OvidiuRo Training Hopscotch Summer Program – Operational project

Good training programs for kindergarten teachers addressing the quality of early education

Year Area / Project Project Period
2018 Early Childhood Development / Ранно детско развитие Jun 2017 - Jun 2017

The results of the World Bank’s 2014-2015 impact evaluation of the Springboard for School Readiness Project show that minority children who receive free kindergarten performe the same or slightly worse than their peers on a multi-faceted assessment, regardless of their native language, age, gender, or level of settlement segregation. While the study could not pinpoint the exact cause of this, these results suggest that Bulgarian kindergartens in disadvantaged communities are not providing equal education to all pupils and thus, an improvement in the quality of teaching and care is needed.

The goal of this project is to increase the knowledge and training of Early Childhood Development (ECD) professionals (mainly kindergarten teachers and principals) regarding equal education for children from disadvantaged families. This will involve increasing the ECD professionals’ familiarity with methods for practical application and motivation for their use. Three TSA staff along with 7 ECD professionals carried out a one-day study in Romania. The study, organized by Ovidu Ro Association for preschool and kindergarten teachers, focused on quality summer activities for children and general improvement of the teaching standards in poor and segregated communities. The current project focuses on the provision of improved early educational activities for disadvantaged children during the summer months. In doing so, the project’s focus supports TSA’s goal of improving the literacy and the socio-emotional development of children.

Good training programs for kindergarten teachers addressing the quality of early education throughout the year for children from disadvantaged communities are scarce in Bulgaria. TSA, in collaboration with international partners such as the International Step by Step Association and the Ovidiu Ro Association, plans to address this issue by developing training programs for educators. The Ovidiu Ro Association has partnered with TSA for more than 4 years. They helped design the Springboard for School Readiness Project (SSR) and provided useful feedback on its implementation. We now turn to our partners at Ovidiu Ro to learn from their experience in organizing trainings for kindergarten and pre-school teachers directed at improving the quality of teaching.

The participants were selected among SSR kindergartens and related stakeholders: kindergarten teachers and headmistresses, kindergarten inspectors from the regional inspectorates of education and experts from the Ministry of education.

The training included:

– visits to two local kindergartens showcasing their organization of the spaces and activities with children as well as the newly initiated toy library and parents reading club;

– a lecture on the meaning of quality early education means and its importance;

– simulations on “reading aloud with children” to promote children learning and enjoying reading and listening, and on the meaning of “education for diversity”;

– practical applications on organizing science experiments with children.

We observed the organization of such trainings and  connected with international trainers on improving the quality of early education and observing the reaction of Bulgarian teachers and national education authorities to the format and content of the training. After the training TSA will debrief on whether and how to implement these trainings in Bulgaria in a cost-effective manner going forward.