Embracing achievements for all toddlers

The ToWe project is about enhancing opportunities for disadvantaged toddlers through the work carried out with early year’s practitioners to enable them to maximise the learning opportunities for disadvantaged toddlers’; as well as the tools and instruments developed to improve their provision.  However, the project is also about using a holistic approach which is all embracing and inclusive and therefore beneficial to all toddlers. The term ‘universal’ is used to describe provision and support available for all toddlers and ‘targeted’ is specific additional support, intervention and strategies used where risk factors have been identified and may cause early educational disadvantage.

To define early educational disadvantage the ToWe Project refers to the ‘risk factors’ identified within the EURYDICE document:

‘Risk Factors’ for identifying disadvantaged

EURYDICE (2009) Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe: Tackling Social and Cultural Inequalities. European Commission

“Defining at risk children this study uses OECD category ‘C/Disadvantages’ for ‘pupils with special educational needs’, namely ‘children with disadvantages stemming mainly from socio-economic, cultural and/or language factors’….. This excludes measures for children with special educational needs due to organic disabilities and/or illness requiring extended hospitalisation….. Disadvantage arising in living in rural and remote areas is included in this broad definition.” (EURYDICE, 2009:7)

1.1. Causes of early education disadvantages

“There are four complementary explanations for early education disadvantages among low income, ethnic minority and immigrant children: accumulation of socio-economic and psychological ‘risks’; lack of stimulation of cognitive and language development in family interactions; different cultural beliefs determining parenting styles and socialisation practices; linguistic and educational consequences of bilingualism.” (EURYDICE, 2009: 18)