A project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, 2016-1-SE01-KA201-022109.
The aim of the project MUTUAL Multicultural/multilingual learning in early years is to develop and further disseminate the comprehensive response to the integration and inclusion of children with a migrant background in the early years and improve the quality of the practices in early education as well as attainment of vulnerable children in preschool. This will be done through equipping the early years practitioners: child care professionals: preschool teachers, childminders, family support workers, volunteers, with the skills of how encourage the pluricultural/plurilingual education through early years education and care. Essential in this process will be the close cooperation and involvement with parents, local communities as well as policy makers.
The reason and the need for the project comes from the fact that our time is characterized by immigration of historic proportions. Even before the recent migration trend, the OECD report (2008) stated, at least 15 percent of the school population aged below 10 within the ‘old EU member states’ was either born abroad or has both parents born in another country. Particular increases have been monitored in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Italy, and Spain, where the percentage of school pupils born in another country has multiplied by a factor of three or four since 2000. However recent OECD’s analysis shows that further migration waves in 2015 have indeed provoked the unprecedented migrant crises. Not only because of the large numbers arriving in Europe, but also because of the differences with refugee flows in the past. This calls for support from countries which have limited experience in dealing with such flow. Further promotion of migration and mobility by the European Union in the context of Europe 2020 strategy, shows the need to improve the effectiveness of policies aiming at integration of migrants (Global approach on Migration and Mobility).
The childcare professionals, the kindergarten teachers, childminders and other carers are often among the first persons from the new cultural and educational environment that the young migrant families build the relationship with. All of the project activities will, therefore, include valuing children’s first language, involving the families in the language learning and promote their home language and culture while building the second language skills, which influences attitudes to education for a lifetime.
On 24 and 25 November 2016, the Kick-off meeting of MUTUAL project was held in Söderhamn in Sweden where the CFL is based. The meeting was attended by ten people from 4 organizations. During the meeting, the partners have agreed upon the tasks and the target group. Moreover, the financial issues and duties of all the partners were clarified.
The second project meeting took place on 16 and 17 May 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the final version of the Visibility study which consists of two main parts, namely Secondary data on migration and Survey data based on qualitative interviews (Visibility study can be downloaded in pdf format). In addition, the partners agreed on the form of Catalogue skills and knowledge which should summarize the best methods and practices of working with foreign children. Based on this Catalogue, national training programs will be developed.
On 25 and 26 January 2018, the partners met in Leeds, UK, to attend the third project meeting. Each partner presented their national training program and pilot training that took place in autumn 2017. The main objective of this meeting was to agree on the form and content of an e-learning platform that should primarily serve teachers, teacher assistants, and other caregivers but also the general public.
The first intellectual output called The Visibility Study on Migrant Pre-school Children in Greece, Czech Republic, Sweden, and the United Kingdom is available in pdf.
The second intellectual output Catalogue of Skills and Knowledge is available in pdf.