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Issue 2 - September 2013



NEST Newsletter

September 2013

Issue 2

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. This is the second newsletter of the project.

Update on the NEST project’s progress

Since our previous newsletter in February 2013 the NEST community started to spread its wings. National groups begin their collaborations, mostly in face-to-face meetings and through mailing lists. We have established national working groups in Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Finland, Greece and Hungary.

In the working groups, we have invited representatives to possibly cover all ECEC sectors: daycares, kindergarten, early development (special needs children, children in disadvantaged regions), supporting institutions and networks (midwives, paediatricians, etc.), parents’ networks, institutions of ECEC staff training, researchers etc.

Issues that the NEST community is most interested in are under discussion in different groups are:

  • supply system
  • healthcare vs. education
  • law and regulations
  • curricula and models for ECEC staff training
  • training vs. practice
  • peer learning
  • good practices: interest in international know-how
  • teaching the parents
  • the role of the family: cooperation of families and institutions


imageWe have also started to present the project at relevant conferences and contacted other networks. There is a growing interest in ECEC in the education scene. One of the reasoning behind ignoring the strong educational nature of ECEC was that it is deeply embedded in the socio-cultural environment of the child. However with today’s new approaches, where learning is viewed as part of human existence from birth till death and part of the community, renewed interest in ECEC from educational experts is expected.

NEST Pool of Resources

Under the Resources tab in the NEST platform, you can already find a wide range of publications, articles, learning materials etc. that the community collected so far in several languages. We are constantly working on enriching it. The database is accessible without registration, so anyone visiting the site can benefit from our work.

You too are invited to send us anything that you think other colleagues might benefit from, your practices, publications, events etc. we will check it out and than post it. Every suggestion generates new submissions thus helping us identify subjects that you would most likely learn more about!

News from Finland: Early childhood education law is changing

Equality in the main value in Finnish day-care system. New early childhood education law (coming in 2015) will support families to ensure good circumstances for the grown and learn. In year 2013 early education affairs already moved under Ministry of Education and Culture as a part of the education and training system. Coming law will ensure day-care services to all families and free of charge for the families with low incomes. It will also make day-care services be more flexible for families and help professionals recognize and support children with special needs earlier and more effective.

The Parliament appointed a group of experts and legislators to work out the details of the new law by 2014. We will keep the NEST community updated and share all available material thanks to the Finnish NEST colleagues. Until then here is a link to the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture about the planned new legislation.

The ALICE project

imageThe Adults Learning for Intergenerational Creative Experience – ALICE project is training adults on early childhood issues and shows senior volunteers how to prepare creative learning environments with kids. It is about civic participation in institutional spaces. ALICE project aims to work with parents, grandparents, volunteers and other adults interested to interact with children through new spaces of edutainment, to train them to the importance of use of creative languages (art, storytelling, and social media) to build rich and caring environments for children to grow up. Specifically:

  • To help adults, senior citizen and volunteers to reflect and acquire competences necessary to become effective educators, and the impact their actions can have on future learning of children.
  • To provide adults, senior citizen and volunteers with creative languages to generate opportunities for intergenerational learning;
  • To train adult's trainers to adopt ALICE methodological approach, becoming aware of the role that adult's as educator can have on social cohesion, and hence, re-considering the value of adult's training institutions.

Just have a taste of ALICE at the multilingual portal. We are now working on resources for both adult's trainers and parents/senior volunteers.

The ALICE and the NEST community started to collaborate due to the strong synergy between the projects.

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 Simona Vigoni from Italy.

imageI consider myself a sort of veteran. I’m not a girl anymore. I grew up with passion for literature and humanities. At that time, at the end of the seventies, the faculty for Education Sciences did not exist yet (the first handbooks on Education Sciences and Pedagogy had “just” been published). I started to attend the Department of Pedagogy of the University of Milan. Thanks to the flexibility of the “old” university degree programme, I was allowed to combine courses in Literature, History, Philosophy and Pedagogy ending-up with a compromise: a degree in Literature specializing in Pedagogy. While still “drifting” from Leopardi’s lyrics to Kierkegaards’ theories or monographic courses on childcare services held by Susanna Mantovani, I decided to volunteer in a small but special day care centre. The children came from immigrant families nearly all of them followed by the social services. After three years volunteering, the internship turned into a stable job. Today the day care centres are two and called “Childcare Services Area” directed by me. In parallel, besides the daily work assignments, I continue to learn: attending a psychomotor school, training ECEC staff and looking after the scientific guidance for Mondo03 magazine (Casa Editrice la Scuola). My role in the NEST community is to regularly contribute with articles on issues discussed by the diverse working groups.

Recommended readings

  • Improving the Quality of Childhood in Europe

    The publication of the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education consists of talks given by a range of experts to the Working Group on the Quality of Childhood (QoC) at the European Parliament during 2011/2012.

  • Quality Matters in Early Childhood Education and Care: Finland 2012
    An OECD report about evaluation models and practices for ECEC structures in Finland. The interesting aspect of the study is that in case of Finland, the children themselves are regarded as evaluating actors.

  • Early Childhood Education in Finland
    In this 2008 publication by National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health STAKES, early childhood education is presented by three main aspects: 1. Finnish social policy as a frame for early years education, 2. Arranging services: systems and forms, and 3. Early years education: principles and guiding.

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,

Last updated 3315 days ago by EDEN News