Europe is facing important challenges such as cultural complex diversity in classrooms, early school leaving and disadvantaged backgrounds for some children. Quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) can be a bridge to tackle these challenges. Not only children’s presence in ECEC is important but also their level and quality of active participation and engagement in the social and learning activities of early childhood provision.
Hanging OUT! is an ambitious project that investigates the possibilities to use 'every' outdoor environment as a way to deal with the mentioned challenges. Eleven complementary strategic partners and different associated partners from five different countries (BE, LT, PT, UK, DK) want to give students, ECEC professionals and parents the confidence, tools and support to explore and create possibilities and experiments with different outdoor educational practices.
To reach our goals we established six associated local networks between a HEI and two field partners (pre-schools, kindergartens, organisations, ...). Each local network has its own focus depending on the interest, needs and expertise of the partnership: children's participation, diversity, 0-3 year old and ICT. Via this way of working we bring together a lot of expertise, co-create with the different stakeholders and have an impact that is really sustainable.
The associated networks meet semi-annual f2f and online to share expertise, ways of seeing and knowing and experiment with each other's outdoor practices. Connected to the f2f meetings are international weeks where we can share and discuss our outputs and expertise with students and other lecturers from the different strategic partners and more broadly with all interested members of the Comenius Association, a European network of teacher training institutes of which all HEI's are longtime partners.