveness. How to ensure that every child belongs?

Author: Pauline Slot, Utrecht University
Retrieved from

It is Monday morning. The children slowly arrive at the preschool in The Netherlands. Emin and Enes immediately dive into the house corner upon arrival. The girls always meet up and like to play together. They are completely absorbed in their pretend play and speak alternately Turkish and Dutch. They have a lot of fun together.

Cultural diversity

Every child wants to feel that they are seen and heard; that they belong. This applies to Dutch children and also, perhaps even more, to children from different cultural backgrounds or who speak a different language at home. How do you ensure that all children have the feeling that they belong in the group?

Looking at the example described above, what would be the best way to respond? Let the children keep on playing? Or show interest in their pretend play and their use of language (both Turkish and Dutch)? Maybe ask another, Dutch, child to play with Emin and Enes and see what happens? Or tell the children that speaking Dutch is mandatory? In order to answer this dilemma, we first have to find out why the children speak Turkish while playing.

From security to inclusiveness

People look for like-minded people and that also applies to children. Try to imagine being a Turkish child going to the preschool for the first time and only speak a few words of Dutch. Everything is new and exciting. You cannot completely comprehend what is happening. You look for support, familiarity and recognition and find this with a child who speaks the same language. Support, familiarity and recognition is essential for the well-being and sense of security of a child. Only when a child feels safe, he or she can develop and learn the Dutch language.

Four tips to promote inclusiveness:

    1. Acknowledge the home language of children as part of their identity. Be open and use other home languages when this is functional, for example to make a child feel safe, or to learn from each other, for example how to say “chicken, cow or sheep” in different languages. Also, explain that the majority language is the language of all of us.
    2. Talk to each other about differences and similarities between people. It can be about visible characteristics, such as hair or eye colour. Also, try to go a little further by talking about things that are not immediately visible, such as a hobby or something that a child likes to do. Do this with an open and gender-neutral attitude (avoid stereotyping based on gender or cultural background). This can improve and enhance empathy in children.
    3. Provide play or activities where children work together as a group and encourage children to help each other and work together. This way everyone can experience that they belong.
    4. Take a critical look at your materials and toys. Can all children from different backgrounds identify with this? Are there people from different backgrounds in the books you read? Are there multiple skin tones available for colouring or painting?

Mixed group

Many groups include children from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. To ensure that every child feels seen and heard, it is important not only to pay attention to the differences between children, but also to reflect on the similarities. It is important to give children the message that all (other) home languages ​​are important and contribute to who they are and where they come from. At the same time, Dutch is the language that connects all children in preschool. For this reason, it is also important that children speak Dutch with each other. Explain this to children and use the home language as support to learn from and with each other. Show interest in the different home languages ​​and use them while learning Dutch. For example, make a list of commonly used words in all different languages spoken by the children and display this on the wall at preschool (ask parents for help to make this list).

Diversity means acknowledging that there are differences between people. Inclusiveness means embracing those differences and ensuring that everyone belongs. As a pedagogical professional, be aware of this as and try to remember why children do what they do, so that you can support them even better.

I can always count on her. What migrant parents value in their relationships with the (pre)school.

Author: Melissa Be, Utrecht University
Retrieved from:


When I have something on my mind, I just walk to the teacher. Yes, I’ll ask for suggestions like ‘how do I need to do these things at home? Do you have suggestions?’ Yes, I can always count on her.” – Batoul, parent of Dahbi (4 years old).

Parental involvement

In the Netherlands, like in other countries, there is increasing attention for parent-(pre)school partnerships. Good collaboration and cooperation between parents and teachers are very important for the child’s development. It affects their school outcomes, work attitude, social-emotional functioning and their wellbeing.

Parental involvement is a difficult concept:
- Parental involvement is more than only active involvement of parents at the (pre)school, for example in assisting in (pre)school activities.
- It is also, maybe more importantly, about the contact and exchange of information with (pre)school teachers about the development and wellbeing of the child.
- Furthermore, it is about stimulating the child’s development at home. Parental involvement is a two-way street in which both parent and (pre)schools need to take responsibility.

How does your (pre)school encourage parental involvement? More information about the different types of parental involvement can be found in the article by Epstein [1].

Positive experiences of migrant parents

Yes, I can always count on her”, this is what Batoul likes about the relationship with her daughter’s teacher. Batoul is one of the participants of the parent-interview study of the ISOTIS project [2]. The main goal of the European ISOTIS project is to promote equality and inclusion in education and society. Besides Batoul, 41 other parents with a migrant-background participated in this study to share their experiences with the educational system in the Netherlands. This study looked more closely at what parents value in their contact with the (pre)school and the professionals working there. What do parents see as key ingredients that stimulate parental involvement?

4 key ingredients for enhancing parental involvement

Based on what the parents expressed in the interview study, we have some suggestions:

Invest in personal one-on-one contact with the parent. Parents appreciate that they can always talk and reach out to the teacher. One parent mentioned that she received suggestions about how she could deal with her child’s behavior. It is important to give parents the feeling that you are standing on the same side. So, respond to their questions seriously and acknowledge that raising a child is not always easy and that you can find a good solution together.

Show interest and take initiative in the communication with the parent. When parents bring or pick up their child are good opportunities to start an (informal) conversation. Express an interest in parents’ background and explore whether you have some shared interests.

Share positive experiences and express positive expectations about the child’s development. What went well today? Share these experiences and explain why these contribute to the development of the child. Parents appreciate being informed about the activities of the child at (pre)school, for example through photos or a group app. ‘then I can show the picture and my child responds with ‘I was too afraid to come close to the animals’. Then you have a conversation with your child about it, about school. Because if you ask your child ‘how was school?’ ‘Yes mom, good, it was nice’, then you’ll get a short answer. Parents like to hear when things are going well with their child, so do not only communicate with them when there are problems.

Create a meeting place within a (pre)school where parents can come together and meet each other. A good initiative in Rotterdam and Utrecht is the ‘parent room’. This is a place in the school where parents can drink coffee with each other and also learn about current educational projects in the school. Parents did mention the importance of a coordinator (‘parent broker’) who is able to enhance a safe environment and make sure that all parents are able to ask their questions.

What to do as a (pre)school?

To stimulate parental involvement, it is important to position yourself at an equal level as the parent and collaborate as a team to foster the child’s development at (pre)school and at home. Make sure your (pre)school is a ‘safe haven’, a meeting place for parents and teachers. Welcome different (cultural) backgrounds and start a conversation when you have the feeling that you and the parent are not on the same page. Collaborate and think of a solution in the best interest of the child. A principal can be very valuable here, because he/she can make sure that all professionals are aligned in their practices, for example in the communication with parents. Which norms and values are important? Which needs do parents have? And what is expected of parents? How do you create an open, safe and positive (pre)school environment? Talk with parents about these issues to create a good relationship that will support children’s prosperous development and wellbeing.

[1] Epstein – 6 types of parental involvement

[2] More about ISOTIS: ISOTIS

Today is #InternationalRomaDay!

Our team interviewed parents with a Romani background about their experiences with educational and support services, and experiences of integration and inclusiveness. These interviews were conducted in the Czech Republic, Greece and Portugal.

Click here to read the report on these interviews

Preliminary findings suggested that parents perceived a high level of social support, but also confirmed experiences of financial hardship. The results also indicated differences across countries, which might be related to specific country systems and regulations. More findings will be shared soon!

ISOTIS aims to give families a voice in how to adapt early education systems and support services. Join us!

