Direzione Didattica di Vignola

The DD Vignola consists of 4 primary schools – attended by 1223 children aged 6 to 11 and of 7 preschools (scuole dell’infanzia) attended by 632 children aged 3 to 6. With a total of 1855 children attending its schools, the DD Vignola is one of the biggest school institutions within the Emilia-Romagna Region.

The main areas on which DD Vignola focuses its attention are:

Cooperation with families and local community services

Beyond parents’ meetings that are regularly held throughout the school year, families are engaged in the life of the schools by sharing educational responsibilities with professionals (Patto di Corresponsabilita) and by actively supporting schools’ initiatives through self-organised activities and open events carried out within the local community (Associazione di Comunita Piccoli Passi – Camminare con lu scuola di Vignola). In addition, initiatives for supporting parenthood are organised in collaboration with local health and social services (e.g. organisation of professional conferences for parents).

Inclusion of children with special needs

There are currently 60 special needs children enrolled in DD Vignola. They all attend integrated classes and receive additional support provided by educators, as well as availing of educational projects that are specifically tailored to their needs.

Inclusion of children with migrant background

460 children with a background other than Italian attend the classes at the moment. In order to facilitate their welcoming and inclusion, a specific project focusing on intercultural education has been set up (A scuola nessuno e straniero).

Educational continuity between 0-3 services (“nidi”) – preschool – primary school and lower secondary school

A specific school committee (consisting of 3 preschool teachers, 6 primary school teachers and 3 lower secondary school teachers) has been created in order to elaborate practice for supporting children and families in dealing with transitions from one educational level to the next. The initiatives currently implemented to favour smooth transitions are: inter-professional meetings in order to plan joint initiatives during transitions years (children’s visits and exchanges with pupils attending the next school level), the use of pedagogical documentation as a tool for sharing information about children’s learning and socialising processes with families and professionals across transitions, individual and collective meetings with parents to accompany transitions between school levels.

The use of information and learning technologies

Interactive white boards are available in all school buildings and the school website it is regularly updated with recent projects and initiatives and their documentation.

Children’s familiarisation with books and storytelling from an early age

In order to promote a positive attitude of children toward reading and storytelling, “reading nests” have been created in each preschool of DD Vignola. They represent cosy corners for children to hide and read books or tell stories.

Cultural activities (e.g. junior choir and musical activities)

Since 2005, a project of intergenerational mentoring has been carried out in collaboration with university students for supporting the social inclusion of those children who are experiencing relational difficulties. Currently, 55 university students are volunteering within this project by mentoring young children in DD Vignola pre- and primary schools.

Throughout the years, DD Vignola carried out substantial investments in the continuing professional development of teachers and on their ongoing pedagogical support. For this reason, a scientific advisory boards was established 10 years ago in order to avail of the advice of professional experts for the ongoing improvement of educational and didactic methodologies.

KOLVA kindergarten

KOLVA vzw is the legal representative and board of different catholic schools in Aalst.

The school involved in START is SintMaarten Institute. This preschool and primary school is located at the Moorselbaan in Aalst. The school consists out of 1 director, 2 care coordinators, 11 kindergarten teachers, 16 primary school teacher, 2 teachers in gymnastics, 1 administrative staff member and 1 ICT staff member.

122 toddlers are enrolled in the kindergarten and 210 pupils in the primary school. Most of these children live in Aalst and approximately 20 % of the children are from ethnic-cultural minorities. In Aalst, 8,8 % of the children are born in poor families, which is higher than the average in the Flemish community of Belgium. This number is increasing every year.

The school is located in one of the poorest areas of Aalst. That is why the school invested in cost policies for parents living in poverty and a policy on the use of languages. The school developed many cooperative teaching methods in order to co-construct expertise and knowledge on working with children who do not speak the dominant language of the school, Dutch.

The mission and vision is built upon the vision of the catholic umbrella organisation in which the child is seen and positively approached as a unique personality and as part of a close, caring community.

VBJK Centre for Innovation in the Early Years

Our mission

VBJK is all about Inovation in the Early Years


Innovation for VBJK means working continuously on quality. We keep track of evolutions on the workfloor and in research, we follow-up in national and international changes and keep moving so that basic provision for young children can keep on growing. VBJK is committed to support, improve, deepen and fine-tune the daily work of so many professionals.

We do this by connecting all involved parties: children, parents, practitioners, researchers, policymakers and all possible relevant organisations. We also do this in our coaching projects, our product development and our research. VBJK always looks for work on the crossroads between practice, policy and research. Every innovation stands on its own but is, at the same time, embedded in the larger picture. Here you can see how we work, both on the national and the international level.

Innovation in ECEC

VBJK gets engaged in basic provision for young children and families:

Good basic services of early childhood education and care (ECEC) are places where children feel safe and cared for, where they get a sense of belonging, where they can develop all aspects of their identity and from where they can go discover the world. In such services, families are welcomed and invited to write their story, together with others. That is why these places are so fundamentally important. They support the education at home and play a major role in society.

