Tundzha Workshop – How do children from vulnerable communities develop language and socioemotional skills   

How can primary school teachers appreciate the richness of mother tongue and support bilingual children in enhancing their Bulgarian language skills? How can minor changes in classrooms greatly affect the language teaching process and the general improvement of children’s language skills? Those were just a few of the many topics presented by the trainers Betsy Grob and Maria Giorgieo during the two-day workshop hosted by the subcentre of Zvesditsa (Starlet) Child Day-Care Centre in Roza village, Tundzha Municipality, which took place on September 13 and 14.

 The two-day workshop was attended by more than 30 teachers from 15 towns and villages that are current members of the REYN Network.

 During the last day of the workshop Betsy Grob and Maria Giorgieo shared successful strategies and ways to increase the involvement of local communities in the life that happens inside child day-care centres, which were also discussed with representatives of the municipal authorities of Tundzha Municipality. Mr. Stancho Stavrev – the deputy mayor of Tundzha Municipality – voiced his readiness to lend assistance and support with a view to engaging in an active dialogue with the local community and support with a view to improving the design of study rooms at child day-care centers around Tundzha Municipality in keeping with the recommendations and proposals generated during the to-day meeting.

The event saw the first presentation of the book “Can You Hear Me” which was translated and adapted by the Trust for Social Achievement Foundation with the support of Deyan Kolev from Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance and Betsy Grob from City College – New York.

The primary focus of “Can You Hear Me” is exactly the successful interaction of teachers with children whose mother tongue is other than Bulgarian, and how the environment in child day-care centres can affect positively the development of their language and social skills.

The strong connection established between the theoretical and practical contents of the two-day workshop and the contents of “Can You Hear Me” managed to create a favourable and positive environment which promoted the sharing of successful strategies and teaching methods among teachers so that they may use them in their immediate work with children.