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.
In 2018, Children in Scotland, Parenting across Scotland and the University of Stirling completed a feasibility study to explore whether the Open Kindergarten model could be adapted to Scotland to improve outcomes for children in the early years.
Between April 2019 and April 2020, the three partners worked with Midlothian Sure Start and the City of Edinburgh Council to pilot the project at two contrasting early years settings based in Edinburgh and Midlothian.
The pilot project involved free, twice-weekly drop-in sessions as well as community outreach work to overcome barriers to parental participation. The key objectives were 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 conducted an evaluation of the pilot project which concluded that Open Kindergarten filled a gap in early years services and had a positive impact for both parents and children.
Members of the project team have recorded a webinar to discuss key learning from the project. The film includes important insights from early years workers based in Mayfield in Midlothian and Tromsø in Norway. The film will be of interest to early years practitioners, early years managers, policy leads, and anyone interested in early years family support in Scotland.
The project was supported by the European Social Fund.
For more information, please contact David Mackay, firstname.lastname@example.org