Leveraging a meaningful and relevant learning programme in the Ukraine
Posted in Blogs on April 3, 2017
Posted in Blogs on April 3, 2017
During my visit to a kindergarten classroom in the Ukraine this past month, I was happily welcomed by engaged and dedicated children, teachers and administrators alike. The bright and colorful classrooms were inviting, children were taking turns sharing their ideas on what an ideal world would be like, discussing environmental issues and the need to get along with each other. In another classroom, students were playing “store” experiencing with exchange of goods and classroom currencies. Some were taking the time to finish a painting activity carefully while others regrouped around the teacher to listen to stories. Outside, groups of children were playing together, their supervisors genuinely interested in their discoveries. Spring has begun in Kiev and nature has started to show a plethora of things that grow: a most perfect learning opportunity for young inquiring minds.
Early Childhood Education in the Ukraine has been on a momentum of improvement and growth over the last few years, thanks to the relentless efforts of committed educators and the leadership of the Ministry of Education. All have taken to heart the opportunity to move the country forward through the education of its youngest citizens. The ministry has dedicated significant resources towards quality of preschool education in the country.
As the Early Childhood specialist at Aflatoun, I stress that some aspects of quality in an early childhood education experience are: its relevance to the lives of young children, its connection to the children’s families, and its impact on their communities. I recognized that an important step the Ministry of Education took in the process of preschool education reforms was to identify a suitable approach to deliver such a meaningful experience to children.
Thanks to a group of educational pioneers, Aflatot was introduced in the country as a relevant programme, following the training of Master Trainers in 2013. This group led by the Vinnytsia School of Opportunities piloted the Aflatot programme in every public kindergarten there, in collaboration with the local educational department. To build capacity on the ground, the local Aflatoun partner organization conducted series of Aflatot trainings in the region where teachers earned certificates approved by the local education department.
With this gain of popularity and the programme recognition in the region, Aflatoun International established contact with the Ministry of Education of Ukraine in 2014, specifically with Preschool education department: in 2015, both parties signed a memorandum of understanding.
In February 2016, the programme was expanded to 16 regions in Ukraine with an implementation in 100 kindergartens, following a coordinators’ training that was carried out in Kiev.
This year, to celebrate this achievement and offer an opportunity to strengthen teachers’ professional practice, the Head of Preschool department with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education, Tamara Viktorovna Panasiuk, organized an Aflatot specific conference with delegates from the 16 different regions. All participants engaged in presentations, discussions and/or activities to develop good practice and promote Aflatot as a core programme for children ages 3 to 6. It was such a treat to witness such impressive professionalism and enthusiasm around social and financial education for young children.
Over 60 people took part in the event. Together, they shared impressions and evidence of the positive impact of Aflatot on children and their communities. Participants discussed their next steps around the question: how do we best strengthen parent participation in the process? Adaptations of Aflatot materials are in the works in all regions and the Aflatot parent toolkit will serve as an ideal framework in the process of addressing these next steps. The call for action around parent partnership is sure to keep these professionals of education collaboratively engaged in the immediate future. In the long term, the Aflatoun International team is looking forward to see more children in The Ukraine benefiting from such a rich and meaningful experience!
After the conference and visits, the Ministry of education published an article (in Ukrainian): http://mon.gov.ua/usi-novivni/povidomlennya/2017/03/31/predstavniki-doshkilnoyi-osviti-obgovorili,-yak-krashhe-vprovadzhuvat/