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Open Kindergarten

Open Kindergartens (OK) are a long-standing concept in parent support in the Nordic countries. Groups of parents, carers and their young children meet regularly in family centres and are supported by highly-qualified early years staff who work alongside specialists to develop parents’ skills, confidence and knowledge.

The first phase of the OK project involved Children in Scotland, Parenting across Scotland and the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection at the University of Stirling. The project partners undertook a literature review and conducted a wide range of interviews with parents, carers and professionals to produce a series of recommendations exploring how the Open Kindergarten approach could be adopted in Scotland.

The OK project is currently in its second phase. Working alongside Midlothian Sure Start and the City of Edinburgh Council, the Open Kindergarten model is being trialled at two early years settings in Edinburgh and Midlothian. The pilot projects will run from April 2019 to March 2020.

The project involves free, twice-weekly drop-in sessions as well as community outreach work to overcome barriers to parental participation. The key objectives of the project are to reduce social isolation among parents of very young children (0-3 years), support effective parenting, and contribute to optimising child wellbeing in health, learning and development.

The University of Stirling is undertaking an evaluation of the pilot projects to determine the effectiveness of the Open Kindergarten approach and make assessments about scalability. A project report and evaluation will be available in April 2020.

The project is supported by the European Social Fund.

For more information, please contact David Mackay,

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