The presentation at our last Qoc meeting has been given by Professor Dr. Mathias Urban, who holds the Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education at Dublin City University. He presented the ‘OECD’s International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study (IELS). Is this the way forward for the EU?’
2getherLAND Online is a campaign to promote partnership between children and adults for fairness and sustainability using different social media and virtual platforms in order to overcome physical distancing and still create together.
In this campaign we aim to share the opinions, needs, feelings and ideas of children and adults from all ages on the current world situation. We also aim to nurture the development of the ACT2gether community, to build a platform where people can inspire and be inspired in order to ACT2gether.
It will run until July 2020 with the following activities for all generations to experience together at home and online:
In the first strand of the campaign we have shared on April, with a series of challenges and suggestions for activities to inspire and connect people from different generations to take action together at home and online. In the difficult situation our world is facing at the moment, we try to spread small acts of kindness.
This part of the campaign has now come to an end, however, all the Acts of Kindness are still to be found on our social media!
In this strand of the campaign we will share stories of partnership and connection between generations. We will share stories of children and adults that ACT2gether towards a more fair and sustainable world. We hope that these stories are a source of inspiration and motivation for children and adults across the world!
In the third strand of the campaign, we will organize a series of facilitated online conversations between children and adults, from different regions of the world, about the issues that are dividing and connecting different generations. These conversations will be hosted by our intergenerational team.
In the last strand of the campaign we will host an online 2getherLAND! This will be a series of video tutorials, workshops, and webinars to help develop the skills of children and adults to plan, decide, communicate and ACT2gether. We will organize powerful activities and virtual gatherings led by our 2GETHERLAND community to share knowledge in many creative ways.
Explore the ACT2gether Online Campaign here!
Digital hugs from the whole ACT2gether team.
A big thank you to the EFC for allowing us to present Act2gether and be part of the kick off meeting of their Children’s Thematic Network!
Quality of Childhood at the European Parliament, on Tuesday 3rd September, 2019
“Our last Qoc meeting at the Parliament welcomed Marshall Marcus, the founder and the chairman of the Sistema Europe https://www.
This organisation gathers volunteer musical teachers, children and young people in orchestral and ensemble music-making programmes, to inspire and transform positively the lives of these children, young people & their families in communities from all sections of society.
We had the great pleasure to listen to a concert they performed in front of the Parliament.”
Brussels, 13 September 2019
Measuring what matters — according to Learning for Well-being perspectives — is essential for well-being, including for school children. Too often, however, standardized assessment in schools undermines children’s well-being rather than enabling each child to develop her or his unique potential. Yet even within the constraints of the existing system, teachers exercise creativity and empathy for their pupils’ engagement with learning and these teachers develop good practices within assessment.
A new Erasmus+ project will seek to collect 20 such good assessment practices from teachers across Europe and to share these practices in a readable and appealing publication, both in print and on line. A peer learning workshop will also be held towards the end of this fifteen month project. The project partners — the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education, the Hungarian Waldorf Federation and the Learning for Well-being Foundation — will meet five times to discuss the stimulating methodological and logistical issues involved, the first of these five already scheduled for the 29th-30th of October in Brussels.
This partnership is one more successful ERASMUS+ applications launched by or within Learning for Well-being Foundation over the past few years.
In 2015 L4WB-F joined a consortium of partners to undertake “INTESYS” a three year (November 2015 – October 2018) Forward Looking Cooperation Project co-funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Programme. The project focuses on piloting new approaches to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) systems in Europe with a view to ensuring that children and families in vulnerable situations have access to high quality ECEC provided by services that are better integrated across the different sectors (education, health, welfare, etc.), professions and across age groups and governance levels.
Children’s wellbeing in their early years is crucial and it depends tremendously on the physical, mental, social-emotional, cultural, economic, and political conditions of the environment where they live or where they were born. The conference ‘Nurturing Environments, for the wellbeing of young children and families’, organized by ISSA aims to bring this systemic and dynamic approach to building and ensuring environments where all children live, develop and learn, especially the most vulnerable and at risk.