Portugal: Novo vídeo sobre políticas de apoio à inclusão nas escolas / New video on policies to promote inclusiveness in schools.

O inventário do ISOTIS sobre intervenções promissoras focadas no currículo, pedagogias, e clima social destaca a importância do sentimento de pertencimento das crianças em salas de aula e escolas inclusivas.

Clique aqui para ler o sumário executivo do inventário.

No vídeo abaixo, a investigadora do ISOTIS Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa) fala-nos acerca de políticas que poderiam promover a inclusão e o sentimento de pertença dos alunos em Portugal.

The ISOTIS inventory of promising interventions on curriculum, pedagogy, and social climate highlights the importance of children's sense of belonging in inclusive classrooms and schools.

Click here to read the executive summary of the inventory

In the video below, ISOTIS researcher Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa) tells us about what policies could promote inclusiveness and students’ sense of belonging in Portugal.
- ENGLISH subtitles available -

New REPORT on collaboration between services for families

The collaboration between services for children and families, in fields such as education, health, social work, and welfare, is increasingly recognized as important to tackle social and educational inequalities.

To improve outreach and efficiency of social responses and services, it is important to identify facilitating factors, barriers, and impacts regarding the collaboration between services.

The ISOTIS team interviewed heads of services, coordinators, and local government representatives about these topics. The interviews were conducted in nine European countries: the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

The findings of these interviews are included in a new ISOTIS report. The executive summary is available here. The full report will be available soon.

According to the report, public, private, and non-profit entities are playing an increasingly important role in the implementation of measures to promote inclusiveness.

The government has a key role in supporting the collaboration between services, by coordinating, monitoring, and/or providing funding.

Support from the organizations was highlighted as important by the interviewees, namely to ensure the continuity of human resources, and appropriate professionals' time and task allocation.

Involving the professionals working in the field and the services' users was acknowledged as relevant to enhance the provision of relevant services that match the local needs.

Investing in professional development, defining agencies and professionals’ roles, and clarifying lines of communication between them were also mentioned key factors to ensure the commitment of all the stakeholders involved.

The evaluation of impacts and monitoring of collaboration between services were found as major priorities. The evaluation of children’s outcomes is particularly scarce. Developing evaluation and monitoring plans, and participatory diagnoses to promote changes can constitute a key contribute to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the collaboration between services.

This new report was edited by Joana Guerra, Catarina Leitão and Clara Barata (University of Coimbra).

Click here to read the executive summary 


New ISOTIS report on curriculum, classroom practices & social climate

Reciprocal family-school relationships, staff selection, training, and support, as well as a strong institutional equity culture are important conditions to promote inclusiveness and belongingness in early childhood education and primary school.

This is one of the central conclusions of the new ISOTIS REPORT on promising interventions tackling educational inequalities through curriculum, classroom practices, and/or school social climate. The interventions studied by our team were being conducted in: England, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal.

The report was edited by ISOTIS researchers Cecília Aguiar and Carla Silva (ISCTE-IUL).

Click here and read the full report

Video: Interviews mit Familien unterschiedlicher kultureller und sprachlicher Herkunft

Das ISOTIS-Team hat Interviews mit Familien unterschiedlicher kultureller und sprachlicher Herkunft durchgeführt, um das Wissen zu ihren Erfahrungen und Sichtweisen zu erweitern.

ISOTIS-Forscherin Katrin Wolf von der Freien Universität Berlin berichtet über diese Eltern und ihre Erfahrungen.

Warum ist es wichtig, mehr über diese Familien unterschiedlicher kultureller und sprachlicher Herkunft zu erfahren?

Was machen diese Familien, um ihre Kinder zu unterstützen?

Mit welchen Risiken und Belastungen werden die interviewten Eltern konfrontiert? Inwiefern kann das die Erziehung beeinflussen?

How diverse parents are supporting and engaging their children?

The ISOTIS team interviewed linguistically and culturally diverse parents about their views and experiences related to their children’s education.

In the video below, ISOTIS researcher Katrin Wolf (Free University of Berlin) and coordinator Paul Leseman (Utrecht University) tell us how these parents are supporting and engaging their children.

The researchers also highlight experiences shared by parents that need to be in the European public's attention. Watch the video below and tell us your views on the parents' experiences.

Interview with ISOTIS researchers / Interview over ISOTIS, meertaligheid en een carrière in de wetenschap

ISOTIS coordinator Paul Leseman and ISOTIS researcher Ryanne Francot (Utrecht University) gave an interview to the journal DUB, the independent news site of Utrecht University. They talked about ISOTIS, multilingualism and a career in science.

Regarding the use of multiple languages, Paul Lesemen referred that: “Research shows that multilingualism trains your brain, that it results in a higher cognitive flexibility, and possibly in greater creativity. And in our globalised world, we need people who speak multiple languages. It provides economic opportunities – they can work for companies that do business with China, Arabic countries, or Turkey…”.

To prevent children who grow up multilingual from falling behind in one of their languages, Ryanne Francot explained that: “It’s important that children come into contact with both languages in the right way, at a young age. Preferably, the mother tongue is encouraged at home, and pre-school teaches Dutch.” Paul Leseman added: “If children are proficient in their mother tongue, it helps them in learning a second language.”

Concerning the studies developed in the scope of ISOTIS, Paul Leseman highlighted: “We’re learning a lot, for instance, from a large-scale interview project, for which we talked to 4,000 parents from marginalised groups in ten European countries. Those parents have high ambitions for their children’s success at school, too, and they want to invest in their education. But poverty, discrimination, and segregation have strong negative influences.”

The researchers emphasized the importance of the relation between parents and professionals in (pre)schools, neighbourhood facilities and youth care. Ryanne Francot said: “If parents experience a positive connection with professionals, and they feel like these professionals are there to help their children, it mutes the negative effects of poverty, unsafe neighbourhoods, and perceived discrimination.”

Read the full interview here:



Dubbelinterview met Prof. Paul Leseman en Ryanne Francot over ISOTIS, meertaligheid en een carrière in de wetenschap. 

"Hoe maatschappelijke bevlogenheid wetenschappelijk vuur laat branden

Meertalige kinderen zijn een verrijking voor ons land, zeggen oude rot Paul Leseman en jonge hond Ryanne Francot. Zaak is wel dat de beheersing van de ene taal niet lijdt onder de beheersing van de andere taal. Hoe je dat in goede banen kan leiden, is één van de onderzoeksonderwerpen van het duo."

Digitaal Universiteitsblad DUB
Lees het hele interview hier:


How to promote diverse children’s sense of belongingness to schools?

The importance of children’s sense of belongingness in inclusive classrooms and schools is highlighted in the ISOTIS inventory on promising curriculum, pedagogy, and social climate interventions.

Click here to read the full inventory. 

Watch ISOTIS researcher Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-IUL) explaining how the sense of belongingness of linguistically and culturally diverse children can be promoted. She also addresses how policymakers can support school professionals to potentiate the inclusion of diverse children. Finally, find out which are the next steps in ISOTIS regarding inclusive curricula and educational practices.

ISOTIS report highlights the importance of trusting relationships in programmes focused on family and parenting support

ISOTIS releases a new report of promising or successful programmes focused on family and parenting support. Our team studied programmes implemented in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal. The goal was to shed light on how these programmes overcomed existing challenges, and ensured high outreach and process quality.

According to the report, one of the main success factors contributing to effective outreach was the establishment and use of trusting relationships.

