DigiChild Erasmus+ project

The title of this Strategic Cooperation project is "Developing Teachers’ Skills to Educate Pre-School Children with and Through Digital Technologies". The project runs March 1, 2021 - February 28, 2023. The total grant amount is 253,324 EUR.


  • Narva College of the University of Tartu (lead partner)
  • Heidelberg University of Education (Germany)
  • University of Primorska (Slovenia)
  • University of Latvia (Latvia)
  • Rakvere Rohuaia Kindergarten (Estonia)
  • Vrtec Koper Kindergarten (Slovenia) 
  • CreaKids Kindergarten (Latvia)

The official informaiton about the committee's positive decision is available on webpage.

DigiChild events

The DigiKid project has a series of events. The main aim of these events to share the accumulated DigiKid experience with the target audiences of pre-school teachers who are interested in broadening their skills in terms of using digital technologies. 

The events include four professional development courses, one international professional development course, two international conferences that embrace over 200 participants. Each country partner will offer at least one professional development course for the pre-school teachers during the project lifetime.

On 10-11 January, 2023, Narva College of the University of Tartu and Rakvere Rohuaia Kindergarten held a professional development course for in-service teachers "Development of Digital Competence in Pre-School Education".

The seminar was attended by 25 kindergarten teachers interested in the development of digital competence, how to make things work in the classroom, how to support child’s learning with and through technology, and how to help children achieve digital balance and resist digital addiction.

The training course focused on the active implementation of the theoretical concepts and practical issues, including the theoretical framework DigCompEdu; the theory of computational thinking, computing without computers, the smart and age-appropriate use digital tools and robotics in kindergarten.

Participants particularly enjoyed clear theoretical introduction of the concept of digital competence. This will let them in the future to meaningfully integrate digital tools and approaches into everyday pedagogical process.

On 5th and 6th January 2023, the Faculty of Education of the University of Primorska, in cooperation with Kindergarten Koper, organised the professional development course for in-service teachers "Development of Digital Competences in Pre-School Education".

27 participants attended the seminar, including teachers from four public local kindergartens interested in the development of digital competence and representatives of the state Professional Institute for Education.

The training course focused on the active implementation of the theoretical concepts and practical issues, including the theoretical framework DigCompEdu; the theory of computational thinking, computing without computers, the smart and age-appropriate use digital tools and robotics in kindergarten.

Participants particularly enjoyed clear theoretical introduction of the concept of digital competence. This will let them in the future to meaningfully integrate digital tools and approaches into everyday pedagogical process.

The course "Development of Digital Competences for Professionals in Child Day Care Facilities" took place between October 2022 and January 2023 at the University of Education Heidelberg. It was designed for the target group of professionals in day care centres; about 22 professionals from municipal institutions and one institution from a private provider took part in the 30-hour training. The training consisted of three modules. The last of which was divided into two parts, which focused on the practical aspects. In the theoretical part, the professionals gained knowledge in the areas of developmental psychology, the digital world of children, the risks and concerns in the use of digital media by children, the legal situation and further topics. The theoretical input was broken up by a large number of exercises with practical relevance.  

In the practical part, the professionals were able to gain initial experience and practical approaches, for example in the areas of "computing without computers", "robots" and "stop-motion production". During an evaluation with the professionals, it emerged that the need for practical content and the opportunity to try out techniques and tools was particularly high among professionals. They would also like to have a follow-up meeting after half a year to discuss what has been implemented in the day-care centres and what their experiences have been.

The training will continue through a project in cooperation with the city of Heidelberg and offered to all local day care centres. In this way, the training will be implemented permanently.

From 09.01. - 23.01.2023 the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art of the University of Latvia, in cooperation with the private preschool CreaKids, organised the professional development course for in-service teachers " Preschool Teachers' Digital Competence " (IzglT033).

30 participants from  17 public local kindergartens completed 16 hours  course development of digital competence and representatives of the state Professional Institute for Education.

The course aimed to improve preschool teachers’ digital competence of by promoting the understanding of the importance of developing children’s digital competence at an early age (3-6 years old) and advancing the skills to develop children's digital competence in preschool. Participants particularly enjoyed the topics of Digital content creation. Safety. Analysis of children's digital competence development, discussions, search for solutions. Analysis of good practice examples. Tools for promoting the development of children's digital competence in a preschool educational institution.  

They expressed the wish to extend the course longer and have more time to try out best practice examples.

