Elmer is a community-based preschool for children between 0 and 3,5 years old, with locations in 4 regions in Brussels: Schaarbeek, Anderlecht, St-Jans-Molenbeek and Brussels Centre.
In the nineties the employment and integration sector identified many barriers for parents who needed preschool for their child when they got a job offer or followed temporarily employment and language courses. Mainstream preschools were not sufficiently accessible and flexible to address the needs of these parents who are often living in disadvantaged circumstances. In response Elmer started as a preschool based on the principles of respect for diversity and believing in the positive growth of people.
Since the start it has been characterized by a participatory approach in which children, parents, and the ECEC staff belong and make meaning. Elmer reaches a social mix of families in the services and additionally offers employment opportunities for low-qualified people, often recruited out of the group of parents.