In different programmes, it was highlighted that the practitioners working with families need to be trusted members of the community. The practitioner should be someone parents can identify. This may be fostered by shared backgrounds and experiences, or by deep knowledge about the families. The programmes met the families through trusted organisations and key-persons, who already had contact with parents at places where they spent their time.

Findings indicated that practitioners should meet the parents at eye level, and respect them as experts of their own children. Professionals' attitudes towards the families, such as respect, egalitarian view on parents, and empowerment, were acknowledged as relevant for effective outreach.

The programmes were made visible through communication channels seen and listened to by the families. These programmes were promoted in a non-stigmatizing way, and offered at pleasant schedules regarding times and places of classes or meetings.

However, the authors highlight that the partners involved in the programmes, communication channels used, and concrete activities offered need to be carefully adapted to the specific needs of the families in a given context. Successful or promising programmes seem to be characterized by the interplay of factors, which may be different depending on the societal context and change over time.

"Case studies of promising parent- and family-focused support programmes" is the title of this new ISOTIS report. It is authored by Franziska Cohen, Mareike Trauernicht (both from Freie Universität Berlin), Joana Cadima, Gil Nata (both from University of Porto), Katharina Ereky-Stevens (University of Oxford), Martine Broekhuizen, Ryanne Francot (both Utrecht University), and Yvonne Anders (Freie Universität Berlin).

Click here to read the executive summary

Click here to read the full report

New video on coordinating services for children and families

The coordination of services for children and families can promote equality and inclusiveness.

ISOTIS researcher Jacqueline Barnes (University of Oxford) explains how the coordination of services can make a difference in the lives of culturally and linguistically diverse children and families. The researcher also tells us about factors that can facilitate successful practices in this scope, and why it is still hard to implement them.

International Mother Language Day / Journée internationale de la langue maternelle

The International Mother Language Day is celebrated tomorrow, on February 21! The overall objective is to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education.

Globally, 40% of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand, according to information provided by UNESCO (read here).

ISOTIS aims to support culturally and linguistically diverse families and communities in using their own social, cultural and linguistic resources. Our team is developing a Virtual Learning Environment to support multilingualism, enhance the parent-school partnerships and promote inclusiveness in the classroom.


Journée internationale de la langue maternelle: 21 février

Selon l’UNESCO, environ 40 % des habitants du monde n’ont pas accès à l’instruction dans une langue qu’ils parlent ou comprennent. (

ISOTIS le fera en générant des recommandations pour aider les familles et les communautés culturellement et linguistiquement diverses à utiliser leurs propres ressources sociales, culturelles et linguistiques pour créer un environnement familial bénéfique et stimulant pour leurs enfants.

Norway: Scale-up of universal ECEC led to improved children’s language skills

Norway scaled up universal Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) from age 1.

The consequences of Norway universal ECEC scale-up for children’s early language skills were investigated by ISOTIS researcher Henrik Daae Zachrisson (University of Oslo) and colleagues.

The focus on early language skills was driven by evidence that differences in early language help explain a considerable portion of the differences in school achievement between children from lower and higher income backgrounds during elementary school. Additionally, early caregiving environments are critical to developing early language skills.

Results indicated the scale-up of universal ECEC led to improved language skills, particularly for children from low-income backgrounds.

According to the authors, the results from this study help to inform the debate about the merits of universal policies,  which are designed to serve all children, versus targeted policies, which exclusively serve children in vulnerable living situations. The results may also provoke discussion about the benefits of beginning ECEC programs as early as infancy.

The authors concluded that the study increased evidence that nations can implement publically subsidized and regulated ECEC programs for very young children at scale with a potential benefit of narrowing achievement gaps between children.

The study is described in the article "Estimating the consequences of Norway’s national scale-up of Early Childhood Education and Care (beginning in infancy) for early language skills", published in the journal AERA Open.

Click here to read the full article

New ISOTIS report: Interviews with parents

The interviews with parents conducted by our team are now documented in a new report, available here.

Parents with a Romani, Turkish, North-African, and native low-income background were asked about their views and experiences with educational and support services, and experiences of integration and inclusiveness. The interviews were conducted in ten European countries: the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal.

Regarding the life situations of families with a Romani background, preliminary findings confirmed experiences of financial hardship. On the other hand, findings suggested that parents perceive a high level of social support. The results also indicated differences across countries, which might be related to specific country systems and regulations.

The main authors of the report are: Martine Broekhuizen (Utrecht University), Katharina Ereky-Stevens (University of Oxford), Katrin Wolf (Free University of Berlin), Thomas Moser (University of South Eastern Norway).

Click here to read the executive summary

Click here to read the full report

New educational blog launched: the

The is a new educational blog. It aims to help early childhood education professionals innovate their pedagogical practices and promote the inclusion of all children. Teachers, educators, caregivers, policy makers, and researchers can find topics related to high–quality practices in education, diversity and multilingualism.

The blog is an initiative in the scope of Erasmus+ project BECERID, and it is coordinated by ODISEE (Belgium). ISOTIS researchers from Utrecht University (the Netherlands), ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (Portugal), and University of Warsaw (Poland) are part of the team of this project.

Click here and discover more about the reasons to follow the in a message by ISOTIS researcher Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-IUL).

Visit the blog:

Parents share their experiences about neighborhood safety

Our team interviewed parents and asked them about the experience of raising their children in the neighborhood where they live. ISOTIS researchers Charlotte Meijers and Martine Broekhuizen (Utrecht University) tell us about the experiences shared by parents with a Turkish or Moroccan background living in the Netherlands, in Utrecht or Rotterdam, in this new blog post (in Dutch).

According to the researchers, many parents perceive their neighborhood as unsafe. They do not let their children play outside alone, despite they recognize the importance of children playing outside with friends, and doing exercise. Parents feel unsafe in the neighborhood due to, for instance, drug dealers, crime, traffic, and dangerous substances or objects, such as needles, on the street and playgrounds.

Parents would like to see more control by the police. For them, a safe playground would be well-organized, well-sealed, and illuminated in the evening. Parents also value activities and sports facilities for children in the neighborhood. Other initiatives mentioned that contribute to a safer neighborhood include:

- The arrival of youth workers and teams that, for instance, offer free accessible basic care to families and young people. Several parents say that they have built up a relationship of trust with a team member, and they can ask this person for help.

- Informative meetings about the neighborhood, that may include sharing knowledge about dangers for children. A valued initiative mentioned concerns a project conducted in a number of neighborhoods in Rotterdam, where police, in collaboration with staff from area, youth workers and schools, give parents information about issues that children of the neighborhood may encounter, such as street culture and (youth) crime. Check this project here.

- Initiatives to improve the atmosphere of the neighborhood. For instance, a group of mothers decided to clean it up regularly. Other initiatives include organizing a 'plant day', during which residents put plants and flowers in different places, or making and painting benches, with the involvement of the children. These activities can help residents to get to know and help each other.

- Initiatives to get to know people in the neighborhood, such as street festivals or an annual activity organized with neighbors. By knowing who lives in the neighborhood, mutual trust can be strengthened and personal contact can be created more quickly. This contributes to feelings of safety and familiarity in the neighborhood.

The researchers highlight that taking into account these practices and initiatives is therefore important to improve the safety of the neighborhoods for children and families. Parents themselves have the motivation to contribute to the safety of the environment where they live.

Read the full blog post in Dutch:

New ISOTIS report: Roots and development of achievement gaps

The early years of life, before entering school, are formative for patterns of inequality in educational achievement between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and between children with and without a migration background. Therefore, providing support before school age to children from families with less economical and educational resources, and to children who or their parents were born in a different country has the potential of reducing future achievement gaps.

