Workers from the first Play Hub in Ukraine participate in a learning exchange in Slovakia

The Play Hub staff and Local Action Team (LAT) members from the first Play Hub in Kyiv, Ukraine, participated in a 3-day learning exchange in Slovakia visiting Wide Open School-Skola Dokoran Play and Learning Hubs. This event, which took place in September 2023, marked a significant milestone for the newly launched Play Hub in Kyiv, established in July 2023 and coordinated by Labor and Health Social Initiatives (LHSI), a longstanding partner of ICDI.

A team of eight Ukrainian specialists dedicated to children’s rights protection had the opportunity to explore and learn from established Play and Learning Hubs in Slovakia, including those in Presov, Poprad, Kosice, and Tatranska Lomnica. These Play and Learning Hubs are based on the TOY for Inclusion approach, which promotes the integration of refugee children and families in the host country.

These visits, which also focused on monitoring and evaluation, gave the Ukrainian team the opportunity to hear about how the Play Hubs are working in different settings such as schools and charity centres. The group engaged in informal conversations with children, parents, and staff, gaining firsthand insights into the impact of these services on the lives of families and children while observing valuable good practices that may serve as inspiration and guidance for their own Play Hub.

During the last day of the learning exchange, a quality assessment discussion was held using the Quality Assessment Tool for Early Childhood Development Services for Young Children (ECD-QUAT). Around 30 staff members from all ten Play Hubs in Slovakia gathered in Spissky Hrhov to engage in critical self-reflection and identify good practices. Furthermore, there was an opportunity for staff from different Play and Learning Hubs to exchange ideas. Two parallel sessions of the ECD-QUAT were held and the team from the Play Hub in Kyiv was able to participate in the Ukrainian-speaking group.

We want to offer a special thank you to Wide Open School – Skola Dokoran, for their contribution to the success of this learning exchange and to all of the Play and Learning Hubs in Presov, Poprad, Kosice, Tatranska Lomnica and Spissky Hrhov for their hospitality and generosity in sharing their experiences.