On 25-26 October, 2022, Narva College of the University of Tartu and Rakvere Rohuaia Kindergarten offered a professional development course for international kindergarten teachers and university teachers engaged in training of future kindergarten teachers. We welcomed 12 participants from Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Austria, and Ukraine.

For two days, the participants (1) learnt about the project ideas and what stimulated us to choose this topic, (2) observed lessons in kindergartens and the use/integration of digital technologies into the learning process, (3) tried their hand with different technologies and robotics to understand and experience the learning process, (4) learnt about computational thinking, its importance, and development, (5) discovered the kindergarten teacher-training practices in Estonia and how digital technologies and robotics are integrated in the education, (6) discovered how the state supports digitalization of education and how DigiTiger programme works.

The international conference was held on 27-28 October, 2022, at Narva College of the University of Tartu. The conference united over 100 participants from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Austria, and Ukraine as well as international speakers from Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Germany, and Turkey.

The conference concentrated on the DigiChild project results and outcomes. At the same time, we also invited kindergarten teachers whose experience we used for the survey and BA course development to come and share their ideas on the use of digital tools in education. These teachers also brought with them digital tools and robots and showed which strategies and pedagogical approaches they use to support the children’s learning and balance their digital and non-digital lives.

Thanks to the smart correlation between the theoretical and practical workshops it was possible to achieve the maximum results over the two-day conference.

International Conference “Developing Teachers' Skills to Educate Pre-School Children with and Through Digital Technologies” was held on May 18, 2022 8:30 – 18:30 at the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art, University of Latvia Imantas 7. līnija 1, face-to-face in Room 310E & ZOOM https://lu-lv.zoom.us/j/97775022663

All in all 64 participants took part in the event face to face: 12 foreign participants, 3 foreign Erasmus mobility, 26 local, 23 from project institutions: 8 UL and 14 Creakids, on line there is a printscreen of 59 participants.

The participants were in-service pre-school teachers from Latvia and abroad; kindergarten administration; university professors who educate future kindergarten teachers; educational technologists.

The conference introduced the participants to the general ideas of the project, its aims, and its results. The participants had an opportunity to join a number of workshops from the simultaneously offered sessions to get closer acquainted with the practical implementation of the project outputs. The representatives of the project partners joined this conference as speakers or workshop trainers on-site and online. There were 18 presentations: 10 research presentations and 8 workshops.


DigiChild experience sharing

The DigiKid project allowed the participating countries to share experience they have in the area of digital educational etchologies and learn from others. We made four trips to Estonia, Slovenia, Germany, and Latvia to teach, learn, and train. Go further to read more about every signle trip and its essence.

In September 2021, the DigiKid team came to Estonia to learn, teach, and share experience in the area of digital technologies and their use with the children of pre-school age. We visited different departments of the Univeristy of Tartu and Narva College, Rakvere Rohuaia Kindergarten, Tartu Poku Kindergarten, Narva Tareke Kindergarten, Narva Käoke Kindergarten that have deeply integrated the information and communication technologies into their everyday learning environment.  We also visited the Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia who explained which digital competencies the pre-school children are expected to acquire before they go to school as well as how the Ministry of Education supports the introduction of digital technologies into the learning process. 

We observed the use of BeeBoots, BlueBots, Spheros, LegoWeDo 2.0 used both inside and outside. We also talked with kindergarten teachers who explained the tricks of using the digital tools with the maximum benefit for the young learners. 

The Estonian DigiKid team invited experets to Narva College who shared experience on how to modernise learning materials in pre-schools, change attitudes towards using digital technologies in education, develop computational thinking concepts in early childhood education, possibilities of using tablets for pre-school learning, smart gadgets in education, and many others.

As an alternative to the originally planned LTTA in the end of 2021 in Heidelberg, an online program took place which dealt with future tasks of the project team. Experts from various external institutions (e.g. JFF Munich/Berlin, Medienkindergarten Wien) were invited to these online meetings, who gave presentations on topics relevant to the project and facilitated an interesting and enriching exchange.

After it was made possible by the new Covid-regulations, the five-day meeting, postponed to March 2022, took place in Heidelberg. The various surveys and their current status were discussed, as well as the organisation and progress of the evaluation.

A wide range of presentations were given by the German team and invited guests, for example on the risks and concerns related to digital media in day care centres and MOOC development. Thematically, the development of the project's own MOOC and the Bachelor course were also covered in various meetings among the participants.

During different excursions, the participants had the opportunity to gain various practical impressions and experiences about digital development in German Kindergartens. For example, they visited a day-care centre that has digital media firmly anchored in its concept. Various media-related institutions of the university (e.g. media centre, Forscherstation | Klaus Tschira Competence Centre for early science education) were also visited. There the participants had the opportunity to use digital media in small natural science projects.

