There is a common foundation for our work, which means that all three institutions share the same values, approach to learning etc.
The major differences are size and location. Location naturally has an influence in terms of the demographics of those enrolling their children. In that regard, Harridslev and Øster Tørslev are similar, with a large proportion of middle-class parents; that is, skilled craftsmen and those employed in various private and public sector service industries. These families typically live in their own house or a rented row house or similar. In terms of ethnicity, they are predominantly from a Danish background.
The same is true at Bækkestien, although there are a greater number of families here living in apartment buildings, with ethnic minority backgrounds and on benefits than at the institutions in rural settings. In other words, there is a more diverse demographic composition at Bækkestien than at the rural institutions.
Randers Municipality is located in eastern Jutland and has approximately 98 000 inhabitants, of which approximately 63 000 live in the town of Randers.
The administration and organisation of childcare in Randers Municipality is divided into five daycare districts, each comprising 6-9 public and 15-20 independent and private institutions.
The three institutions that took part in VALUE
– Børnehuset Bækkestien, Børnehuset Solstrålen and Børnehuset Harridslev – all belong to Daycare District Northeast in Randers Municipality. This district comprises seven institutions in the northeastern area of Randers Municipality.
Børnehuset Bækkestien is located in the eastern part of Randers town and houses approximately 100 children of kindergarten age (3-5 years) and 30 of nursery age (0-3 years).
Børnehuset Harridslev is located in the village of Harridslev 7 km outside the town of Randers, housing approximately 65 children of kindergarten age (3-5 years) and 26 of nursery age (0-3 years).
Børnehuset Solstrålen is located in the village of Øster Tørslev 17 km fra Randers outside the town of Randers, housing approximately 65 children of kindergarten age (3-5 years) and 28 of nursery age (0-3 years).
The Daycare District Northeast management team comprises one head of daycare and six daycare managers.
The work with early childhood education and care is framed by The daycare act and the strengthened educational teaching plans.
We have four fundamental values: Mutual commitment to communities, Recognition, Common decency and Enjoyment.
Approach to inclusion:
Our approach to inclusion applies to all children enrolled in daycare.
Inclusion is defined as when all the children experience themselves as recognised, active and valuable participants in the community of learning.
Approach to learning:
- That children learn at all times and in all situations
- That children have different ways of learning
- That a coherent effort across every subject area enhances learning and development
- That the learning environment is designed to support the establishment of children’s paly communities
- That a mutual commitment to work together among parents and ECEC practitioners creates the optimal foundation for children’s well-being, learning and development.
Daycare District Northeast’s employees and management team have compiled a memorandum for a culture of collaboration, describing how the value ‘mutual commitment to communities’ is realised in communities of practice among employees.
This memorandum outlines five key points: Relations produce the individual, Recognition enables development, Resources release potential, Reflection challenges the taken for granted, and Theory creates coherence.
Statements include: ‘Trust is a two-way street; we must be able to count on and trust each other’; ‘Take ownership and responsibility – our success depends on each other’; ‘Diversity is a resource; we need to use and exploit all competences within the organisation – and explore areas of weakness’; ‘Everyone has a voice – all voices are legitimate.’
The VALUE project in Daycare District Northeast
All three institutions have worked on developing playground practice with a particular focus on the period 12:00-14:00.
During the project’s exploratory, planning and implementation phases, it has been important to actively involve all members of staff.
The three institutions have all appointed a ‘steering committee’ comprising management and two selected members of staff. These steering committees have taken part in both local and centralised learning labs.
It was crucial that both core practitioners and assisting practitioners were involved in the learning labs as both groups affect the implementation of pedagogical practice and thereby the creation of better learning outcomes for children. This involvement of both practitioner groups and the heavy degree of reflection involved in the learning labs has furthermore supported the District’s memorandum on collaboration, which, as mentioned, includes the statement ‘Everyone has a voice – all voices are legitimate.’
The goals were to create intimate and inclusive play communities through a firm structure delegating specific tasks to every member of staff. Some employees were tasked with facilitating or participating in children’s play, or with supporting children’s curiosity. Others were given tasks of a more practical nature, supporting children in fulfilling their physical needs or offering a comforting hug when needed.
Practical implementation also focused on employees taking turns to fulfil the various tasks involved in achieving the project’s objectives. This meant that everyone, regardless of professional background, worked with each of the tasks comprising the project.