Foto del docente

Arianna Lazzari

Associate Professor

Department of Education Studies "Giovanni Maria Bertin"

Academic discipline: M-PED/03 Methodologies of Teaching and Special Education


Keywords: early childhood education and care - transitions - accessibility ECEC services - European ECEC policies - participatory action-research - professional development

 START: Sustaining TRansitions Across the Early Years

In line with European Commission priorities, the general objectives of the project are:

- to ensure a good start in education for all children, by enhancing the quality of ECEC and by ensuring that the benefits of ECEC are carried through to other school education levels;

- to support teachers to adopt new methods and tools for dealing with complex classroom realities and diversified groups of learners.

In the context of the needs identified at local and transnational level by the partners involved, the project proposal aims to DEVELOP INNOVATIVE APPROACHES, METHODOLOGIES AND TOOLS FOR FACILITATING CHILDREN’S TRANSITIONS across home, ECEC services and school institutions. Within this framework, the specific objectives of the project are:

1) to examine existing transition practices with different focuses at each project location in order to take into account the diversified needs of target groups in each context;

2) to involve teachers, families and local stakeholder in designing innovative practices for smoothening transitions, with special attention paid to the school success of children facing complex situations (eg. socio-economic disadvantage) and to the engagement of families at risk of social exclusion (eg. Roma);

3) to increase the competence of ECEC/school professionals by involving them in action-research and experimentation projects, with the support provided by experienced researchers;

4) to promote the educational innovation of ECEC and school institutions by experimenting new pedagogical approaches and educational methodologies that support children – especially those who are most at risk of school failure – in facing successfully transition processes;

5) to identify principles of good practices that could contribute to trans-national exchange and learning as well as to the improvement of educational policies at local, regional, national and EU level.

The project methodology builds on participatory action-research and on international research evidence showing that continuing professional development interventions that are integrated into professionals’ everyday practice are the most effective in enhancing educational quality and in improving children’s learning. Transnational training activities stand at the very core of the START project as they lay the foundation for the design of effective action-research and experimentation projects within ECEC/school settings and - at the same time - build a solid framework for the exchange and transferability of good practices.

The intellectual outputs of the project are published open-access at the link:


TRACKS: Transitions, Children, Kindergarten

There is robust evidence that ECEC can make a substantial contribution to cognitive, social and emotional development (Burger,2010; Melhuish,2011; Lazzari&Vandenbroeck,2012). Children from families that do not comply with middle-class ideals, are more likely to begin education without ECEC experiences. The disadvantaged children have had fewer chances to learn how to deal with the large numbers of implicit rules that reign group care.

The main project goals are:

  • to explore which aspects of daily practices contribute to reinforce inequalities in children learning processes in order to analyse these by engaging with practitioners in reflective processes (CPD)
  • the improvement of practitioners’ practices
  • to the increase of overall quality of ECEC provisions.

Consequently, a more dialogical approach is necessary. In the micro-processes of exclusion and detachment, interaction is extremely important. Competences like empathy, communication skills, open mind, positive attitude, and evident effort are frequently mentioned by parents when they are asked to name elements that can help tackle exclusion. There is empirical evidence that there is less interaction in ECEC settings with children from deprived families than with middle class children. That means that the perceptions of ECEC professionals / (future) teachers are to be taken as a starting point.

We distinguish three target groups in our project: ECEC professionals, students in teacher training institutes and ECEC institutions and their trainers/educators in general.

The three different project’s phases will be focused on each target group.

1. First phase: we will work intensively with ECEC professionals in their own contexts and daily interactions with children, by means of the video coaching technique, in different sessions. During this phase we will develop an experimental toolbox.

2. Second phase: the development of the final toolbox will be started testing it involving the students guided by their lecturers

3. Third and last phase: we will organize 'train the trainer' sessions, to promote and disseminate the final toolbox. Each country makes his own toolbox based on common starting points, objectives and pedagogical principles, which will be translated into English to get a wider audience in Europe (and outside).

The developed toolbox will contain all the necessary content concerning ECEC and poverty, diversity, a.s.o. It will contain experiences from the ECEC professionals, the students, the lecturers from the first two phases, manuals and guidelines. If possible, video footage will be added into the toolbox.

The intellectual outputs of the project are published open-access at the link: