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Issue 1 - February 2013

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NEST Newsletter

February 2013

Issue 1

Welcome to the NEST project!

What is NEST?

NEST - Network of Staff and Teachers in Childcare Services is a European project funded by the European Commission within the Lifelong Learning Programme – under Comenius sub-programme –, with the aim of establishing a network in the field of staff development in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Europe.


The Background

The state of the art in staff development in Early Childhood Education and Care is fragmented and Europe is lacking a common vision for childcare services. Just as levels of investment differ greatly between Member States, picture also varies significantly in relation to childcare workforce. Childcare workers are qualified in all aspects of ECEC, in some country they must hold a degree and be involved in continuous training, where in other countries they don’t have formal education path and recognized professional profile. The lack of overview and a common vision negatively affects practices and policies as well. Children are the most valuable to a society – it is time to support those who we trust with their care.


The three years project has just now finished its first year of work. It consisted of a thorough target group analysis so that the needs of the NEST community members are met more, getting in touch with national ECEC professional communities in order to find the core partners in organizing the national working groups and contacting possible partners in building synergies with other initiatives. We have also built up a website that we hope will be the meeting point for ECEC professionals as well as a valuable resource database.


The NEST consortium seeks to overcome the isolation of the ECEC professional community by establishing a network in ECEC staff development offering

  • a multilingual on-line community of professionals with similar interests;
  • learning materials for ECEC staff;
  • working groups on national and European level on various subjects and with co-authoring and conference presentation opportunities;
  • access to a wide community for both professionals working in the field and academic researchers;
  • a way to reach policy makers and influence policies.

The partnership

The NEST project partnership consists of three universities with units working in the field of pedagogy, psychology, learning innovation and adult learning, an international association of ECEC professionals, a national professional development centre, four research centres and the most comprehensive European association in open and distance learning.

NEST consortium


Launching the website

The NEST consortium is trying to provide a broader access to ECEC professionals eliminating the possible language barrier. The platform is being translated to 8 different languages: English, Finnish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Slovenian and Spanish! At present, most of the information and functions are only available in English (the working language of the project), however the partnership is working hard in providing full service in all other languages too. We will keep you updated on the progress.

Online communities kicking-off

All project partners are active in establishing national, regional and local contacts to actors in the field of ECEC and promoting the project idea to the target groups. As we are launching the NEST platform, online working groups are getting started, focusing on relevant topics referring to early childhood education and care. A collection of essential topics has already been accomplished and will be developed further by the members of the online community. Also first face to face meetings of regional groups are foreseen for spring 2013.

Meet the person behind the username

The NEST Community has a very strong intention to remain in every user’s eyes a group of dedicated flesh and blood individuals. In every newsletter, a core community member will introduce themselves and their professional interest as well as their activity within the NEST network. In this newsletter you can meet Elvira Sánchez-Igual from the World Association of Early Childhood Educators (AMEI-WAECE) based in Madrid, Spain.

Elvira Sanchez IgualElvira serves as Communications Manager for AMEI-WAECE since 2003. The Association is a participative and democratic non-governmental, non-profit organization to service the educators of the smallest children to facilitate a better adequacy to their interests and development. Elvira holds a Psychology, a Marketing and a Social Research Degree and she is a specialist on early child development. Previously she served as psychologist at the Unit of Social Development and Education for the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C.

She dedicated herself to educating the youngest of children because she understood that only through an education from early childhood can happier citizens be formed to make possible the creation of a better world. As part of the NEST Team she help identifying areas of interests in staff development in ECEC as well as helping building up the community of professionals. She believes that even if we learn from the books and the masters, sometimes the experiences of our colleagues help us much more!

Highlighted recommendations

The EXPERTS project

It was a project funded by the European Commission in the framework of the LEONARDO programme. The project was running from 2009 to 2011. It aimed at providing peer support for the professional group of kindergarten teachers and day mothers by reflecting their experiences and learning from the experiences of others.

EXPERTs offered a project platform with a weblog area and forums. Early childhood educators from several European countries were invited to tell stories about their work experiences, read and comment the stories of others and discuss in the forums. The project encouraged the educators to build up an online community and get support and exchange from colleagues.

The EXPERTS platform contains a story collection about experiences of early childhood educators in six languages:

Recommended readings

  • Competence Requirements in Early Childhood Education and Care
    The findings of a European research project jointly conducted by the University of East London and the University of Ghent. The study explores the conceptualisations of ‘competence’ and professionalism in early childhood practice, and identifies systemic conditions for developing, supporting and maintaining competence in all layers of the early childhood system.
  • Early Childhood Education and Care - providing all our children with the best start for the world of tomorrow
    In February 2011, the Commission set out the key issues for future European co-operation in early childhood education and care with the aim to improve access and quality of services from birth to the start of compulsory schooling.

Keep in touch and help extend the network!

We would like to invite you

  • to check out our website and let us know how can we support your work if you are working on the field of Early Childhood Education and Care in any position or
  • join our online community to have the opportunity to reach fellow ECEC professionals and fellow researchers from all over Europe.

Meet your colleagues at the NEST Online Community at

or contact your national representative:


Contact person

Innovation in Learning Institute, Friedrich Alexander University, Erlangen – Nürnberg, Germany

Renate Hahner, coordinator

University of Macerata, Macerata, Italy

Laura Fedeli,

Scienter Espana, Granada, Spain

Begona Arenas,

Amitié Research Center, Bologna, Italy

Svenja Pokorny,

IPAK Institute for Symbolic Analysis and Development of Information Technologies, Velenje, Slovenia

Stanko Blatnik,

EDUCODE National Center for Professional Development in Education, Tampere, Finland

Marko Lahtinen,

AMEI WAECE – World Association of Early Childhood Educators, Madrid, Spain

Elvira Sanchez Igual,

European Distance and E-Learning Network - EDEN, Milton Keyes, United Kingdom

Eva Szalma,

Militos Emerging Technologies & Services, Athens, Greece

Kyriakos Lingas,

Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary

Denes Zarka,

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Last updated 3559 days ago by EDEN News