During the project meeting, all the goals were achieved and the international partnership was deepened, which was beneficial for all participants.

LTT meeting took place in Riga, Latvia from September 12-16, 2022. During this activity partners identified the participants who worked on the development the BA course or MOOC during this project. The activity at the University of Latvia took place at the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art in Riga, the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia, 3 branches of the private preschool CreaKids, Municipal Preschool No. 49 and children’s reading centre of the National Library of Latvia. The participants got acquainted with kindergarten teacher education novelties, digital education in teacher education programmes and observed the process of implementing this in practice in kindergartens. The participants were introduced to digital tools and pre-school teacher education programmes of the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art, University of Latvia, and their mission of teacher education, as well as the system of education in Latvia, the initiatives of digitalization in pre-school education programmes in order to develop the courses planned within this proposal. There were scheduled field trips to 3 kindergartens of CreaKids and also state kindergarten where the participants met the administrators and teachers as well as observed the use of digital technologies and the application of new methods in the kindergarten setting, as well as tried out the activities themselves. The participants also participated in a lecture that highlighted the national strategies and priorities of digital education and pre-school education, how they interact and relate to each other. The participants met the academic staff of the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art and discussed the current and implemented projects oriented to preschool looking for further possibilities for early childhood education. The project team worked on 1. BA course implementation progress and results 2. Professional development course implementation strategy 3. First version of MOOC

In Ocbober 2021, the DigiKid came to Slovenia to learn, teach, and share experience in the area of digital technologies and their use with the children of pre-school age. We visited different departments of the University of Primorska and Faculty of Education, different units of Vrtec Koper who with the help of different approaches develop computational and logical thinking of pre-school choldren. We also had seminars with EdTech experts and visited laboratories where different digital educational technologies are developed, tested, and piloted. The Slovenian DigiKid team engaged experets to share their experience in the area of EdTech with the participants of this event.

The  international participants of the activity delivered lectures to the students of the University of Primorska and shared their experience with the future Slovenian kindergarten teachers. During this meeting, we also discussed the versital and horizontal structure of the prospective BA course curriculum and also concentrated on the surveys. 


DigiChild results

The BA course Development of Digital Competences in Pre-School Education was developed by the University of Primorska, Slovenia: Sonja Rutar, PhD, Sonja Čotar Konrad, PhD, Anita Sila, PhD, Andreja Klančar, PhD, Silva Bratož, PhD; University of Tartu, Estonia: Oleksandra Golovko, PhD, Marek Sammul, PhD, Katrina Abramson, MA, Lehte Tuuling, MA, Külli Kallas, MS; Heidelberg University of Education, Germany: Jeanette Roos, Prof, Stephen Frank, PhD,Ann-Kristin von Carnap, MA; University of Latvia, Latvia: Indra Odiņa, Prof, Ieva Margeviča-Grinberga, PhD, Tatjana Bicjutko, PhD, Evija Latkovska, PhD, Egija Laganovska, PhD; Rarvere Rohuaia Kindergarten, Estonia: Ene Nool, MA, Margit Pelli, MA, Vrtec Koper, Slovenia: Alenka Rušt, MA; CreaKids Kindergarten, Latvia: Daina Kājiņa, MA, Liene Dumpe, MA, Zane Rumberga, MA, Dana Balode, MA.

Course was developed by know-how sharing: sharing the best practices of developing digital competencies of pre-school children available in participating countries, survey findings of the knowledge needs, course design, development of materials, approving and piloting the course.

The developed aim of the course is: development of digital competences and computational thinking skills for the development of computational thinkers. Goals of the course are:

- developing educators' professional competencies;

- developing educators' pedagogic competences (knowing digital resources, teaching, learning and assessment);

- developing and facilitating pre-school children’ digital competence;

- developing computational thinking to understand the way how technologies work and actively communicate with computer (program or reprogram computer functions).

For the theoretical framework was used the computer science theoretical framework and computational thinking:

- computing without computers (https://www.csunplugged.org/en/)

- DigCompEdu (Redecker, 2017), 

- K12- Computer Science Framework, (https://k12cs.org/)

Pedagogical theoretical framework:

- constructivistic learning theory and socio-cultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978; Piaget, 1968; Rogoff, 2003)

- participatory pedagogy (Rinaldi, 2021; Hart, 1992; Rutar, 2013; Formosinho and Pascal, 2017; Cameron, 2015)

Psycho-social theoretical framework: 

- sustainability;

- creativity, critical thinking, cooperation, communication, confidence, (Becoming brillinat);

- well-being.

