Families feel at home in school with the help of ISOTIS

Image: Anna Kolosyuk / Unsplash.com

In Greek ισότηϛ means equality, evenness, fairness, parity. ISOTIS, an EU Horizon 2020 research project, builds on the strengths and potential of culturally and linguistically diverse families, by giving them a voice in how to adapt early education systems and support services.

The central goal of the project is to combat inequalities and increase inclusiveness by looking at the multiple environments in which children live, and which interact and influence their development.

The project will propose recommendations and tools to:

  • Support families and communities in using their own cultural and linguistic resources to create safe and stimulating home environments for their children
  • Implement effective and inclusive pedagogies in early childhood education and care centres (ECECs) and in primary schools
  • Professionalise staff, centres and schools to improve quality and inclusiveness
  • Establish inter-agency coordination of support services to children and families
  • Develop policies to combat educational inequalities

One of the project’s latest publications is an inventory of promising interventions aimed at supporting ECEC and primary school professionals who are faced with issues of inclusiveness and multilingualism – the use of multiple languages – in their classroom or services. The publication includes inspiring case studies in a range of countries. It includes, for instance, the Dutch programme “The peaceable school”, which describes democratic and participatory school and classroom approaches, with a special focus on conflict resolution. Another interesting example is the English programme “Speech bubbles”, a drama programme for children aged five to seven, which addresses communication difficulties, such as reluctance to speak in class or poor English.

The project will also propose collaborative online tools and apps for parents, classrooms and professionals involved in the lives of culturally and linguistically diverse families.

ISOTIS started in January 2017 and will continue until December 2019; it includes 17 partners and 11 countries. You can find out more through its website and videos.