This is one of the central recommendations of the new ISOTIS report Roots and developmenof achievement gaps - A Longitudinal assessment in selected European countries, based on results from Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Italy. The report analyses the evolution of achievement gaps in children from infancy and preschool age up to end of compulsory schooling. It was edited by Giampiero Passaretta and Jan Skopek (Trinity College Dublin), and co-authored by colleagues from the University of Utrecht, University of Oslo and University of Milano-Bicocca.

The authors found that children from high-income families and from parents with a high level of education perform better than children from less affluent families and whose parents have less educational resources. Importantly, these socio-economically determined gaps are already visible in the very early years of life, tend to increase steadily over infancy, and are well established even before children enter primary school. After transition to school, socio-economically determined gaps in achievement remain quite stable, and increase only slightly throughout years of primary and secondary education. Considerable similarities in the evolution of socio-economically determined achievement gaps were found across countries. The authors conclude that preschool-age interventions that facilitate a more equalized start into school life hold the promise of reducing a large part of socio-economically determined achievement gaps in later school career.

Children with a migration background enter school with a substantial disadvantage, but enjoy over-proportional achievement gains in school in general. Yet these findings vary between countries and target groups. In some countries, initial disadvantages of children with a migrant background vanish almost entirely after school entry. When starting into school at the same achievement level, many children with migrant background are outperforming children of native families. Thus, the authors conclude that reducing migration-related inequality in preschool age could have the potential to eradicate children's penalties in school-age, and contribute to high educational achievement.

That authors highlight that preschool- and school-age interventions may include policies expanding Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services or improving the quality of ECEC services or schools, and also policies targeting the families' home or neighbourhood, through appropriate financial and social support.

Read the full report here:

New ISOTIS study: Parental involvement in reading activities in diverse families

Reading activities involving both children and parents can have a positive effect on young children’s literacy development and achievement. However, few studies focusing on reading activities in culturally diverse families are known.

In a recent study conducted in the scope of ISOTIS, in Portugal, Roma families and non-Roma families experiencing financial hardship, with 3 to 6 year-old children, were interviewed about the frequency of reading activities involving adults and children at their home.

Findings indicated that the frequency of adult-child reading activities at home can be potentiated by reinforcing Roma families’ educational aspirations for their children, and by creating opportunities for positive social interactions between parents in the preschool setting, particularly for families experiencing financial hardship.

This study was carried out by ISOTIS researchers Inês Ferreira, Carla Silva, Leonor Neves (all from ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa), Sofia Guichard (University of Porto), and Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa). It was presented at the EDULOG 2018 international conference.

See the poster presented here

Veilig opgroeien in de wijk

door Charlotte Meijers en Martine Broekhuizen

“Ik zou zo graag willen dat onze buurt veilig wordt, zodat ik niet meer bang ben om mijn kinderen alleen buiten te laten spelen. Ik hoop hier echt op, begrijp je?” - Nadia, moeder van Samy (5), Farah (13) en Abdel (15)*

Onveilige wijk
Dit is wat Nadia verlangt voor haar kinderen. Nadia is één van de 42 ouders met een Turkse of Marokkaanse migratieachtergrond die hebben deelgenomen aan de interviewstudie van het ISOTIS-project in Nederland. Zij hebben in een diepte-interview onder andere verteld over hoe zij het opvoeden en opgroeien van hun kinderen in hun wijk (in Utrecht of Rotterdam) ervaren. De wens van Nadia voor een veiligere buurt wordt gedeeld door veel andere geïnterviewde ouders. Veel ouders ervaren dat hun buurt onveilig is. Ze durven hun kinderen niet of nauwelijks buiten te laten spelen op straat of in de speeltuin. Zoals een ouder aangeeft: “Ik ben bang om mijn kind alleen buiten te laten spelen. Ik moet absoluut altijd met hem mee.”, en een andere ouder: ''Ik heb nooit.. […] heb weinig mijn kinderen buiten gelaten. […] Ik zorg ervoor dat mijn kinderen altijd bezigheid hebben.” Tegelijkertijd vinden ouders het juist erg belangrijk om hun kind buiten te laten spelen met vriendjes, in plaats van dat zij thuis achter de computer zitten of met een smartphone bezig zijn. Ze weten dat buiten bewegen gezond is en dat het samen spelen goed is voor de sociale ontwikkeling.

Ouders voelen zich onveilig in de wijk door bijvoorbeeld hangjongeren, drugsdealers en criminaliteit op sommige plaatsen. “Je ziet alleen slechte voorbeelden op straat.” Verder is het op sommige plekken erg druk en gevaarlijk door jongeren die hard door de straten rijden. Ook vertellen een aantal ouders dat zij op school informatie krijgen over de aanwezigheid van kinderlokkers in hun buurt. Daarnaast zijn sommige wijken vervuild met sporen van lachgas en injectienaalden op straat én speelplaatsen.

Factoren voor verbetering
Veel ouders ervaren hun wijk dus als een onveilig plek voor hun kinderen, waardoor zij niet vrij kunnen spelen met vriendjes en sneller in aanraking komen met ’verkeerde’ voorbeeldfiguren. Ouders geven aan dat zij graag meer controle zien door wijkagenten en politie. Daarnaast worden speelplekken erg belangrijk gevonden, zoals speeltuinen en sportvelden. Er werd meermaals genoemd dat ouders zo’n plek misten voor hun vaak nog jonge kinderen. Ook gaven ouders aan welke kenmerken zij waarderen aan een veilige speelplek: deze moet overzichtelijk zijn, goed kunnen worden afgesloten, en in de avond kunnen worden verlicht. Ook georganiseerde activiteiten en sportgelegenheden voor kinderen in de buurt worden door ouders erg gewaardeerd.

Naast de verbeterpunten, zijn er volgens ouders ook een aantal mooie initiatieven die bijdragen aan een veiligere wijk:

- De komst van buurtteams en jongerenwerkers. Sommige ouders geven aan dat er veel positief is veranderd in hun wijk door verschillende instanties die daar actief zijn. Onder andere buurtteams, die vrij toegankelijke basiszorg bieden voor gezinnen en jeugdigen, worden erg gewaardeerd. Meerdere ouders vertellen dat ze een vertrouwensband hebben opgebouwd met een buurtteammedewerker en vinden het fijn om deze persoon om hulp te kunnen vragen. “Bijvoorbeeld als je bang bent dat je kind het verkeerde pad opgaat.” Daarnaast werd er gesproken over het positieve effect van jongerenwerkers in de wijk.

- Informatiebijeenkomsten over de wijk. Ook het verspreiden van kennis over gevaren voor kinderen in de wijk, en hoe daarmee om te gaan, lijkt te werken. Een gewaardeerd initiatief dat wordt genoemd is ‘onwijze moeders’. Dit is een project in enkele wijken in Rotterdam waar politie in samenwerking met gebiedsmedewerkers, jongerenwerkers en scholen, moeders voorlichting geven over thema’s waar kinderen in de wijk mee te maken kunnen krijgen, zoals straatcultuur en (jeugd)criminaliteit [1].

