Knowledge Hub

Monitoring and Evaluation Report of the TOY for Inclusion Play Hubs 2021

The TOY for Inclusion consortium’s Monitoring and Evaluation report evaluates the impact of TOY for Inclusion’s Play Hubs from February to December 2021 and highlights the successes of this innovative approach and challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Diveristy+ Charter: First steps towards diversity positive services

With the aim to support ECEC settings, leaders and professionals to identify and overcome these challenges, the Diversity+ project has launched the Diversity+ Charter: a set of minimum requirements that ECEC services and institutions have to meet to accommodate different types of diversity and be classified as inclusive and diversity positive (Diversity+). 

Following the Council Recommendations on High Quality ECEC, the Diversity+ Charter is organised around five key areas: Access, Workforce, Curriculum, Monitoring and Evaluation and Governance for diversity inclusion. Each area contains a set of indicators defining what should be in place for Diversity+ ECEC. 

The Charter invites ECEC managers and professionals to engage in a continuous discussion and critical reflection on their existing policies with the aim to ensure that all children, their families, and ECEC staff feel welcomed, valued and respected.

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Caring for the Caregiver – Implementer’s Guide

In accordance with evidence from the Lancet and UNICEF recommendations on Early Childhood Development and Nurturing Care, preventive support for caregiver health and emotional well-being is key to optimal child development. There is recognition that frontline workers, who are often community volunteers and caregivers themselves, are not equipped with adequate skills to enable them to support caregiver needs.

Caring for the Caregiver (CFC) provides curriculum for training frontline workers to address barriers to responsive caregiving and it provides supporting implementation materials for counselling caregivers. CFC training translates well-established evidence on how to support emotional well-being and mental health, presenting these in practical activities which encourage self-care, family. engagement and social support.

CFC was developed for the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) with the support of LEGO Foundation.

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#DreamToGrow

When it comes to policies, strategies, and programs that support the inclusion of the most vulnerable and marginalized children, we cannot fail to consider the early childhood development (ECD) professionals with the same cultural and ethnic backgrounds as the children with whom they work.

The Dream to Grow campaign shares 12 multipurpose advocacy stories, highlighting  the successes of Roma ECD professionals who are supporting Roma children and families in their countries – celebrating the example they are setting for future generations.

These inspiring stories highlight Roma ECD professionals’ different pathways to become who they are today, following Roma standing with dignity and pride, ready to shape Europe’s future, and rewrite the current narrative.

REYN aims to contribute to creating more inclusive and equitable societies by advocating for increasing diversity in the ECD workforce, strengthening professionalism, and giving more recognition to the Roma ECD professionals for their invaluable work. In the quest to shape a better future for the new generations, there is a dire need to work closely with Roma professionals. Positive role models, such as Roma ECD professionals, break negative stereotypes in society in general, and for the children, they do that from the early years. They demonstrate that, with the right support and a nurtured belief in oneself, it is possible to break the vicious circle that has entrapped the Roma minority in Europe for centuries.

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UNICEF’s Vision for Elevating Parenting

UNICEF’s vision for integrated, multilevel programming moves beyond approaching parents as recipients of information or education, to a more collaborative partnership where there is a co-construction of support for the child as well as for/with the parents themselves.

Key features include:

1) moving towards strengths-based rather than “deficit-focused” approaches;

2) employing a life course lens;

3) meeting systems where they are and elevating parenting support in existing platforms;

4) explicit articulation of gender-responsive and disability-inclusive approaches;

5) focus on culturally responsive community engagement and empowerment, and promoting enabling environments to support parents and caregivers.

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What we mean by: Playful Parenting in the early years

The LEGO Foundation aims to build a future in which learning through play empowers all children to become creative, engaged, life-long learners. Parents are fundamental to that aim, as they are heavily invested in their children’s development and learning. While this is true across all ages of children, this leaflet has a critical focus on children from birth to three years old. The importance of parenting for infants and young children in this age group cannot be overstated.

This leaflet brings together our understanding of playful experiences that lead to deeper learning, with the international conversation around high quality parenting.

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Learning Through Play

The brief describes the nature of pre-primary services within the broader concept of early learning. We then share definitions of what is meant by play in early childhood, followed by key points of why learning through play builds lifelong learners and supports children’s overall development. We then note
the obstacles that pre-primary advocates may face when making a case for play-based methods, and we propose a systems perspective in advocating for child-centred pedagogy and playful programmes. Noting the unique context of every country, the suggested strategies in this brief provide initial ideas that could be adapted to local contexts.

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