Creating Places to Grow: Towards an Inclusive Early Childhood Development System

Article by ICDI (the International Child Development Initiatives) a Netherlands-based organisation focusing on psychosocial development of children and young people growing up in difficult circumstances .

High quality and inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is an essential foundation for all children’s successful lifelong learning, social integration, and later employability. Unfortunately, disparities in access to quality education and increasing segregation in schools start at a young age.

The Places to Grow programme unites civil society organisations working on ECEC in Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary to promote holistic and integrated Early Childhood Development (ECD) services for children from marginalised communities and ethnic minorities (e.g., Roma). The programme offers opportunities and a platform for sharing knowledge, best practices, and experience, with the intent of creating evidence for reforms and follow-up advocacy at national and European Union level.

In June 2022, a 2-day workshop in Hungary brought together the Places to Grow community to discuss inclusive ECD, cross-sectoral approaches in ECEC, inspirational practices, and capacity development opportunities. The group of professionals collectively highlighted the importance of an inclusive ECD system and services that provide equal opportunities to healthy, safe, and optimal development for all children, especially those facing adverse circumstances.

ICDI, together with workshop participants, outlined the following six topics :

  • Integration of services;
  • Importance of early years;
  • Reflective practices and quality assessment;
  • Intergenerational learning;
  • Diversity and inclusion in ECEC;
  • Learning through play.

The programme, through piloting of innovative approaches, study visits, and learning exchanges, will continue to imagine and create places to grow for all children, while building a community of inspired advocates and change-makers.

For further information you can contact Ketevan Sulava, ICDI Programme Manager,