- Bewonersinitiatieven. Daarnaast worden er initiatieven genoemd die door bewoners uit de wijk, waaronder enkele geïnterviewde ouders, worden geïnitieerd: “Maar na al die jaren […] omdat wij moeders heel veel dingen hier in de wijk doen is het echt veranderd. Het is veiliger geworden.”
De volgende mooie initiatieven worden genoemd:

-- Initiatieven voor een mooiere en schonere wijk: Er worden verschillende praktijken genoemd om de buurt op te knappen. Een mooi voorbeeld is dat een groep moeders had besloten om regelmatig samen de wijk op te ruimen en vervolgens zagen dat er daardoor ook minder vuil terugkwam. Daarnaast kan de wijk mooier worden gemaakt door leuke dingen toe te voegen. Bijvoorbeeld door het organiseren van een ‘plantdag’, waarbij bewoners van de straat samen op verschillende plekken planten en bloemen zetten, of door het maken en beschilderen van bankjes door kinderen uit de wijk. De wijk wordt er mooier door, voelt meer van de bewoners zelf, en vormt tevens een plek voor verdere ontmoetingen. Daarnaast zorgen de genoemde activiteiten ervoor dat buurtbewoners elkaar leren kennen. De ervaring is dat zij elkaar daardoor ook eerder helpen en meer op elkaar gaan letten.

-- Initiatieven om mensen in de wijk te leren kennen: Voorbeelden van gewaardeerde initiatieven om buurtbewoners te ontmoeten zijn straat- en pleinfeesten of een jaarlijkse borrel met de buren uit de straat. Door te weten wie er in de buurt wonen,
wordt het onderling vertrouwen versterkt en ontstaat er sneller meer persoonlijk contact. Niet alleen op persoonlijk vlak wordt dit gewaardeerd, het draagt ook bij aan het creëren van een vertrouwd en veilig gevoel in de wijk.

Meer aandacht
Aandacht voor deze voorzieningen en initiatieven is dus belangrijk om de veiligheid in de wijk te verbeteren voor kinderen en ouders. Door bovengenoemde praktijken en initiatieven te faciliteren, kunnen we ervoor zorgen dat ouders minder angsten hebben en hun kinderen veiliger kunnen opgroeien. Ouders blijken zelf de motivatie en kracht te hebben om bij te dragen aan de veiligheid van hun eigen omgeving, en dat is natuurlijk te mooi om niet te benutten!

* De gebruikte namen zijn om privacyredenen gefingeerd.


Making family outreach a priority to tackle social inequalities in Europe

Authors: Sofia Guichard, Gil Nata, & Joana Cadima, University of Porto

Ensuring outreach and making it a priority is one of the central recommendations of the recent inventory of proven or potentially effective approaches to family and parenting support in tackling social inequalities, developed by members of the ISOTIS teams from Czech Republic, England, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal.

The inventory defines parenting support as all services aimed at improving how parents approach and fulfil their role as parents. Parenting support also includes services that are designed to increase resources and competencies that parents employ in child rearing, including information, knowledge, skills and social support. Therefore, parenting support measures can include both direct support to parents and families, but also wider policies such as parental leaves, health care services or Early Childhood Education and Care measures. Parenting support services developed for and with children and families with a migrant background (or non-native speakers), Roma/ethnic minority background, or who were in a situation of final hardship or general social risk were selected for the inventory.

The inventory suggest that although it is visible in the 7 participating countries that family and parenting support includes a broad range of services across several sectors (such as education, social/welfare, and health), there are important differences in how services are implemented across countries. In four countries, parenting support is part of a clear strategic framework that integrates a broad range of early intervention and prevention universal services for families. This is the case for England, Germany, Netherlands, and Norway. In the three other countries - Czech Republic and Portugal, and up to a certain extent in Poland, particularly for children under 3 -, the main approach taken in parenting support is focused on the most vulnerable families, through targeted specialist support. The aim in these targeted programs is to address the most basic needs first with a focus on child protection and families in adverse social circumstances. Countries also show differing priorities and approaches to parental leaves and ECEC services for children under three.

In addition to a broad investment in outreach, other recommendations to existing challenges include:
• Be adapted to the country needs and existing services;
• Be designed and adapted to the target-group characteristics and degree of disaffection and distrust in the country’s institutions;
• Address parents’ specific needs while maintaining high-quality standards;
• Be continuously monitored and evaluated against its aims;
• Target the needs of multicultural groups, fostering multicultural beliefs;
• Address and promote the first languages of migrants;
• Take advantage of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools to build communities of trust, overcome challenges, foster outreach and integrate first language of migrants.

Read the full inventory:

How to promote diverse children’s feeling of belonging in the preschool?

In the preschool, many groups have children from different cultural backgrounds or who speak a different language at home. To ensure that all children feel seen and heard, and that they belong to the group, ISOTIS researcher Pauline Slot (Utrecht University) presents recommendations on the Early Years Blog.

Pauline Slot highlights that it is important not only to pay attention to differences between children, but also to similarities. She recommends giving children the message that all (other) home languages ​​are important and part of who they are and come from. At the same time, it is also important that children speak the country language to each other, since it is the language that connects all.

Home language can be used to support children to learn from each other and with each other. It is important to show interest in the different home languages ​​and to use them in learning the country language. For example, the teacher/educator can hang up a glossary of common words in all different languages ​​spoken by the children.

To promote inclusion in the preschool, Pauline Slot shares the following recommendations:

-  Recognize the home language of children as part of their identity. Use other home languages to make children learn from each other. For instance, they can learn in different languages ​​how to say "chicken, cow or sheep". In addition, explain that the country language is the language that connects all.

- Talk about differences and similarities between people. This can be about external characteristics, such as the color of hair or eyes. But, try to go a little further by talking about things that are not immediately visible, such as a hobby or something that a child likes to do. Do this from an open and gender neutral attitude (avoid stereotyping based on sex or cultural background). This can promote the empathy of children.

- Offer group activities and encourage children to work together, and help each other. This way everyone can feel that he or she belongs.

- Take a critical look at the material available. Can all children from different backgrounds identify with it? Do people from different backgrounds appear in the books you read? Are there multiple skin color tones for painting?

Read the full blog post in Dutch:


ISOTIS discussed promising parenting support programmes at the ESFR congress

ISOTIS researchers addressing promising parenting support programmes presented their studies at the 9th European Society on Family Relations (ESFR) congress.

The team highlighted that despite many European countries have set up approaches to support families of young children, to promote the quality of the home learning environment and to strengthen preschool-parent partnership, understanding the key features underlying successful interventions is still needed.

An overview of the available parenting and family services in the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal was presented. ISOTIS researchers Joana Cadima, Gil Nata (both from University of Porto), and Yvonne Anders (Freie Universität Berlin) informed that:

"Although in all countries family support encompasses a broad range of services that cross several sectors, the participating countries vary considerably in terms of priorities and approaches to parenting support. While in all countries, some kind of parenting support is provided, in some of the countries, parenting support is part of a clear strategic framework that integrates a broad range of early intervention and prevention services for families, with a trend towards more holistic approaches to young people and their parents and an emphasis on greater state engagement with parents. Nevertheless, across countries, several challenges remain, in particular in regard to outreach, home language support and equal access to high quality provision." (ESFR 2018 - Book of Abstracts, page 15)

The team detailed studies on promising programmes in the Netherlands, Portugal, England and Germany.

The Step programme, in the Netherlands, was presented by ISOTIS researchers Ryanne Francot, Martine Broekhuizen, and Paul Leseman (Utrecht University). The programme offers support to families with low-income and/or with an immigrant background, with children aged 1 to 6 years. Its goal is to increase the educational chances of the children by stimulating the home learning environment and by supporting the partnership with preschools or schools. Valued aspects of the programme are its outreach strategy, which includes the use of local contact persons speaking the mother tongue of the families, and their use of ICT-based resources for supporting the families.

