Kindergarten – the first community of children; Educational role of the kindergarten; Kindergarten as a place for learning through creativity; Healthy nutrition and hygiene standards; Family – kindergarten relationship;
These are a few of the topics on which parents from underprivileged communities enrich their knowledge through information sessions on the benefits of regular kindergarten attendance developed by the Trust for Social Alternatives (TSA) Foundation.
The info sessions are part of the Every Day in Kindergarten Learn and Play small grants program. It is an initiative of the Roma Early Childhood Development Network in Bulgaria – (REYN Bulgaria), which is coordinated by TSA and implemented with the support of the UBS Optimus Fund.
Early childhood research clearly shows that regular attendance at kindergarten has a positive effect on child development. Between the ages of 3 and 6, children are also in a key period of their growth where they can learn and practice flexibility, self-control, emotion management, interaction with others – this is a ‘critical window’ that provides an opportunity for psychological and social development . Without making full use of it, children grow up without the necessary skills to solve problems or plan for the future.
Regular attendance at kindergarten can contribute to improving important skills such as cooperation, communication, sharing, empathy, understanding with other people, which children can read for the rest of their lives. Longer time spent in kindergarten effect on doing better in school.
According to PISA, children who have been in kindergarten for more than two years acquire the necessary skills and show better results than children who are not covered by compulsory preschool education.
In 2022, TSA successfully piloted the information sessions with the support of 6 partner organizations across the country. Feedback results from parents who participated in the session indicate a high level of satisfaction and a personal sense of increased knowledge about the importance of regular kindergarten attendance. The interactive nature of the information sessions was highly appreciated by both parents and kindergarten and community representatives.
The information sessions were realized this year in the month of June 2023 with the support of four local organizations – members of the RAYN Network – “New Road” Association, “Dialog” Association, “Club of Non-Profit Organizations” Association, “Bolni ot Asthma” Foundation. They include over 265 parents and over 10 kindergartens from small settlements.
According to parent feedback, the sessions have been extremely helpful with over 220 parents saying they have learned new things about the benefits of the kindergartens and over 220 of them plan to bring their children to the kindergarten more regularly, all of whom say they will tell other parents about what they have learned during the project.