The course consist of modules, which includes knowledge of 1) preschool teachers professional digital competences development, 2) digital resources, 3) teaching, learning, assessment and empowering learners (with computational thinking concepts and approaches…) and 4) facilitating learners- children digital competencies.

The course was implemented and acredited at the TARTU ULIKOOL, Estonia; PADAGOGISCHE HOCHSCHULE HEIDELBERG, Germany; LATVIJAS UNIVERSITATE, Latvia and UNIVERSITY OF PRIMORSKA, Slovenia in academic years 2021/2022 and 2022/202

You can find more information about the BA course here.

This MOOC course is the multilingual open-source course that can be accessed from any point of the world. It was co-developed by all the project partners in English and later translated into Estonian, German, Latvian, Slovene, and Russian.

The course has the following modules “Introduction to Digital Transformation and Digitalization of Education”, “Introduction of Digital Technologies in Kindergartens”, “Development of Computational Thinking in Kindergartens”, “Learning Digital Safety and Responsible Use of Internet in Kindergartens”, and “Learning Digital Wellbeing in Kindergartens”.

The MOOC is highly interactive and rests upon the latest global knowledge, experiences, and action plans that stimulate and support the early introduction of digital technologies and robotics in early education.

The course is available here https://sisu.ut.ee/digikid-eng/avaleht.

Read more about the structure of our MOOC here.

Based on the results of the first two intellectual outputs (survey and BA course), a core curriculum for a professional development course was designed at the University of Education in Heidelberg. This concept was then adapted by the four partner universities to the local conditions and the digital progress in their day care centres. Subsequently, the modules provided in the core curriculum were developed into complete training courses, which then went into a pilot phase with educational professionals. The experiences from this pilot phase and the feedback from the participants create a basis for the further development of the respective courses. The partner institutions work together and share didactics, methods and materials. The design of the course was based on three starting points, which were included in all concepts of the institutions involved in the project:

1. digital competence of in-service teachers and their attitude towards digital transformation.

2. theoretical foundations and basic knowledge about digital transformation, growing up in a digital environment with reference to its consequences as well as the developmental psychological background and education in a digital world.

3. practical experiences with digital technologies and their use in kindergarten.

Learning objectives of the course were related to both training educational professionals to strengthen children's media literacy and enhancing professionals' competences in the field of education with and through digital media. The scope of the training is 1ECTS point and the participants receive a certificate upon successful completion.

Read more about the course structure here.

You can find more information about the professional development course here.


The overall drive for accountability of digital skills necessary for the 21st century education and their assessment has never been greater as the entire world was forced to go digital within several weeks in the spring 2020. At the wake of the global pandemic, most educators around the globe viewed digital tools as a supportive element accidentally beneficial to the learning process. By the end of the pandemic, the digital competencies of educators and students had ski-rocketed and neither group sees education possible outside the digital dimension. Still, despite the fast rate of digitalization, the skills of teachers and students remain largely varied and diverse depending on the countries, age group, levels of education, and many other parameters.

The aim of our survey was to analyze the available skills, openness, and the digital gap required for the introduction of digital tools into the learning process at the pre-school level. The survey was done in four EU countries (Estonia, Germany, Slovenia, Latvia). Still, as the survey was also advertised online in the social media, people from other EU and non-EU countries participated in the survey.

The survey was jointly developed in September-December 2021 by the DigiKid partners. All seven partners (Narva College of the University of Tartu, Heidelberg University of Education, University of Primorska, University of Latvia, Rakvere Rohuaia Kindergarten, Vrtec Koper Kindergarten, CreaKids Kindergarten) participated in the survey development.

The DigiKid survey was developed on the basis of Digital Competence Framework for Educators / DigiCompEdu (https://joint-research-centre.ec.europa.eu/digcompedu_en). The partners also integrated the knowledge, skills, and approaches developed in the DigiKid project or practices available in the DigiKid countries. The survey included several parts: demographic data (about the respondents and their children), teachers’/parents’ attitudes and openness to the introduction of digital learning in kindergartens, teachers’/parents’ digital skills (self-assessment), digital skills of their pre-school children assessed by teachers/parents, and the resources available at the kindergarten / at home to support the digital learning process.