Family Skills was the programme from the English context presented by ISOTIS researchers Katharina Ereky-Stevens and Ester Saghy (University of Oxford). It is a national family and literacy programme targeted at migrant families - specifically parents/carers of reception aged children with English as an additional language. The programme addresses with families the benefits of bilingualism, the importance of home literacy and the value of using parents’ first language to facilitate child language learning. The goal is to increase the support children receive at home.

The (Class)rooms of glass from both sides was the Portuguese programme addressed by ISOTIS researchers Sofia Guichard, Joana Cadima, and Gil Nata (University of Porto). It is a local programme targeting Roma parents experiencing financial hardship. It aims to engage Roma children in preschool and to support their families, by carrying out playful learning activities on the streets of the neighbourhoods, where anyone from the community can watch and participate. The programme is known for its outreach strategies, using transparency (rooms of glass) and openness as means to gain parents’ trust, and to build strong family-school partnerships. A multidisciplinary team, in collaboration with local partners, carries out the activities on a weekly basis.

Chancenreich, in Germany, was the programme presented by ISOTIS researchers Mareike Trauernicht, Franziska Cohen, and Yvonne Anders (Freie Universität Berlin). It is a regional programme that aims to enhance parenting skills and child outcomes by offering a variety of approaches to the parents of children of up to 3 years of age. It uses a modular approach and although it seeks to reach out especially to parents in more vulnerable situations, it is open to all parents of newborns in the town. It offers a monetary incentive to all families who participate in at least five mandatory modules (e.g. the completion of one parenting training course).

Read the abstracts of the presentations here

The congress theme was: “Families through the lens of diversity”. It took place at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto, on September 5-8th. Visit the congress page here 


PhD Days 2018 – Working together for a phd

On the 10th and 11th of September, ISOTIS partner institution University of South-Eastern Norway held the event "PhD Days 2018 - Working together for a phd", in collaboration with Oslo Metropolitan University.

The purpose of the PhD Days was to bring together PhD students to learn about and discuss key challenges in educational research. The PhD Days included thematic sessions to discuss research design, methodology, as well as sessions on academic writing (articles) and publishing.

ISOTIS researchers were invited to give keynote lectures and to participate in workshops.

Thomas Moser (University of South-Eastern Norway) welcomed the participants and presented the lecture "Doctoral education in a European and a national perspective".

Paul Leseman (Utrecht University) gave the lecture "Inclusive education in a multicultural Europe". He also conducted the workshop "Education and quality in ECEC in a multicultural Europe". Both of these sessions were chaired by ISOTIS researcher Helga Norheim (University of South-Eastern Norway).

Katerina Sidiropulu Janku (Masaryk University) presented the lecture "Roma ancestry as an education handicap in the post-socialist Europa". She also conducted the workshop "Qualitative data analysis - biographical data in education research".

Find the programme here.

How to promote the cooperation between (pre-)school and parents?

ISOTIS researcher Melissa Be (Utrecht University) addresses the interviews with parents conducted by our team in the Early Years Blog.

Melissa Be highlights that in the Netherlands, and many other countries, there is increasing attention regarding the cooperation between (pre-) school and parents, since it influences school performance, work attitude, social-emotional functioning and the well-being of a child.

Based on the interviews with parents conducted in the scope of ISOTIS, Melissa Be presents recommendations for promoting cooperation between (pre-) school and parents, namely:

- Investing in one-to-one contact with the parents.
- Showing interest and taking initiative in communication with the parent.
- Sharing positive experiences and expressing positive expectations about the child (and the parent).
- Creating a meeting place within the school in which parents can come into contact with each other.

Find the full blog post in Dutch:

G20 reinforces the importance of Early Childhood Development

At the G20 summit in Argentina, the participating worlds’ leading economies agreed to prioritising Early Childhood Development.

The G20 Leaders' Declaration states:

"We launch the G20 Initiative for Early Childhood Development and stand ready to join all stakeholders in enhancing quality and sustainably financed early childhood programs that consider the multidimensional approach of ECD as means of building human capital to break the cycle of intergenerational and structural poverty, and of reducing inequalities, specially where young children are most vulnerable."

As highlighted in the document Investing in Early Childhood Development, co-authored by the World Bank Group, the Inter-American Development Bank, and UNICEF for the G20 Development Working Group (DWG):

"Early childhood is a critical time for individual growth. This short period is unique because of the unparalleled speed at which brain architecture develops. The experiences in the first few years of life have serious, long-lasting consequences for every child’s future health, learning, and earnings potential, thus laying the foundation not only for human capital development but, indirectly, for societies and their sustainable development."



2/3 children in Europe feel positive about migrants – says UNICEF-Eurochild survey “Europe Kids Want”

The ´Europe Kids Want´ online survey was launched in June this year by UNICEF and Eurochild. Nearly 14,000 children and young people from 23 countries participated giving responses to topics such as: school safety, climate change, family environment and online behavior. The first findings were released on November 20, the World Children’s Day.

According to the findings, the majority of children and young people were curious and welcoming towards people from a different country, with a different language, culture or religion living in their area. Among the participants, 68% reported they felt welcoming and curious to get to know people from a different country.

Tolerance and being treated equally featured prominently amongst the expectations of children when dealing with the online environment or in response to how people from other countries or backgrounds should be treated.

When asked if they had to go and live in a new place, making new friends and speaking the local language were the two most important issues for children and young people to feel at home. Making new friends was replied by around 63% of the participants, and being able to speak the language by around 58% of the participants.

Read the first assessment of the responses of 14,000 children to the Europe Kids Want survey

Go to the Europe Kids Want survey - The poll remains open and is available in 29 languages.

Sharing ISOTIS preliminary findings with Turkish mothers in the Netherlands / Hollanda’da anneler ile ISOTIS bulgularını paylaşma

The ISOTIS team interviewed parents of children with a Turkish, North-African, Romani and Native-born low-SES background about their views and experiences with educational systems and support services, and their experiences of integration and inclusiveness.  These interviews occurred in ten European countries: the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal.

Following the interviews, the participating Turkish mothers from the Netherlands asked our team to develop a seminar about the themes covered by ISOTIS. On November 17, ISOTIS researcher Ayça Alayli (Utrecht University) conducted a seminar in the city of Amsterdam, addressing children’s social and cognitive development, raising children in multilingual and multicultural environments, and device and screen use.

She also presented preliminary ISOTIS findings from the interviews with parents. Namely, there seems to be a discrepancy between the reality of everyday life at the local level and the reality of public media discourse.

The interviewed parents 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.

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.

ISOTIS ekibi Türkiye, Kuzey Afrika ve Romani kökenli ve düşük sosyo-ekonomik statüden gelen yerli çocukların aileleri ile onların eğitim sistemleri ve destek servisleri hakkındaki görüşleri, ve bu ailelerin entegrasyon ve kapsayıcılık sürecindeki tecrübeleri hakkında görüşmeler gerçekleştirdi. Bu görüşmeler on farklı Avrupa ülkesinde yapıldı: Çek Cumhuriyeti, İngiltere, Fransa, Almanya, Yunanistan, İtalya, Hollanda, Norveç, Polonya ve Portekiz.

Görüşme sürecinin bitmesinin ardından, Hollanda’da yaşayan Türk katılımcı annelerin talebi üzerine, Hollanda ekibi tarafından ISOTIS projesinin ekseninde olan konuları ele alan bir seminer geliştirildi. Bu seminer 17 Kasım tarihinde Amsterdam şehrinde Ayça Alaylı (Utrecht Üniversitesi) tarafından verildi. Seminerin ana konuları sosyal ve bilişsel gelişim, iki dilli ve kültürlü ortamlarda çocuk yetiştirme, teknolojik cihaz ve ekran kullanımı üzerineydi.

