The ISOTIS team organized an expert meeting on June 22nd-23rd, hosted by the partner institution International Step by Step Association (ISSA) , which took place at the Child Rights Home, in Leiden, the Netherlands. Experts from different institutions and countries (meet them here) were invited to debate the following themes: profiling the target groups in ISOTIS; outreaching and participation; professionalism of the workforce; evaluation and outcomes of programmes; and program implementation and inter-agency coordination. The knowledge and the experiences shared by the invited experts allowed the ISOTIS team to gather important inputs for the development of the project.
The panel of experts and the highlighted topics in the scope of each theme were the following.
Profiling the target groups in ISOTIS
Multicultural and multilingualism need to be addressed in the field of education: it is important that children can have the opportunity to express themselves in their language; it is necessary to invest in the promotion of both first and second languages. The use of ICT can support multilingualism, since it allows efficient production of content (e.g. stories) in many first languages, that can be widely shared.
Panel of experts: Magdalena Skoro, Zorica Trikic, Peter Dixon, Iris Roose, Paulo André
Outreaching and participation
Bringing home and school closer together through accessible activities, projects and inclusive curriculum plays an important role in creating a sense of belonging to school in children. The implementation of home based learning programs, through partnership, may help parents in promoting children’s learning and development. The use of ICT may create reliable relationship between actors of education, and bring services focusing on education. To support outreach and participation, it is also important to invest on continuous bottom up activities, such as empowerment of immigrant associations and local projects, in addition to top-down policy level changes.
Panel of experts: Anna-Louise van der Merwe, Cristina Milagre, Zorica Trikic, Peter Dixon, Sally Smith, Mehmet Alpbek
Professionalism of the workforce
New ways of professional development go beyond focusing on the individual professional. Team based learning is a more effective way of improving practice that will enhance sustainability. This includes team meetings used for reflection and discussion everyday practice or professional learning communities. These types of activities can be organised face-to-face or by using digital technology.
Panel of experts: Angela Anning, Cristina Milagre, Iris Roose, Anke van Keulen, Sanja Brajković, Margy Whalley
Evaluation/outcomes of programmes
Program evaluation is very important: it serves both proving and improving purposes. Purposeful evaluation should consider both high-quality research methods but also take into account the flexible and cooperative nature of successful interventions and/or services supporting disadvantaged children and families.
Panel of experts: La Salete Lemos, Anna-Louise van der Merwe, Magdalena Szeniawska, Paulo André, Sally Smith
Program implementation and inter-agency
The analysis of key factors for success or failure in program implementation and in inter-agency work is very relevant. It is important to focus on relationships between professionals, in order to facilitate joint working, although it is a complex process which does not happen overnight.
Panel of experts: Angela Anning, La Salete Lemos, Magdalena Szeniawska, Anke van Keulen, Sanja Brajković, Margy Whalley