THE CONTEXT OF THE PROJECT
The EDUGATE project stems for the idea that in a multicultural society, such as Europe, it’s useful for young children to learn other languages, as a precious resource for their future. In a time of unprecedented economic and social challenges, it’s vital for new generations to have a solid start in life. We could achieve this by providing high-quality early childhood education and care. Furthermore, it’s necessary to strengthen the profile of teachers and educators through innovative training and methodologies in the ECEC system and in teaching a second language.
According to the European Union outlines, language education in pre-school years differs greatly across the Member States of Europe, and it is carried out with mixed results across countries. This indicates the need to promote a unified language education program in the pre-school years in Europe, supporting the development of the first language, on the other hand, promoting the acquisition of foreign (for example, English) or L2 languages (as in the case of immigrant children).
The phenomenon of multiculturalism and migration is now consolidated also at school thus in this perspective, it is especially important for migrant children to learn the language of the hosting country from the early age, so as to encourage their integration into social, cultural and professional life. Furthermore, it would be very useful for children to learn English or other valuable languages in their future adult life and for overcoming many barriers.
For this reason, the project believes that it is essential to update and strengthen the training of teachers and educators working in the field of early childhood, in particular by updating their skills and abilities on the basis of the challenges proposed by contemporary society, such as international mobility, multiculturalism, need to think in a global world.
EDUGATE main objectives are in agreement with the Education and Training 2020 (ET 2020), the framework for cooperation in education and training. The aim of ET 2020 is to promote lifelong learning and mobility, by improving the quality and efficiency of education and training. As a consequence, equity, social cohesion and active citizenship will also be enhanced. These goals may be considered in line with those of the EDUGATE project.
The specific objectives of the project are:
> To strengthen the knowledge and skills of school staff, through the analysis and the exchange of experiences and information among the partners that will improve their skills and knowledge on the teaching of a second language in the pre-school system.
> To improve the early childhood education system and make it competitive and in line with the contemporary European challenges.
> To improve the integration and inclusion of foreign children in the hosting country – in particular in the case of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers who do not speak the language of the country in which they live.
> To create an educational and didactic program that allows introducing the teaching of a second language in the pre-school system of the countries involved
> To improve the training system addressing children attending the pre-school to avoid any difficulties in adulthood and to train adults who are able to face the challenges of a global and multicultural society.
Seven European partner organizations are directly involved in the project:
Comune di Piacenza – Lead Partner (Italy)
University of Milano-Bicocca – UNIMIB (Italy)
Urzad Gminy Krasne (Poland)
Education, culture and sports department of Riga (Latvia)
Goeteborg University – UGOT (Sweden)
Zakladni skola a materska skola ANGEL v Praze 12 (Czech Republic)
FINI zavod Radece, delo za mlade (Slovenia)
MAIN ACTIVITIES OF THE EDUGATE PROJECT
INTELLECTUAL OUTPUTS (O)
> Drafting a Training Contexts and Needs Map (O1) that analyses the pre-school training system from the point of view of teachers and educators
> Preparation of an Innovative Best Practices Collection (O2) in which at least 5 good practices are reported collected in each partner country
> Development of the Educational programme and work plan (O3) that describes both the content and the application model for a bilingual educational system in the ECEC system
> Preparation of Didactic Material for ECEC teachers (O4) aimed at strengthening teachers’ skills and knowledge
> Elaboration of the Guidelines for the new ECEC professional curricula (O5)
LEARNING TEACHING AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES (C)
Implementation of 2 transnational training sessions addressed to teachers and educators:
> the first LTTA event (C1) is organized in Prague – CZ by Zakladni skola a materska skola ANGEL v Praze 12, with the participation of 5 teachers/educators per country. This LTTA session will be aimed at working in groups to the final delivery of O3, also through some study visits to local ECEC schools and institutions.
> the second LTTA event (C2) is organized in Piacenza – IT by the Lead Partner, with the participation of 5 teachers/educators per country. This LTTA session, teachers will be trained with the Didactic materials for ECEC teachers (O4) working in groups and the results of this activity will be significant for the finalization of O4.
MULTIPLIER EVENTS (E)
8 Multiplier events will be organized locally by the partners to inform and involve local stakeholders in order to disseminate and exploit the EDUGATE project results: 7 events will be organized at the local and national level (one in each country) and 1 event will be organized at the transnational level in Slovenia.
These events will take place in the second half of the project implementation.
The expected results of the project are the following:
o To support pre-school education in adopting innovative pedagogical methodologies for improving language acquisition in monolingual children, as well as second language / foreign language learning for children enrolled in a bilingual classroom or in immigrant children speaking minority languages;
o To promote the integration of immigrant children in the host country through the promotion of their first (minority) language;
o To promote knowledge about language impairment in children, clarifying that multilingualism is not a linguistic delay;
o To support teachers/educators when facing multilingualism in their classroom;
o Share and discuss educational experiences aimed at promoting linguistic development in children.
Teachers, educators and other staff of pre-school services, parents, responsible for defining educational and teaching plans for teachers, local authorities.
The project will last 36 months, from the 1st of September 2016 till the 31st of August 2019.