Bu seminerde Ayça Alaylı ayrıca ISOTIS projesinin öncül bulgularını da aileler ile paylaştı. Bu öncül bulguları özetleyecek olursak: Yerel seviyede gündelik yaşam ile genel medya söylemleri arasıda farklar var gibi gözüküyor.

Aileler ortalama olarak diğer anne babalar ve komşular tarafından düşük seviyelerde ayrımcılık algıladıklarını, makul derecede gruplar arası etkileşim olduğunu ve eğitim ve sağlık kurumlarındaki personeller ile olumlu ilişkiler kurduklarını belirtiyorlar.

Ancak, medya söylemi olarak toplum seviyesinde algılanan ayrımcılık yüksek oranlarda belirtiliyor. Bu durum da ailelerin refahını ve bulundukları ülkeye karşı duydukları aidiyet hissini olumsuz etkiliyor.

Yerel seviyede profesyoneller ile kurulan olumlu ilişkiler medya söylemi olarak algılanan ayrımcılığın olumsuz etkilerine karşı koruyucu bir faktör olabiliyor.


Ayça Alaylı 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.

Diversiteit en inclusie. Hoe zorg je ervoor dat ieder kind erbij hoort?

door Pauline Slot
Bron: Early Years Blog -

Het is maandagochtend. De kinderen druppelen langzaam de voorschool binnen. Emin en Enes duiken bij binnenkomst meteen de poppenhoek in. De meisjes zoeken elkaar altijd op en spelen graag samen.  Ze gaan dan helemaal op in hun fantasiespel en spreken daarbij wisselend Turks en Nederlands. Ze maken veel plezier samen.


Ieder kind wil zich gezien en gehoord voelen – erbij horen. Dit geldt voor Nederlandse kinderen en ook, misschien nog wel meer, voor kinderen van verschillende culturele achtergronden of die thuis een andere taal spreken. Hoe zorg je ervoor dat álle kinderen het gevoel hebben dat zij erbij horen in de groep?

Als je kijkt naar het bovengenoemde voorbeeld, hoe zou je dan het beste kunnen reageren? De kinderen lekker laten spelen? Of interesse tonen in hun spel en in hun taalgebruik (zowel Turks als Nederlands)? Een ander, Nederlands, kindje vragen om mee te spelen en kijken wat er gebeurt? Of tegen de kinderen zeggen dat er Nederlands gesproken moet worden? Om daar een antwoord op te kunnen geven moeten we eerst nagaan waarom de kinderen Turks spreken in hun spel.

Van veiligheid naar inclusie

Mensen zoeken gelijkgestemden op en dat geldt ook voor kinderen. Probeer je eens voor te stellen dat je als Turks kind voor het eerst naar de voorschool gaat en amper een paar woorden Nederlands spreekt. Alles is nieuw en spannend. Je kunt niet goed volgen wat er allemaal gebeurt. Je zoekt steun en herkenning en vindt dit bij een kindje die dezelfde taal spreekt. Steun en herkenning is essentieel voor het welbevinden en gevoel van veiligheid van een kind. Pas als een kind zich veilig voelt, kan het zich verder ontwikkelen en bijvoorbeeld ook de Nederlandse taal leren.

Vier tips om inclusie te bevorderen:

  1. Erken de thuistaal van kinderen als onderdeel van hun identiteit. Sta open en maak gebruik van andere thuistalen als dit functioneel is, bijvoorbeeld om een kind zich veilig te laten voelen, of om van elkaar te leren, zoals in verschillende talen leren hoe je “kip, koe of schaap” zegt. Leg daarnaast uit dat Nederlands de taal van ons allemaal is.
  2. Praat met elkaar over verschillen en overeenkomsten tussen mensen. Dit kan gaan over uiterlijke kenmerken, zoals haarkleur of kleur ogen. Maar probeer iets verder te gaan door het vooral te hebben over dingen die niet direct zichtbaar zijn, zoals een hobby of iets dat een kind graag doet. Doe dit vanuit een open en gender neutrale houding (vermijd stereotypering op basis van geslacht of culturele achtergrond). Hierdoor kan het inlevingsvermogen en de empathie van kinderen bevorderd worden.
  3. Biedt activiteiten of spel aan waarin kinderen samen als groep bezig zijn en moedig kinderen aan om elkaar te helpen en samen te werken. Zo kan iedereen ervaren dat hij/zij erbij hoort.
  4. Bekijk je (spel)materiaal eens kritisch. Kunnen alle kinderen van verschillende achtergronden zich hiermee identificeren? Komen er mensen van verschillende achtergronden voor in de boeken die je leest? Zijn er meerdere huidskleurtinten voor het kleuren of verven?

Gemengde groep

In veel groepen zitten kinderen van verschillende culturele en talige achtergronden. Om ervoor te zorgen dat ieder kind zich gezien en gehoord voelt, is het belangrijk om niet alleen aandacht te besteden aan de verschillen tussen kinderen, maar ook stil te staan bij de overeenkomsten. Het is belangrijk om kinderen de boodschap te geven dat alle (andere) thuistalen belangrijk zijn en bijdragen aan wie ze zijn en waar ze vandaan komen. Tegelijkertijd is het Nederlands de taal die alle kinderen in de voorschool met elkaar verbindt. Om die reden is het ook belangrijk dat kinderen Nederlands met elkaar spreken. Leg dit uit aan kinderen en gebruik de thuistaal als ondersteuning om van elkaar en met elkaar te leren. Toon interesse in de verschillende thuistalen en gebruik ze in het leren van Nederlands. Hang bijvoorbeeld een woordenlijst op van veel voorkomende woorden in de voorschool in alle verschillende talen die gesproken worden door de kinderen (vraag ouders om hulp om deze lijst te maken).

Diversiteit betekent het erkennen dat er verschillen zijn tussen mensen. Inclusiebetekent het omarmen van die verschillen en zorgen dat iedereen erbij hoort. Wees je hiervan bewust als pedagogisch professional en probeer vooral te bedenken waarom kinderen doen wat ze doen, zodat je ze nog beter kunt ondersteunen.

‘Ik kan altijd terecht…’

door Melissa Be
Bron: Early Years Blog -

Als ik met dingen zit, loop ik gewoon naar de juf. Ja, tipjes vragen van ‘Hoe moet ik het thuis aanpakken? Kun je meer uitleggen?’. Ja echt, ik kan altijd terecht.. - Batoul, ouder van Dahbi (4 jaar).

Interview studie ouders

Dit is wat Batoul fijn vindt aan het contact met de leerkracht. Batoul is één van de deelnemers van de ouder-interviewstudie van het ISOTIS project [1]. ISOTIS richt zich op het creëren van gelijke kansen in het onderwijs en in de samenleving. Het afgelopen jaar hebben naast Batoul nog 41 andere ouders met een migranten-achtergrond deelgenomen aan de studie om hun ervaringen te delen over het Nederlandse onderwijssysteem. Er is onder andere gekeken naar waaraan ouders in hun contact met de (voor)school waarde hechten. ‘Wat werkt’ volgens hén voor het stimuleren van ouderbetrokkenheid? Voordat we deze vraag kunnen beantwoorden, is het belangrijk om stil te staan bij wat ouderbetrokkenheid is.


