Sardes is a project-based agency for consultancy, project coordination, training, research and development in education and ECEC. We connect research, policy and practice and together with our clients we search for adequate, tailormade solutions and effective interventions.
We believe that every child has the right to receive the best possible care and education, to lay a strong foundation for lifelong well-being and success. From the start in 1992, Sardes has been focusing on children from disadvantaged groups. We think that it is important to ensure the right to have the best possible care and education for all children, but perhaps even more for children in disadvantaged situations (e.g. immigrant children, children from low-income families, children with special educational needs).
Our position in Netherlands has been that of “knowledge broker”: building bridges between research, practice and policy. We closely follow new insights from research and new developments in policy, and use these as input for innovative approaches in the practice of care and education. Sardes is a frontrunner when it comes to developments in learning and education, and we develop trainings or other interventions: professional development programs on media education, executive function, language teaching, a job-support app for preschool teachers.
Sardes established the platform Versterk het Jonge Kind (Strengthen the Young Child) as a meeting place for ECEC professionals where they can contribute to ongoing debates about ECEC, store and retrieve relevant information and publications, and work together to make innovative tools, interventions and programs.
Sardes is an independent organisation with many different clients. We have been working for the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Affairs, municipalities, school boards, welfare agencies, etcetera. We are (and have been) involved in large-scale programs assignments by the national government. For instance, in the Vversterk program (2006-2014), funded by the Ministry of Education, we offered a professional development program for 35,000 preschool and kindergarten teachers. Currently, we are running a training program on Language and Interaction Skills for day care staff (TINK), commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Although Sardes’ main working area is the Netherlands, we do have international activities and a modest international portfolio:
- Since 2006 Sardes has a cooperation agreement with the Harvard Graduate School of Education (Cambridge, Massachusetts). The main goal of this cooperation is to exchange expertise on early childhood education and care, e.g. in the yearly ProLeer network meeting at Harvard University.
- Sardes contributed to the drafting of the research briefs that were used as input for the OECD report Starting Strong III.
- Sardes is full member of the International Step by Step Association (ISSA), but our cooperation already lasts for more than a decade, since the successful Comenius project on multingual preschools. More recently we participated in the task force that has developed a Quality Framework Birth to Three.
- Throughout the years, we have been involved in education and ECEC projects in (among others) Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Turkey. In 2016 we started an Erasmus+ project on Multilingual Early Childhood Education and Care for Young Refugee Children, with Cambridge University (UK), The University College of Oslo and Akershus (Norway) and VBJK (Belgium).
- Sardes organised a number of international master classes on ECEC, the Sardes Educational Dialogues (SED talks). Please take a look at the presentations:
Sardes has a staff of 25 experts (including a Management Team) and 7 support staff. Our office is located in Utrecht city center. Sardes also hosts a training centre where courses, workshops etcetera are provided by Sardes and by our network partners.