TOY for Inclusion seeks expansion - Setup your own Play hub in your country
Segregation and discrimination of vulnerable communities is determined by socioeconomic and historical factors, and has a detrimental effect on young children (and their families) in terms of their rights, development, and their future. We believe that all children, no matter what their background is, should have access to high quality and inclusive education. This begins with early childhood education and care (ECEC) services.
The project TOY for Inclusion (co-funded by the European Commission and Open Society Foundations) aims to improve the transition experience of vulnerable children to schools by offering an innovative response to discrimination. It is doing so by creating community based non formal ECEC Play Hubs where relationships between young children from diverse backgrounds and their families are built and interactions in safe play spaces across all generations are supported.
The Play Hubs are the result of the collaborative work of early years services that jointly assess the needs of local young children and families and co-design with them the activities offered in the Hubs.
What is an ECEC Play Hub?
• a space where children and their families of all ages are welcomed to play games with each other;
• where they can meet with other (grand)parents with different backgrounds and take part in creative and social activities;
• where (grand)parents can easily access information about childrearing, health, early learning and development.
International Child Development Initiatives – ICDI is coordinating the TOY for Inclusion project since 2017 and is happy to share that the project has so far created eight Play Hubs for young children in seven EU countries (Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia) which have obtained extraordinary results:
• Challenged the prevailing understanding of ECEC service delivery as only possible in a formal environment
• Built trust between the families and communities with different backgrounds
• Increased access of vulnerable families to early years services
• All generations interacted and learned together
• Provided an important community safe space for interagency cooperation between early years services.
We believe that social inclusion can start with young children and their eagerness to play and learn! If you are also interested in the TOY for Inclusion approach and to set up a Play Hub in the country where you work, please visit our website (www.toy4inclusion.eu) and download our resources:
We are happy to announce that TOY for Inclusion has received extra funding from the European Commission that will allow the opening of more Play Hubs in 2019-2021.
“We are delighted to hear that TOY for Inclusion’s Play Hubs can continue to bring services to many children and families of disadvantaged communities. These Play Hubs provide much needed opportunities for families to meet, for children and adults to play together and for parents to receive expert advice on how to nurture child development”, says Mathijs Euwema, Director of International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) which coordinates the project.
TOY to Share, Play to Care
For more information, please contact: Giulia Cortellesi, ICDI.