In Nederland, en veel andere landen, is er steeds meer aandacht voor de samenwerking tussen (voor)school en ouders. Een goede samenwerking (en een op elkaar afgestemde begeleiding) is erg belangrijk voor de ontwikkeling van het kind. Het heeft invloed op de schoolprestaties, werkhouding, het sociaal-emotioneel functioneren én het welbevinden van een kind. Maar wanneer is er sprake van een goede samenwerking en ouderbetrokkenheid? Ouderbetrokkenheid is een lastig begrip, omdat het uit verschillende onderdelen bestaat. Bij ouderbetrokkenheid gaat het niet alleen om de betrokkenheid van ouders op de (voor)school, bijvoorbeeld als voorleesouder of begeleider bij een klassenuitje. Het gaat ook, misschien nog wel meer, om het contact en de uitwisseling met school over de ontwikkeling en het welzijn van het kind. Tevens gaat het om het stimuleren van de ontwikkeling van kinderen in de thuisomgeving. Het is belangrijk dat er niet alleen wordt gekeken naar wat de ouders kunnen doen, maar ook naar waar de (voor)school ouderbetrokkenheid kan stimuleren. Op welke manier wordt er in jullie (voor)school aandacht gegeven aan ouderbetrokkenheid? Meer informatie over de verschillende vormen van ouderbetrokkenheid kun je lezen in het artikel van Epstein [2].

Ervaringen van ouders

De interview studie met ouders laat zien wat zij belangrijk vinden in het contact met de (voor)school.

4 tips voor het stimuleren van ouderbetrokkenheid:

- Investeer in één-op-één contact met de ouder. Ouders vinden het fijn wanneer ze het gevoel hebben dat er (altijd) ruimte is om langs te komen voor vragen of wanneer ze iets willen delen. Een ouder gaf bijvoorbeeld aan dat ze tips ontving over hoe ze thuis het beste kon omgaan met bepaald gedrag van haar kind. Het is hierbij belangrijk om ouders het gevoel te geven dat je naast de ouder staat, de ouder serieus neemt, om te erkennen dat opvoeden niet makkelijk is en dat je samen oplossingen bedenkt.

- Toon interesse en neem initiatief in de communicatie met de ouder. Breng- en ophaalmomenten zijn goede gelegenheden om een (informeel) gesprekje aan te gaan. Waar komen de ouders vandaan? Hebben jij en de ouder gemeenschappelijke interesses? Ouders geven aan dat ze veel waarde hechten aan een betrokken leerkracht, die interesse toont in waar zij vandaan komen en hen echt proberen te begrijpen.

- Deel positieve ervaringen en spreek positieve verwachtingen uit over het kind (en de ouder). Wat is er vandaag goed gegaan? En leg uit waarom deze activiteit goed is voor de ontwikkeling van het kind. Ouders vinden het leuk om op de hoogte te blijven van activiteiten of gebeurtenissen die plaatsvinden op school, bijvoorbeeld door het ontvangen van foto’s via een groepsapp. “dan kan ik de foto laten zien en krijg je te horen ‘ik durfde niet bij de dieren te komen’. Dan heb je gewoon een gesprek met je kind daarover, over school. Want als je aan je kind vraagt ‘hoe was school?’ ‘Ja, mama, goed, was leuk’, dan krijg je een kort antwoord..” Ouders vinden het fijn om te horen als het goed gaat met hun kind, dus spreek hen niet alleen aan wanneer er problemen zijn.

- Creëer een ontmoetingsplek binnen de school waarin ouders onderlingmet elkaar in contact kunnen komen. Een mooi initiatief op veel scholen in Rotterdam en Utrecht is de ouderkamer/ouderlokaal, een plek binnen de school waar ouders koffie kunnen drinken met elkaar en op de hoogte worden gehouden van actuele opvoedthema’s. Ouders geven wel aan dat het belangrijk is dat er een coördinator (ouderconsulente) aanwezig is om een veilige sfeer te creëren en ervoor te zorgen dat alle ouders in de groep hun vragen kunnen stellen.

Als organisatie..

Om ouderbetrokkenheid te stimuleren is het belangrijk om naast de ouder te staan, en samen te werken aan de ontwikkeling van het kind, op school én thuis. Maak van de school een veilige haven, een ontmoetingsplek voor ouders en leerkrachten en voor ouders onderling. Sta open voor andere (culturele) achtergronden en ga het gesprek aan wanneer je het gevoel hebt niet op één lijn met de ouder(s) te staan. Bedenk dan samen met hen een oplossing in het belang van het kind. Een leidinggevende kan hierin veel betekenen en zorgen dat alle neuzen dezelfde kant op staan, bijvoorbeeld over hoe het beste kan worden gecommuniceerd met ouders. Welke normen en waarden zijn van belang? Welke behoeften hebben ouders? En wat wordt er van ouders verwacht? Hoe zorg je voor een open, veilig en positief klimaat? Door hier met ouders over in gesprek te gaan kan er een mooie samenwerking ontstaan die de basis vormt voor de ontwikkeling en welzijn van het kind.

[2] Epstein 2001, verschillende vormen van ouderbetrokkenheid

UNESCO: Education systems need to enhance the inclusion of migrant and refugee children

UNESCO releases the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report, Migration, displacement and education. It highlights countries’ achievements and shortcomings in ensuring the right of migrant and refugee children to benefit from quality education. It also addresses major barriers these children still face to access an inclusive education.

The report indicates that the number of migrant and refugee school-age children around the world today has grown by 26% since 2000 and could fill half a million classrooms.

There has been progress in the inclusion of refugees in national education systems, as seen in eight of the top ten refugee hosting countries. Chad, Ethiopia, Uganda, Canada and Ireland are among the global leaders in implementing inclusive education policies for immigrants. However, in the two years since the landmark New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, refugees have missed 1.5 billion days of school worldwide.

The share of students with immigrant backgrounds in high income countries has increased from 15% to 18% between 2005 and 2017, reaching 36 million. But, the report indicates that immigrant children are still not given a fair chance to succeed. In 2015, first-generation immigrant students in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) were 32% less likely than natives to achieve basic skills in reading, mathematics and science.

In 2017, in the European Union, twice as many young people born abroad left school early compared to natives. Students with a migrant background reported a lower sense of belonging at school, were less satisfied with their life, and experienced more school related anxiety than native students, as indicated in the European Commission Education and Training Monitor.

To improve the inclusion of migrants and refugees children in national education systems, the UNESCO report gives the following recommendations:

- Protect the right to education of migrants and displaced people.
- Include migrants and displaced people in the national education system.
- Understand and plan to meet the education needs of migrants and displaced people.
- Represent migration and displacement histories in education accurately to challenge prejudices.
- Prepare teachers of migrants and refugees to address diversity and hardship.
- Harness the potential of migrants and displaced people.
- Support education needs of migrants and displaced people in humanitarian and development aid.

Find out more about the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report here:

Celebrating Universal Children’s Day

United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th. It is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This day offers an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights.

This year UNICEF launched a petition to call on world leaders to commit to fulfilling the rights of every child and acknowledge that these rights are non-negotiable. The goal is to build a world where every child is in school and learning, safe from harm and able to fulfill their potential.

More activities to celebrate this day include: wearing blue clothing or accessories and share with the world on social media; and taking part in the World’s Largest Lesson using the School Activity Packs.

Read more here

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


Symposium: On working mechanisms of early interventions: Dutch and German perspectives

- Longitudinal effects of different course-types on children`s social-emotional and vocabulary skills
by Franziska Cohen, Juliane Schünke,Yvonne Anders
Read abstract - page 13

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.