Presentation of the project
The KINDINMI project (The Kindergarten as a Factor of Inclusion for Migrant Children and their Families) has been supported by an Erasmus + grant (2017-2020). It is a collaborative and comparative research project on local, regional, national and European strategies and innovative practices concerning the inclusion of recently arrived young migrants in kindergarten/preschool education as a means to encouraging better opportunities for them as well as their families for social orientation and inclusion in the host country. Partners are teams from universities in Austria, the Czech Republic, Scotland and Sweden (coordinator), who are involved on different levels in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC).
The recent wave of immigration to Europe has led to many issues concerning the inclusion of migrants in the host countries. Although education is considered as a medium for inclusion, learning often meets barriers, not only those of language but even of understanding how things work in the new country.
A lot of focus has been put on older newly arrived children who often have difficulties learning the new language (or becoming literate) as well at catching up with the curriculum. Meanwhile, very little attention was given to younger children in the age of attending nursery school or preschool.
Preschool, although it is not compulsory in our countries seems to be a possible way for migrant families to better integrate and be included in the host country. For instance, parents or some member of the family usually bring younger children to school and are therefore given the possibility to come into contact with teachers and other parents, as well as to become familiar with the habits, traditions and way of life of the new country. Preschool -or kindergarten- can be considered as a possible threshold to better inclusion not only of the children, but also their guardians, which is why KINDINMI focuses on families with infants and children aged 6 months-7 years as the main beneficiary target group for the project.
One in our eyes original goal was to facilitate cooperation between different social actors: in other words, the global objective of the project was to promote preschool as a social and cultural meeting place. During the project, preschool/school teachers, mother tongue teachers, headmasters, university staff and students, stakeholders, NGOs, parents, including those from the host country and children were – and still are, involved at different levels: surveys, questionnaires and formal or informal interviews were conducted with all categories of participants. Some participated in activities and many have now used our pedagogic kit.
In order to reach our goals, we had to map and compare practices in different contexts and, although the situation may vary from one country to the other, develop common tools and materials that may even be adapted and used at a European or international level. The different mappings developed through the project have therefore resulted in courses aimed for existing or future preschool personal and educational tools for practitioners, children and families. Curricula are now available from this website, in Czech, English, German and Swedish and are easily adaptable to different contexts and target groups.
We have produced articles out of our research and observations, podcasts on different issues related to the project and a webinar about picture books and inclusion, all available online on this website and on our blog, where you also can have a glimpse of different activities conducted during the project.
To our eyes, the project’s most important product is the Heartspace pedagogic kit: this material is meant to be interactive and reflexive. Based on multimodality, the Heartspace journal is aimed at preschool staff in initial and in-service education, teachers of mother tongue or other relevant persons working with ECEC. The Heartspace sharing book is an activity-based tool aimed to travel between preschool, parents, children. You will find a sample of the Heartspace material on this website. The Heartspace journal is in English, the Heartspace sharing book exists in English and Swedish. As our material is meant to be regularly updated, please contact us to make sure to get the latest version.
You can of course write to us to give us feedback and share your ideas of improvement for our curricula or the pedagogic material.
Welcome to KINDINMI!