The conference will take place in Leiden, the Netherlands on Tuesday and Wednesday June 18th and 19th, 2019. More information on the program and registration, you can find here.
Prior to the Conference, on Monday June 17th, several workshops are being offered, click here for more information.
This one-day workshop aims to facilitate the exchange of note-worthy practices in the collaboration between (young) children and adults, and to involve participants in contributing to the definition and development of a new international initiative that supports partnership between generations – for the sake of social equity and sustainability.
The theme of the workshop highlights ways for very young children to fulfil their right to be heard and to be taken seriously in discussions involving well-being outcomes for children and adults. We will dedicate particular attention to exploring the conditions required for environments to be more supportive of children’s participation, and the core capacities that enable and improve quality of relationships between children and adults.
This workshop welcomes representatives of any child-serving organisation, who wish to learn more about a partnership approach between young and adults, or who have their own experiences to share.
The workshop is roughly structured according to the metaphor of ‘head, heart and hand.’
More info and registration
Click here for more information and for registration at this pre-conference event. This event has a limited number of seats.
Date: June 17th, 2019
Time: From 10:00 to 16:00
Can learning for well-being over the life course be achieved through lifelong learning community centres in neighbourhoods? A new briefing paper, called ‘Implementing a holistic approach to lifelong learning: Community Lifelong Learning Centres as a gateway to multidisciplinary support teams’ argues that such centres can act as ‘one stop shops’ for multidisciplinary teams that respond to the unique situations of children and families. Click here to read the paper.
Produced through a collaboration between the Lifelong Learning Platform, the Educational Disadvantage Centre of the Institute of Education at Dublin City University, Cedefop and L4WB-F, the briefing paper will be launched at an event on Early School Leaving to be held in Brussels on 29 May. A day earlier, 28 May, the Learning for Well-being Foundation will chair a related working group on the ‘Wider benefits of learning.’
Eurochild, member of the L4WB Community, is organizing her annual meeting at the office of ‘KindEnGezin’, Avenue de la Porte de Hal 27, in Brussels. Participants will be expected to travel to Brussels on 16 April. The schedule for these two days event is as follows:
17 April, 9.00 until lunch time: Members Day sessions
17 April, after lunch until about 18:00: General Assembly
17 April evening: organized dinner for all participants
18 April, 9:00-15:30: Members Day sessions
Further details on the agendas will be published in end of January.
Registration will open from January 17th onwards. Click here for more information.
After the successful L4WB Community Day last year, we invited our community composed by young people and adults to participate at our annual Community Day in Brussels. After the amazing virtual launch we had for our new project called ‘Act2Gether’ in February, we were really excited to be able to continue the discussion focused on how to develop and further implement this global movement. For more information on Act2Gether, click here.
Session 1 / 9:30 – 10:45
· Why are we here, and how will we make decisions?
· What will we do for children (and adults) in the next year?
· What is ACT2GETHER, and what opportunities and challenges does it present to the community?
Session 2 / 11:10 – 12:30
· Who are the children and adults we want to support, and what do they need?
· How do we as a community act together – what as a collective do we have to offer?
· In what ways can we best bridge our resources and opportunities, for the needs of those we want to serve?
Session 3 / 13:30 – 15:00
· In what ways can we align our interests and activities with the ACT2GETHER initiative?
· What new initiatives can we collaborate on to strengthen the impact of ACT2GETHER?
Session 4 / 15:30 – 16:30
· What ideas show greatest feasibility, leverage and carry greatest enthusiasm?
· What should we collectively prioritize as activities?
Session 5 / 17:00 – 18:00
· What do we commit to individually and collectively?
· What are the next steps?
· What do I keep from this experience?
Helping, sharing, collaborating… are not words generally associated with adolescents. Drawing on insightful new neurocognitive research, however, Professor Eveline Crone – winner of the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands – will highlight the potential for learning and social-affective engagement during adolescence that can be effectively supported if understood.
