Learning and care for the youngest refugees – a critical priority across Europe

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The war poses serious threats to the safety, healthy development, and well-being of young children in Ukraine and those who fled. The impact is enormous in the short and long-term, and the consequences of the war have a spill-over effect on the well-being of many other children in Europe as they learn about the events in Ukraine. Watch this webinar to learn about how countries are striving to provide free access to early childhood services for refugee children and families, and why the readiness of ECEC services to cater to their very specific needs is not quite there.

What was this webinar about?

14 July 2022 | Duration 60 min

Communicative activity


The trauma of life-threatening situations, the precarious conditions of life in shelters, on the move or in crammed camps, as well as settling in a foreign place produces high level of anxiety, stress and insecurity among children and their parents and caregivers. There is solid research evidence indicating how damaging such life conditions are for a child’s development and how imperative it is to counterbalance them as soon as possible through a range of measures, interventions, and services that address young children directly, but also their parents/caregivers, as well as for supporting early childhood practitioners.

The webinar addresses and discusses the priority to responsively sustain the learning and healthy development of young refugee children who fled Ukraine, by providing them with quality support through ECEC services and by supporting the key adults in their life: their parents/caregivers and the early childhood education and care professionals.

A closer look at needs, programs, priorities, barriers and possible solutions is shared based on the information collected from the countries where ISSA member organizations are actively involved in the response addressing early childhood.

Speaker panel

Mihaela Ionescu

Dr. Mihaela Ionescu is Program Director at ISSA (the International Step by Step Association), a membership association that connects professionals and organizations from European and Central Asia working in the field of early childhood development. She is an early childhood education expert, holding a BA in Education Sciences, a master’s degree in management and School Administration and a Doctorate in Education Sciences. In the past 30 years she has been working in many capacities in the education field: primary school teacher; researcher; education policy developer (curricula, early childhood national strategies, quality standards); trainer and manager of programs aiming to improve the quality of early childhood education and care services, from small to national scale. She has coordinated the development of several resources in ISSA, most of them focused on process quality and professionalism in early childhood services (see Roads to Quality, Quality Framework for Early Childhood Services for Children Under Three) and on promoting cross-sectoral coordination in early childhood systems (see the INTESYS toolkit for strengthening integration in early childhood systems and the Primokiz approach).

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