This project has been part of the Erasmus+ programme, that is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.
The general goal of the project was to improve Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) organisational and governance models through the exchange of experiences and good practices between the partners involved (pre-schools in Italy, Slovenia and Sweden). The partners represent different ECEC government and organisation examples.
What’s up in education was focused on two main topics:

  • organisational solutions that can improve ECEC services and contribute to increasing access
  • practices that can improve Families and community participation in the life of pre-school services

The main activities experienced during the project (Transnational meetings, Job shadowing, Local seminars) enable partners to share their own best practices and transfer and experiment some of them into their own communities.

Services organization

Children autonomy

Keep in mind to…

  • Promote children autonomy during routines and transition moments (lunch, sleeping time, washing, getting dressed…)
  • Organise spaces and use materials that promote children autonomy
  • Promote free play to support the learning process
  • Have spaces regulated and managed by children
  • Promote learning by doing: giving children the real chances to try, try again and experiment by themselves

Good and practical ideas:

  • Self-service during lunch: children can choose what and how much to eat, they take food by themselves
  • Mixed age groups
  • Give and allow more and slower time to children during transition moments
  • Use by children of different strategies (billboards, photos of children…) to  “regulate” access to section spaces. In this way, children and teachers know how many children are playing in space/corner.

Outdoor activities

Keep in mind that…

  • You can go outdoor in any season and any weather: there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing
  • Nature is a learning environment where children can acquire different skills
  • Outdoor also means educational opportunities network in the local community (library, children library, museum, educational farms, wood,…)

Good and practical ideas:

  • Have a toilet outside, in the garden
  • Let children sleep outside
  • Equip children well during outdoor activities (boots, waterproof coats, technical clothes…)
  • Let children experience nature-immersive activities (walks in the wood, playing with natural materials…)


Keep in mind to…

  • Build an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone
  • Use open and recyclable materials, from plastic to natural
  • Use children friendly materials
  • Build an inclusive and child-friendly environment
  • Take care of adults’ wellbeing

Good and practical ideas:

  • Create cosy and welcoming spaces and a “warm” atmosphere, using relaxing and soft lights, tablecloths and plants
  • Sound isolation
  • Set up centres of interest, do not overcrowd spaces
  • Have comfortable spaces reserved for teachers
  • Use of different communication strategies and approaches
  • Use of “alternative communication” to describe the daily organisation or specific activities. A kind of “scaffolding” to support autonomy and to promote language competence of all children

Families participation

Supporting families participation

Keep in mind to…

  • Involve families in extra-school activities
  • Promote a family-friendly environment

Good and practical ideas:

  • Guidelines for families and teachers for a “good cooperation”
  • Training activities for teachers and families together (participatory projects, training meetings, …)
  • Association of families and citizens interested to improve the quality of ECEC services

Welcoming families

Keep in mind to…

  • Try flexible access to ECEC services, closer to families needs
  • Consider families as resources
  • Have a trustful and professional approach to families

Good and practical ideas:

  • Families meeting
  • Breakfast together at school
  • Playing workshops
  • Individual interviews
  • Organize trips into nature
  • Enhance families’ skills, talents and careers

Communication and documentation

Keep in mind to…

  • Support different communication strategies
  • Share and show the educational experience in various ways

Good and practical ideas:

  • Different tools and materials to document educational activities and learning process:
  • Weekly-monthly letter for parents
  • Documentary walls
  • Videos
  • Publications
  • Exhibition panels
  • Diaries
  • Materials created by children

From logbook of teachers involved in job shadowing…

“I was impressed by the practice of sleeping outdoors… the first day I was very worried and anxious…How could I hear if the children were crying or were waking up? Fortunately, the teachers reassured me.!”

“An insight into the functioning of their kindergartens has contributed to my professional growth. At the same time, during the exchange, I met great people who made the whole experience fantastic..”

“About freedom and chance of choice… We went for a walk with the children. Someone was sleeping on the stroller, someone was eating, others were chatting… very interesting!!”

“The trust in children and their abilities was an incentive, with which I returned to my own department and successfully integrated changes into it … both in the organisation of space and time, as well as in the pedagogical work itself.”

“They do a great job!!! Many new thoughts and insights, such as how they have built close and committed cooperation with parents and relatives, and how they have a clear introduction before the child begins preschool.”

“It is great that so many men work in these preschools. They have small spaces that they use in an incredibly conscious manner. These small spaces also make the teachers fully aware of everything that happens to the children… the teacher is incredibly present.”

Check out the English toolkit below, or download the Italian, Slovenian or Swedish toolkit!

what’s up in education toolkit -v3