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active diversity in European childcare - vorurteilsbewusste Bildung und Erziehung
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The participants of the project are: + ‘Katholische Bildungsanstalt für Kindergartenpädagogik Innsbruck’, a private Catholic secondary school for elementary pedagogics + 18 students of this school in their fourth year of education with international focus + fellow institutions at Florence (Italy), Kumla (Sweden) and Berlin (Germany). The students are in their fourth of the five-year-education in elementary pedagogics. At the time of the internship they have successfully gained experience in various institutions of elementary education in the federal region of the Tyrol. They possess a sound theoretic knowledge in the field of didactics and pedagogics in elementary education. During the third year of education the participants were offered the possibility to take part in a one-week-project in London or Dublin and got to know various concepts of elementary education in local institutions. These basic insights into pedagogic variety should now be completed by t personal experience gained during the work in childcare institutions in Europe, which is offered by this EU-project. Europe is shaped by a great variety of cultures. Social reality is made up by ethnic, economic and individual heterogeneity. Cultures are interwoven by migration, communication systems and economic dependencies. This is also shown in the diversity of children in the field of elementary pedagogics. The main content in the approach of unprejudiced upbringing and education are adopt the diversity of our society live up to fairness, respect, appreciation and empathy This approach is oriented on the following aims: - strengthen children in their identity - allow children experiences of diversity - stimulate critical thinking of fairness and discrimination The Austrian obligatory federal curriculum (‘Bundesländerübergreifender Bildungsrahmenplan’) states that diversity refers to individual differences such as sex, colour of the skin, physical abilities, ethnic belonging and social background. The encounter with diversity is a prerequisite for the open-mindedness to critically deal with prejudice. This means, that our future elementary school teachers have to gather comprehensive experience in social and transcultural environments in order to fulfil their pedagogical tasks according to the requirements of the curriculum. In doing so, they will be able to professionally deal with and encounter the cultural diversity in Europe and in heterogeneous groups of children. The students practice and visit for approx.. six hours per day (5 days per week) in the childcare centre they are allocated to. The main aim here is to observe, analyse and participate in the pedagogical daily routine. What is assumed is openness and awareness towards prejudice against the cultural diversity in the playgroups. It is the student’s task to create analysis instruments for observation and practice (rules, daily structure, annual structure, pedagogical focus of the institution, ecc) as well as to offer educational impulses. A further task is to create a comparison of the pedagogical concept and work of the visited institution with those in Austria. The participants write a portfolio documenting their learning progress and insights at work and during their free time. In this way, the linguistic, social and personal development of every single participant can be transparently traced. The internship at Florence is accompanied by a language course in Italian. The students’ transcultural sensitivity will be developed by the three-week-stay and their work. The perception of cultural differences releases self-reflection and self-competence in terms of diversity and rising awareness of prejudice in education and upbringing. A further achievement should be the strengthened ability to empathy. Students should become aware of what it means to be a stranger in a foreign country. During the stay in the visiting country, decision-making and responsibility (self organisation, pedagogical acting) as well as language competence will be encouraged. Communication in the specific field of work and the use of the foreign language in everyday life allow a significant improvement of the participants’ language skills in English and Italian.

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