TOY-PLUS, 2016-2018, is an EU funded research project that builds on the TOY Project which ran from 2012-2014 (www.toyproject.net). The TOY project investigated intergenerational learning (IGL) involving older adults (aged 55 and over) and young children (under 9 years). Anne Fitzpatrick and Carmel Gallagher from Social Sciences were participants in the TOY consortium and are also involved in TOY-PLUS.
The TOY project developed a conceptual framework for IGL through action research involving case studies and pilot actions for IGL practice. Thelack of training opportunities and adequate knowledge about intergenerational learning (IGL) principles and practice among practitionerswas identifiedas a major challenge to the implementation of meaningful and quality intergenerational experiences between young children and older people.
TOY-PLUS will develop, test and disseminate an innovative online curriculum and methodology (MOOC) in IGL work for practitioners in early childhood education and care (ECEC), social care and community work. It will also develop and test an IGL quality self-assessment tool (TOY Quality Stamp) with agreed dimensions of quality for local authorities and educational institutions.
The project is co-ordinated by International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) in the Netherlands and the partner organisations are: Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Beth Johnson Foundation (UK) and Linking Generations Northern Ireland (LGNI), Developmental Research Center for Pedagogical Initiatives Step by Step-DRCPI SBS (Slovenia), Azienda Speciale ReteSalute (Italy), Hellenic Open University (Greece) and Municipality of Lleida (Spain).
The training module will be piloted in five countries including Ireland in early 2018. The training programme includes plans for a transnational training event hosted by DIT in May 2018. Following piloting and evaluation the training will be made available as a MOOC, designed to reach large numbers of practitioners internationally from 2018. This will upskill practitioners to develop, manage, deliver and monitor IGL practices Europe- and even world-wide.
The impact of TOY-PLUS will be that ECEC and Social Care practitioners will develop skills and competences to deliver successful IG learning activities involving young children and older adults, paying particular attention to social integration and intercultural dialogue.