The Early Years

Young children are VBJK’s first target group. In our work with professionals, children (0 – 12 years) and their families are our main concern. We commit ourselves to every child, regardless of gender, background, language, religion, colour of skin, need, culture, political or other conviction, sexual preference, home situation, social position or any other circumstance. You can read more on this in our vision, our values.


Katrien_1Katrien Van Laere works in VBJK, Centre for Innovation in the Early Years. She finalized a PhD study on conceptualisations of care and education in ECEC in the Ghent University, Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy. For this study she organised focusgroups for parents of young children who are transitioning to preschool and preschool staff to discuss meanings of care and education. Whether in pre-primary education or childcare, high inclusive pedagogical quality and social justice has always been one of her main interests. Linked to this issue, she is also committed to parental involvement, feminist ethics of care and professionalization. Katrien stands her ground in national and international research. She is experienced in coaching processes of innovation and has been making meaningful pedagogical material throughout the projects she’s engaged in, such as Wanda and ecce ama!


Caroline_1 (2)Caroline Boudry worked for several years as a child practitioner in childcare. Her talent, her drive and enthusiasm to work with children in art and creative activities, mixed with a constant focus on high quality pedagogical interaction and respect for diversity, brought her to VBJK. Her commitment and experience in coaching processes of innovation, and issues of reflective practice and pedagogical documentation. In VBJK, Caroline has been working among other things on the OKIDDO column: for almost 30 years, this column on pedagogical activities for children 0-4 years has inspired many practitioners. She also worked on many films and books, never losing focus on rich interaction with children. Many of VBJK’s photo materials clearly carry her signature.

Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Primary Corby

Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Primary School opened its door in 1943. Currently, there are around 400 pupils at our school aged from 4 to 11.

The school is part of a wonderful community which includes our local Parish Church with whom we share our school site. We welcome children and families from all faiths and backgrounds. Although we are situated in a busy, expanding town, the extensive school grounds mean that we have lots of space to play and learn – both indoors and outdoors! We are a welcoming and happy community and our door is always open to those who want to come and visit us.


Rockingham Primary School


Rockingham’s mission is to move towards being outstanding within 3 years and to achieve the highest academic results within our local area.  We will do this through commitment to high quality all round education for all.


Our vision is to develop fully the talents and potential of each pupil by fostering reflective and resilient lifelong learners.  We want all our pupils to become responsible, engaged, successful and confident young adults capable of playing a positive and active role in society.

To fulfil our vision we have exacting standards of all our staff and, as such, we expect a high degree of accountability to:

  • Commit to delivering excellence and a culture of no excuses so that every child can achieve
  • Provide high quality teaching based on a thorough knowledge of our pupils
  • Develop and maintain a curriculum which encourages joyful enquiry, participation and high aspiration
  • Develop an ethos of solution not problem
  • Have an enthusiastic and energetic commitment to education and a determination to ensure every pupil is applying him or herself to the best of their ability
  • Take full advantage of the CPD opportunities offered through the DRET network
  • Ensure that all teaching is at least good

The Vision of Rockingham Primary School

At Rockingham Primary School our vision is it to develop fully the talents and potential of each pupil by fostering reflective and resilient lifelong learners.  We want all our pupils to become responsible, engaged, successful and confident young adults capable of playing a positive and active role in society.

Children work towards their always bands for each house team colour.

At Rockingham Primary School we aim for all children to be:

Ruby – Responsible

Emerald – Engaged

Sapphire – Successful

Citrine – Confident

Kindergarten Plavček and Primary School Tišina, Slovenia

The Primary  School Tišina which consists of three units there are 395 children and 68 employees. That includes pedagogical workers, administration workers and technical staff.

Public institution Primary School Tišina has a compulsory education program. Besides that, several projects are taking place during each school year. Since the year 2000 the school participates in FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education)  international project: ‘Eco-School as the way of living’ and since the year 2011 we have had the title of ‘Cultural School’ that is given to schools that do more than usual to raise the cultural awareness of children.  Emphasis is given to the preservation of cultural traditions as folk dances and singing. One of the fields in which our pupils have great international results is logic and mathematics competitions: LEFO and Genius Logicus.

The kindergarten joined the KZK Methodology in the school year 1999/2000. It started with three groups and later expanded to six.

The work of the kindergarten and the school is very connected. Pupils present their work to children in kindergarten and the children enrich the school life with their activities.

We enable children to learn skills and competences that will help them for the rest of their lives. We support them by the recognition and awareness of their strengths and growth. We offer them support by the formation of their self-esteem, independence, responsibility, critical thinking and their competences for teamwork.

