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Supporting the collaboration between ECEC core and assisting practitioners: Experiences of Learning Labs in the three Danish Pilot Schools

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This report examines the question: How can professional development in learning laboratories enhance professional identity, a holistic perspective approach to education and care (educare) and collaboration among and between core and assisting practitioners within Danish ECEC settings?
Overall, VALUE aims to support diversity and democracy among children through coordination of pedagogical activities and exchange of experiences among and between those working with the children: both core and assisting practitioners. It is assumed that focusing on the conditions for ECEC professionals’ work, such as their expertise and the resources available, will lead to better opportunities for successful collaboration between these groups.
More specifically, VALUE focuses on strengthening collaboration among and between all ECEC practitioners with regard to young children’s care and learning, valuing the diversity of their professional backgrounds and experience. Special attention is paid to the role and position of assisting practitioners and to strengthening their professional contribution and identity within communities of practitioners, as well as involving them in professional development and planning. In other words, VALUE is about valuing diversity in care and education, as this aim in the collaboration between all ECEC practitioners will help better address the diverse learning and care needs of children, families and communities.
To fulfil VALUE’s aims, continuous professional development (CPD) pathways were developed and piloted in the four participating countries: Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and Slovenia. These pathways sought to enhance professional identity, an educare approach and collaboration (the three core concepts).
CPD pathways with different approaches were developed and tested in the VALUE pilots in the four participating countries. These approaches included learning laboratories, co-creation, collaborative learning and communities of practice, co-teaching and coaching. However, at the core of all these approaches was the idea that CPD in ECEC should not only increase expertise at the individual level but also drive development at a system level.
The Danish ECEC context is characterised by broad agreement at both policy and practice level regarding the importance of integrating care and learning in an ‘educare’ approach to the pedagogical work in day care for children aged 0-6. This holistic approach to care and learning, which is a rather controversial topic in many other European countries, has been the overall objective for Danish ECEC since the introduction of a national curriculum for day care/pedagogical learning plans in 2004. In Denmark, a conceptual (hierarchical) division between learning and care is not an issue in the same way as it has been in other countries. In continuation of this, no division can be identified in the workforce profiles of preschool teachers and assisting staff in the Danish context. In many other European countries, teachers have primary responsibility for children’s learning, whereas assisting practitioners provide care. This division of labour is not seen in Denmark. The Danish endline report describe the VALUE professionel development through a proces of Learning Laboratories conducted over 8 months in a Danish municipality .
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationKøbenhavn
PublisherAarhus Universitet
Number of pages56
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Early childhood, Læring

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