Pan-European childcare Conference

Childcare students and lecturers from around the EU have been visiting Wales. Groups from Germany, Finland and Belgium spent a week at Coleg Gwent’s Ebbw Vale campus. As well as attending childcare lectures they visited schools and childcare settings in the area.

Students also spent two days on placement in local primary schools. The visit was organised as part of the EU-funded Comenius Project involving Ebbw Vale Campus at Coleg Gwent and vocational colleges in Limburg in Germany, Joensuu in Finland and Opwijk in Belgium.

The Comenius Project began in September 2006. It is a three-year scheme and was set up to broaden the horizons of students and lecturers, and enable them to find out more about childcare practices in other countries in the EU.

As well as visiting other countries, students, teachers and lecturers taking part can exchange information and ideas on a designated website. The students can also email each other, and there are plans for video conferencing facilities to be set up.

Childcare lecturer Michael Bender from Limburg, Germany, said, “It has been very interesting to see the different attitudes towards childcare in our different countries and to visit the schools and childcare providers in the area.”

Childcare Studies lecturer Jane Carver, from Ebbw Vale Campus, said, “The project is all about building up relationships with our counterparts in other countries.”

Lecturer Christine Robertson, said, “Our students really enjoy being part of this project. It has broadened their horizons to be able to meet and exchange emails with students from other countries. They have already shown enhanced confidence and social skills as a result of the project.”