The life and work at school and in kindergarten is based on mutual responsibility, collaboration and development of the culture concerning the dialogue with parents and the rest of the community. We consider the child`s individual differences in development and learning. We professionally support and follow the child`s learning and development and take care for the child`s well being.



Primary school Tišina

Primary school Tišina

Kindergarten Plavček

Kindergarten Plavček


Educational Research Institute (ERI)

The Educational Research Institute (ERI) is the central research institution in Slovenia for research in education. It undertakes basic research, development and applied projects on issues of current interest in all sectors of education and related areas. Centre for quality in education Step by Step, is one of the 8 research centres operating within ERI. It was established to research, develop, initiate, implement, evaluate and promote various activities in the educational field, which support educational reform processes in public schools in Slovenia.

The Center’s programs are based on principles of democratic civil society, children’s rights and child centered approaches, contemporary knowledge of child development and learning abilities and knowledge about implementing changes into the educational system. Main Center’s activities are focused on ongoing professional development and assuring high quality programs in preschools and elementary schools for all children; trainings for preschool and school teachers, school counselors and principals and connecting them in professional learning communities and networks. Centre is strongly focused in the action research, supporting ECEC professionals in exploring and researching their practice.

With long tradition in researching concept of soft transition between different educational environments, the focus within the START project will be supporting ECEC professionals from OŠ Tišina to explore possiblities and develop new ways of soft transition for Romani children from home to preschool and later in primary school.

The Education Department (EDU) of Bologna University (UNIBO)

The Education Department (EDU) of Bologna University (UNIBO) consists of 85 professors and researchers belonging to four subject areas – cultural anthropology, pedagogy, psychology and sociology – and pursuing interdisciplinary research objectives. The main lines of research developed by EDU include:

  • early childhood education and care policy and practices, institutional contexts, pedagogies and curriculum, practitioners’ professionalism, initial professional preparation and in-service development, quality evaluation tools;
  • innovative educational strategies promoting social inclusion in contexts of diversity (intercultural pedagogy and practices);
  • methodologies and methods for investigating children’s learning and socialisation processes in ECEC and school institutions.

The EDU Department collects the legacy of a long standing pedagogical tradition connoting ECEC research in the local area (Emilia-Romagna Region and Municipalities) and it is one of the most important pioneers of the field world-wide, with over 30 years of teacher training, research and counselling experience. The peculiarity characterising ECEC research carried out within the Department is a strong link to the needs arising out of the social context within which educational institutions and practitioners are operating. This unfolds in bilateral agreements establishing ongoing cooperation between the School of Psychology and Education – hosted within the Department – and the local authorities and schools in the surrounding area. These agreements relate specifically to practitioners’ and teachers initial professional preparation (eg. placement activities in ECEC institutions/schools) and ongoing professional development (eg. in-service courses provided by academic staff to practitioners and teachers).

BalduzziLucia Balduzzi is Associate Professor at the School of Psychology and Education where she teaches BA courses on Play-based Educational Methodologies and Organisation of Learning Environments. Her research focuses on the innovations occurring in the ECEC sector by investigating the relations between institutions, educational policies and delivery models. Her recent work focuses specifically on educational continuity between pre-school and primary school institutions, which is explored in relation to pedagogical approaches to transitions as well as in relation to teachers’ professionalization across the ECEC and compulsory school education field (Lazzari & Balduzzi, 2013; 2014).


LazzariArianna Lazzari is Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Education Department of Bologna University. She has been working in the field of ECEC for over ten years, gaining professional and academic experience both in Italy and abroad (UK, Ireland, Sweden). Her research focuses mainly on professionalism and professional development of practitioners working in early childhood settings across Europe as well as on ECEC policy developments in cross-national perspective. Recently, she has been involved in the Italian case study on ECEC within the H2020 project ‘INNOSI’ and participated – as a country-expert for Italy – to the ‘Study on the effective use of ECEC  in preventing early school leaving’.

Relevant publications:

Lazzari, A. & Balduzzi L. (2013) ‘Bruno Ciari and educational continuity: The relationship from an Italian perspective’. In Moss, P. (eds.) Early Childhood and Compulsory Education. Reconceptualising the relationship, pp. 149-173. London: Routledge.

Lazzari, A. & Balduzzi, L. (2014) ‘The relationship between ECE and CSE in the training field. The Italian case.’ In Cloos, P., Hauenschild, K., Pieper, I. & Baader, M. (eds.) Elementar- und Primarpädagogik. Internationale Diskurse im Spannungsfeld von Institutionen und Ausbildungskonzepten, pp. 67 – 82. Heidelberg: Springer.

Lazzari, A., Giovannini, V. & Pinelli, G. (2014) ‘Ripensare la professionalità dell’insegnate nella scuola dell’infanzia, primaria e secondaria in una prospettiva di continuità’. In AA.VV. (a cura di) La professionalità dell’insegnante: valorizzare il passato e progettare il futuro, pp. 403-418. Roma: Aracne.