In December 2021-January 2022, the survey was translated into English, Estonian, German, Slovenian, Latvian, and Russian and afterwards it was coded in SoSci programme (soscisurvey.de) appropriate for multilingual surveys. The target audiences were surveyed online:

current pre-school teachers:  https://www.soscisurvey.de/DigiKid-teachers/

future pre-school teachers (students who major as pre-school teachers): https://www.soscisurvey.de/DigiKid_parents/

parents of pre-school children:  https://www.soscisurvey.de/DigiKid-students/

The online survey was available from February 21 till May 11. The target audiences were outreached twice at the beginning of the survey (February 2022) and in the middle (early April 2022). The potential participants received the letters to participate in the surveys directly from the involved DigiKid partners, indirectly (from departments of education or kindergarten directors the partners contacted), or online (in Facebook). The survey data analysis was done in May and June 2022.

The survey itself has outreached 7318 people who followed the link, and the project received 2762 complete survey answers.

Survey for teachers: 2103 clicks – 1237 responses (58.8% completion rate).

Survey for parents: 4062 clicks – 905 responses (22.3% completion rate).

Survey for students: 1153 clicks – 620 responses (53.3% completion rate).

Total number of responses: 2762 responses.

Responses from the project countries: 2292 responses and 470 from outside the project countries.

Read more about the survey results here.


DigiChild description

The COVID-19 challenge has exposed drawbacks in the system of pre-school digital education that resulted in primary school learners' inability to study independently in a technology- mediated environment. This is explained by the fact that, on the one hand, the importance of educational technologies is often overlooked in the pre-school educational establishments and, on the other hand, it is often viewed by the young learners and their parents as a means of entertainment and not as of instruction.

DigiChild aims to improve the pre-school teacher education and professional development of in-service teachers in terms of using digital technologies in the educational process. The project will allow preparing a new generation of kindergarten teachers who will use digital educational technologies wisely to turn even the youngest learners into conscious consumers and aware users of modern educational digital opportunities.

The profile of participating institutions includes 7 universities and kindergartens from Estonia, Germany, Latvia, and Slovenia. All these universities have big departments that specialize in pre-school education. Having local kindergartens as partners will allow this project to progress smoother. The university partners are Erasmus+ proven partners of the lead partner. These universities engaged progressive kindergartens from their localities to the consortium. This approach will allow broadening the scope of the partnership cooperation at the geographical, horizontal, and vertical levels of the educational institutions involved.

The cumulative list of activities includes:

  • regular management meetings;
  • know-how trips to share the progress in pre-school digital education and respective kindergarten teacher training;
  • surveying the target audiences to find out the progress of digital education in the kindergartens and promote it as well as find out gaps and drawbacks that will be eliminated with the project intellectual outputs;
  • based on the gained knowledge, the partners will develop a course for university students "Development of Digital Competences in Pre-School Education" (3 ECTS). This course will go beyond the use of computers in the classroom and will concentrate on a variety of digital technologies like smart boards and panels, robots, puzzles, teamwork tasks, active learning outdoors with gadgets e.g. reading maps, tracking routes, discovering the natural world with user-friendly applications and gadgets. The smart use of digital interactive technologies, instead of making students more inward-directed, will develop their social and life skills through digital learning opportunities. With this course, the kindergarten teachers will be ready to prepare the youngest learners for the online and blended systems of education of the future;
  • developing an open-source multilingual MOOC for in-service kindergarten teachers (1 ECTS). The multilingual course itself, as well as its materials, will ensure the use of the project intellectual outputs widely across the EU and beyond;
  • developing a professional development course for the local in-service teachers (1 ECTS) and launching it at the project partner universities;
  • hosting 7 dissemination events for 350 participants at all partner universities to share the project results with the wider audience;
  • writing project report, articles, presenting the project results in the conferences during and beyond the project planned activities;
  • increasing parents' and general public awareness as to the importance of implementing digital technologies at the pre-school level.

DigiChild implementation methodology will include activities ranging from informal meetings and small-scale discussions, experience sharing, design of courses, to dissemination workshops, international seminars, massive survey, and reports.
The short-term results include 3 courses for different target audiences (university students, in-service pre-school teachers) delivered in different formats (face-to-face and online) at 4 universities.

DigiChild will have a tremendous impact as the chosen field is predominantly terra incognita in the global educational landscape in both how to wisely introduce the youngest learners to work with digital technologies as well as how to prepare the students majoring as kindergarten teachers to deal with the challenges of the future. The project will answer some of the burning questions of today and will produce the age- and socially acceptable directions for the digital education evolution of tomorrow.

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