This two-year Erasmus+ project developed and implemented an innovative pedagogical approach based on the inclusion paradigm of education, by developing a didactic online course focused on children aged 0-6 (pre-school). Running from 2017 to 2019, the ETTEC (Early aTTention for the inclusion of children with autism spectrum disorders in Early Childhood Education and Care systems) project was funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme.
Providing teachers with accurate information and effective practical strategies is important to improve outcomes for children on the autism spectrum and their families. However, limited training opportunities have been currently available across Europe in that respect. The ETTECEC (Early aTTention for the inclusion of children with autism spectrum disorders in Early Childhood Education and Care systems) project therefore provided online training to preschool teachers so that they can better meet the needs of autistic children in inclusive schools.
The ETTECEC partnership brought together academics and professionals from various education centers and autism organisations across Europe. Those involved came from various backgrounds – both national and cultural – and had a wide set of skills. The project coordinator, Asociación Mi Hijo y Yo (Spain) worked closely with the other partners, namely: Svetovalnica za avtizem (Slovenia) and the Educational Research Institute – Pedagoški inštitut (Slovenia), the Fakultní mateřská škola Sluníčko pod střechou při Pedf UK (Czech Republic) and Schola Empirica (Czech Republic) and Autism-Europe (Belgium).
The ETTECEC online training
ETTECEC developed and implemented an innovative pedagogical approach based on the inclusion paradigm of education. It is addressed to preschool teachers who want to develop their skills to respond to the needs of children on the autism spectrum. The training can also be useful for teachers who work with children above the age of 6. The course includes different modules, all of them based on specific situations that could happen in the classroom:
- Module 1- What is autism?
- Module 2- What to observe?
- Module 3- Strategies to implement as a teacher
The ETTECEC project aimed at improving the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) systems of the partner regions, making them inclusive, and allowing children on the autism spectrum to be better prepared to enter the rest of the education system.
ETTECEC fundamental philosophy could also make it equally relevant to other stages of education where it could be successfully applied (although considering the different needs and characteristics of the learners). The online course includes different modules based on specific situations that can happen in the classroom.
To access the ETTECEC online training, visit the project Moodle platform by clicking here and register for free. Once you have created an account, the course is freely available in English, French, Spanish, Slovenian and Czech.
Impact of the ETTECEC project
Between 2017 and 2019, over twenty teachers from ten schools in Slovenia, Czech Republic and Spain have been trained in relation to autism’s needs, and in turn 270 children have directly benefited from inclusive education methods.
In the last months of 2019, hundreds of professionals, relatives, decision-makers, journalists, autism experts and other interested parties attended the four ETTECEC multiplier events held in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Las Palmas (Spain), Prague (Czech Republic) and Brussels (Belgium), aiming at raising awareness about the importance of education in autism for preschool teachers and sharing the work and expertise of the project partners to a wider audience.
Before each of these events, project partners had meetings with national, regional and local key stakeholders (such as representatives of the government, the municipality, NGOs, universities, institutions for education and/or disabilities, etc.) to discuss about the importance of sustaining the legacy of the ETTECEC training after the project’s completion.
About the Erasmus+ Programme
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.