Organized by the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group and the Learning for Well-being Foundation, this QoC session, taking place from 12.30-14.30, will be followed immediately by a more intimate ‘Post QoC’ discussion with the speaker hosted by L4WB-F.
If you wish to attend this inspiring talk and sharing of experiences, please do send an email to Michiel Matthes.
The Conference Strengthening integration within early childhood systems – why and how? will bring together European and country policy makers and programs implementers to discuss about the rationale for strengthening integration in the early childhood systems and about ways in which it can be achieved. The conference will build on the results and the policy recommendations coming from INTESYS, an Erasmus+ Key Action 3 pilot project implemented in four European countries: Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia.
The Conference will take place at the Royal Library in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday April 2nd, 2019, from 10.30 till 16.00 o’clock.
It will provide a platform for learning about the achievements and challenges in the four different pilots from quite diverse country contexts, and for discussing what policies at European and national/local level are needed to create a more enabling environment for integration within early childhood systems.
INTESYS proposed and piloted an innovative Reference Framework and the Toolkit Towards Integrated Early Childhood Systems- Building the Foundations. Both are aimed at supporting the early childhood actors at national/local level in their efforts to increase the cooperation and coordination among early childhood sectors and services, to better serve the young children and their families, especially the most disadvantaged. For more info on the INTESYS project, click here.
On Tuesday December 4th, 2018 another Quality of Childhood (QoC) session took place at the European Parliament in Brussels.
A ‘Republic for children’ where children and adults recognize each other as competent partners sounds like a contemporary idea resonant with L4WB perspectives, but Janusz Korczak created such a republic within a Jewish orphanage in a Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation that ultimately killed Korczak and the children concerned.
Helma Brouwers, Olga Middendorp and Theo Cappon from the Janusz Korczak Association in the Netherlands argued that Korczak’s ideas are more relevant than ever, at this Quality of Childhood session. The session at the European Parliament was followed by a ‘Post QoC’ discussion with the speakers afterwards.
The Lifelong Learning Week began on 3 December and brought the 42 member organisations of the Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP), who address formal and non-formal education throughout the life course and across Europe, to Brussels. Many events took place at the European Parliament, including the Learning for Well-being Foundation’s QoC and Post QoC. The L4WB Foundation chairs the LLLP working group on the Wider Benefits of Learning and convened a meeting to embark on a ten year plan to revitalise education, at which the European Parents Association, the European Vocational Training Association and the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education provided stimulating contributions.
The Learning for Well-being Foundation and Eurochild are partnering in creating a training programme that helps children and adults partner in initiatives that support the right of children to be heard and taken seriously.
The programme is aimed at equipping children with the necessary skills to be able to participate in consultation processes, to represent others and to facilitate group discussions where children and adults are present.
The first activities have been piloted in Eurochild events such as their Conference which took place from 29 to 31 October 2018, in Opatja, Croatia.
Children flourish through artistic expression, so cutting budgets for art programmes undermines children’s development, as argued during the Quality of Childhood (QoC) session at the European Parliament, organized with the Alliance for Children European Network Group on 4 September 2018 and chaired by MEP Julie Ward.
Ruth Churchill Dower from EarlyArts, UK, explained compellingly why schools need art programmes. Iina Berden, representing Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, described putting imaginative policies into effective practice, with feedback from children. L4WB perspectives encouraged these insights, also at the informal Post QoC gathering thereafter, that enabled deeper exploration and wider sharing.
If you wish to attend future Quality of Child sessions taking place at the European Parliament, you can send an email to Michiel Matthes.
The CATS Forum 2018 (Children as Actors Transforming Society) was dedicated to creating safety in partnership, as way to address violence against children. The forum gathered almost 300 participants, of which about half were under 18 years old. The heart intention of this forum’s edition was to equip participants with tools that can help them deal with violence through partnership between children and adults.
This year’s theme was ‘Safe Togehter’, which was approached through the ‘Protective Environment Framework’ (PEF) developed by UNICEF, which offers eight key focuses for ending all violence against all children. CATS displayed these eight areas as sections of a colourful umbrella. If one part of the umbrella is not working, the rain will get through and the child will not be protected.
