The ‘Places to Grow’ Programme is an initiative funded and initiated by the Porticus Foundation to put Early Childhood Development high on the policy agenda and to support quality improvement and system change in Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
The programme aims to promote coordination among ECD services for children from marginalized communities, to build knowledge of policy makers and the workforce for future greater focus on early childhood services, and to create evidence for reforms of financing of early childhood systems and follow-up advocacy at national and the European Union level.
In this programme, ICDI supports all the NGOs and municipalities by offering them capacity building pathways in inter-sectoral cooperation of ECD services, diversity and inclusion in ECEC and holistic child development using the TOY for Inclusion approach as well as lessons learned from recent international research and practice.
Adopting multi-sectoral approaches in the early years, which integrate parenting support, nutrition, health, social protection, child protection, and education, is widely recognised as the way forward to meet global challenges. Multifaceted problems require both multiple as well as aligned and well-coordinated interventions. Poverty, discrimination and increasing inequalities need to be addressed in an integrated manner in order to bring about qualitative and quantitative change. In this programme, ICDI focuses on:
- Increasing understanding, knowledge and skills of ECD service providers and local policy makers on how to catalyse whole child development through cross-sectoral cooperation.
- Establishing multi-sectoral working groups of ECD practitioners and local authorities in each targeted municipality to operationalize inter-agency cooperation.
- Supporting cross-country capacity building and peer-mentoring in Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
- Initiating innovative pilot initiatives to test and improve inter-sectoral cooperation at community level.