The Transatlantic Forum on Inclusive Early Years is a joint initiative by a group of European and US-American foundations. It is a three year-initiative which will explore policies and projects supporting the early childhood development of children from migrant and low-income families in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The Forum will bring together about 40 leading political decision-makers, scientists, practitioners, civil society members, and business leaders for each of its twice-annual meetings. These stakeholders will consider the most recent research, strategies, policies, innovations, and best practices, with the aim of scaling up existing knowledge and evidence-based research.
The first meeting of the Forum took place 21-23 January 2013 in Ghent, Belgium under the title “Quality Early Childhood Services for All: Addressing Disparities in Access for Children from Migrant and Low-Income Families” and explored the following issues:
- Why is accessibility of quality early childcare a crucial issue?
- What do existing data tell us about rates of enrolment and access to quality early childhood programming for children from low-income and migrant families?
- What is known about differential access and enrolment for children from low-income and migrant families at the macro, meso and micro-levels?
- What are the primary barriers that continue to impede equal access at each of these levels, and how can they be addressed?
- What are examples of successful policies and practices that target these populations, and what can we learn from them?
- Where have challenges of scaling effective approaches been overcome, and what elements of these successes might be adopted by others?
The Meeting was officially opened by the HRH Princess Mathilde, who engaged in intensive discussions with participants on various aspects of early childcare. The Princess who is a psychology graduate and trained speech therapist showed particular interest for the program Primano www.a-primo.ch which the Jacobs Foundation has supported in the City of Berne over the last years.
The next meeting of the Forum on the topic “Workforce Preparation and Curriculum Innovations” will be hosted by the Atlantic Philanthropies and take place in New York City, USA, in July 2013. Interim Results of the Transatlantic Forum on Inclusive Early Years will be published in due time under: www.inclusive-early-years.org