The framework was used in workshops, group activities and social times throughout the week. There was one workshop for each section of the umbrella, allowing smaller groups to discuss the topic, delve into personal issues and come up with solutions. Parallel arts and skills workshops aimed to help participants put what they learnt in the PEF workshops into practice. These included sessions on dance, poetry and on helping children speak out. Lauriann from the UK said, ‘I have learnt so much from the workshops. I can take ideas to help me with my job. They also helped me understand more about other cultures.’
A series of Together Times for the whole forum built community and allowed children and adults to work together. One of the highlights was the Human Library, in which participants volunteer to share their stories of combatting violence against children with small groups. Many hard-hitting and inspirational stories were shared, from overcoming bullying to supporting victims of violence in different countries.
Both children and adults developed their knowledge and skills to implement actions to fulfil the strategies needed for a safer environment for children. At the same time, they were supported in imagining and planning their own social action. With the aim of addressing the root causes of violence against children in their local environments. Through an ongoing collaboration between children and adults.
Here you can find the year book with all the activities of CATS 2018 (please, scroll down to ‘other documents’).
The annual Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP) event in Vienna was the usual vibrant interchange between 43 networks around formal, non-formal and informal education that together cover 50,000 institutions. The Learning for Well-being Foundation was invited to offer an energizing moment at the LLLP General Assembly, led by Daniel Kropf, that encouraged those present to make decisions and take action through a process — facilitated by music and journal notes — that comprised of the four steps of ‘Stillness-Lift-Choose-Connect.’
The Learning for Well-being Foundation was also invited to chair the LLLP working group on the ‘Wider benefits of Learning’ that emphasizes education as key to social cohesion and well-being, as well as employability. The ten organizations that attended this meeting represented students, parents, school heads, volunteers and migrants from across Europe as well as special pedagogies such as Steiner Waldorf education, in addition to vocational training and adult education. All these representatives spoke eloquently about the principles of Learning for Well-being, and notably about unique potential, relationships, diversity, engaged participation and feedback.
Click here to read more about the Lifelong Learning Platform.
On June 5th, 2018 another Quality of Childhood (QoC) session took place in the European Parliament in Brussels. The organizers as usual were the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group and the Learning for Well-being Foundation. This time a formal forum and a large audience was provided for Nancy Mannix of the Palix Foundation in
Canada, for her experiences of how “New discoveries in the field of brain science can contribute significantly to a healthy childhood and the well-being of children. Presentation of an initiative in Alberta, Canada.” The striking lesson here was that this Initiative was able to exert major policy influence so that all legislation in Alberta is required to explore consequences for local children and the contexts for childhood in the province.
Nancy also recounted how the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative emerged in order to share knowledge effectively about the development of human brain from birth onwards, to enable children to grow up in healthier and happier ways that will move individuals and societies away from the negative consequences of uninformed behavior.
Immediately after the Qoc, in the more intimate setting of the Post QoC, Nancy Mannix shared a film about the Alberta Initiative that stimulated a discussion of “What activities can civic society undertake to help support systems to become more competent, i.e. more focused on the development of the
unique potential of each and every child in its care?” The exchange became intercontinental as those present contributed their comparative experience from Europe more widely and from Finland in particular. The basis of the discussion consisted of micro-experiences with children, families and communities that resonated on both continents.
‘Transforming ourselves,’ ‘transforming relationships,’ ‘transforming societies’ and ‘expanding research’ – these current themes of the Learning for Well-being Foundation generate the questions ‘Can we transform ourselves/ relationships/ societies — and can we expand the related research — and if we can then how do we stimulate such transformations and expand research?’ During both this QoC and Post QoC session we tried to answer these questions, with the help of the input of Nancy Mannix and lessons learned from the Alberta Initiative.
