The Educational Research Institute (ERI) is the central research institution in Slovenia for research in education undertaking basic research, development and applied projects on issues of current interest in all sectors of education and related areas.
ERI is divided in 8 research centres, and one of them is Developmental Research Center for Pedagogical Initiatives Step by Step (from here on, as Center). Center was established in 1997 to research, develop, initiate, implement, evaluate and promote various activities in the educational field, which support educational reform processes, support democratization processes, quality improvement and equal opportunities for all children in education in public preschools and elementary schools in Slovenia. Through these activities the Center aims to ensure equal opportunities in education for all children, involve families and community members in the educational process and support processes of quality improvement in early childhood education and care.
The Center’s programs are based on principles of democratic civil society, children’s rights and child centered approaches, contemporary knowledge of child development and learning abilities and knowledge about implementing changes into the educational system. Main Center’s activities are focused on ongoing professional development of professionals (preschool and school teachers, school counselors and principals) and assuring high quality programs in preschools and elementary schools for all children through implementation of different national and international projects, connecting professionals and schools in professional network and with on-going trainings, workshops, mentoring and consultations.
Centre has established a National Network of Step by Step Pre-schools and Primary schools (all together around 1000 pre- and primary school teachers, counselours, principals). Network’s main focus is to assure quality early childhood education and care and continuous professional development of professionals. The Network also provides Centre with opportunity to implement majority of its innovative projects and involve practicioners in participatory research activities and sharing of experiences.