From June 25th till 26th, 2018 the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) is organizing an international training on using the European Quality Framework for early childhood education and care. The training will take place in Leiden, The Netherlands. Click here for more information and registration.
Measuring the long-term social and economic value of investing in children,’ an event held on 7 June at Eurochild in collaboration with the Bertelsmann Foundation, further extended this discussion in the context of the Childonomics initiative that develops an economic model informed by the costs of different approaches to support children and families.
Click here for more info.
An event with this title was held at Eurochild on 6 June, 2018 co-organized by the Learning for Well-being Foundation. Nancy Mannix of the Palix Foundation offered her experience of transformative investment for children in Canada, as a springboard into discussion of related issues in European settings.
Panels composed of speakers from relevant Directorate Generals within the European Commission — Education, Health, Employment and Regional affairs — included representatives of civil society organizations such as COFACE Families, EuroHealthNet, the European association that responds to people with disabilities and the Social Platform.
Eurochild’s comprehensive report on this event can be found here, and should be read in the context of Learning for Well-being’s emphasis on competent systems that enable effective decision making, including decisions about investing in children.
Click here for more info on the event.
From 14 to 19 May, in Luxembourg, the L4WB Foundation, in partnership with the European Peer Training Organisation, led another seminar of the project “Bouge et Décroche ton Potentiel” (Move and Land your Potential).
The project gives the opportunity to 4 groups of European young people who are not in education or training, to explore their unique potential and identify their qualities and the competences they have acquired through their life experience. Each group is aged 16 to 25, and participates in a residential seminar in which an adapted version of the programme “Potential for Life” is offered.
By the end of the seminar, participants develop a personal development project, which is then coached by local youth workers. In certain cases, participants have the opportunity to live a traineeship experience abroad. This project represents a rich opportunity to continue piloting and developing the programme “Potential for Life” and its potential application to young people who have been away from school, and who seek a sense of purpose through professional development.
On 17 and 18 May, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Sport, Youth and Culture organized a conference in Brussels on Inspiring Change: The governance of school education. The conference explored the key policy messages articulated by the ET 2020 Working Group (2016 to 2018) that included members of the Learning for Well-being Community.
The conference resonated with themes highlighted during the Learning for Well-being Community Day on 24 April 2018, notably ‘Is education about acquiring and applying information, or is it about the formation of the whole person? If it’s the latter than the teacher should model her or his own self-transformation’.
Click here to read the report on the content of the Learning for Well-being Community Day.
Luís Manuel Pinto (Educational Programmes) from the L4WB Foundation completed last May a one-year advanced practitioner training in Social Presencing Theatre (SPT). Based on Theory U, this methodology combines movement and mindfulness to help make visible the inner dynamics of social systems.
The competences acquired in the course will enable the L4WB Foundation to expand its ability to propose embodied learning experiences, and propose body and movement practices that cultivate and strengthen core human capacities. The SPT methodology also holds great potential to explore the creative tension between individual differences (inner diversity) and group dynamics. For more information about SPT methodology and its applications to Learning for Well-being, contact Luís.
From April 30 through May 3, 2018 a group of 13 practitioners from Europe and North America met in Kalamazoo, Michigan (U.S.A.) Representing a variety of disciplines and fields of interest, they came to learn together and reflect on the L4WB Foundation’s approach to core capacities for children and to help set strategic directions for the initial phase of the research project undertaken with the UNICEF Office of Research and co-sponsored by the L4WB Foundation and the Fetzer Institute. Hosted at the Fetzer Institute’s Retreat Center, the convening was deemed a successful launch in validating the research plan and gathering resources and commitments from participants.
A further description of the research project can be found here.
On April 24th, 2018 all community members and friends of the L4WB Foundation gathered for celebrating achievements, connecting with each other and with various activities. To commit for another year of supporting Learning for Well-being, each in our own unique way. This year, we have focused on the theme of ‘Competent Systems’: exploring civil society’s contribution to support systems serving children and families. By cultivating the capacities of individuals and organizations to function in an integrated way.
Click here for the reporting on the L4WB Community Day 2018.