Caritas Switzerland has been active in Kosovo since the post-war period in various strategic sectors for the reconstruction of the country. Today Kosovo is a European country that looks to the future with difficulty and confidence and for this reason, investment in early childhood is considered strategic.
Kosovo Ministry of Education a Prishtina has worked actively in recent years to include younger children in the education system, so much so that the compulsory school curriculum already includes the 5 years section of kindergarten. A choice that confirms how much the young state has its future at heart.
For more than a decade, Caritas Switzerland has been actively contributing to this process by offering training to educational staff but also by equipping the classes with wooden furniture and games, respecting the tradition of learning through the game that characterizes a large part of the Swiss school, with a Froebelian inspiration.
The SHPRESE project (in Albanian Speranza, acronym for Setting High Quality Standards for Preschools Reinforcing Education, Science and Economy) represents an innovation as it is a so-called systemic project. It In fact addresses all aspects related to the frequency of boys and girls at kindergarten: staff training, supervision of quality work, development of teachers' professional skills, quality of games and furnishings is more generally than the educational space. All this while respecting the national curriculum of Kosovo, recently updated.
The involvement of universities
Just as happens in many countries, especially of recent Constitution, the training of educational staff in the different education faculties of Kosovar universities, presents some substantial differences which end up proposing different professionalization paths depending on the territory. Nonetheless, a teacher who obtains recognition from a faculty can teach in any kindergarten in the territory of the Republic.
Hence the need to start harmonizing the training path of the different faculties, bringing the different syllabuss as close as possible. Furthermore, a quality element that emerged from the previous experiences of Caritas Switzerland in Kosovo is the ability to train staff in the development of practical activities to be immediately put into play in the preschool classes. Conversely, the faculties of education offer a good level of theoretical training.
But the practical component still appears very early. For this reason, the project proposes the insertion of practical experiences in the training of staff based on previous experiences, above all centered on play, but also on other qualitative approaches to education for boys and girls.
The universities of Gjilan, Gjakova, Mitrovica and Prizren have already started this path which will result in a unified document of harmonization of curricula, based however on a participatory approach. In fact, the Sara document will be discussed in public meetings in the various universities, and will be open to teachers, students and other people interested in the topic. The goal is to create a path shared by as wide an audience as possible and thus create a common approach throughout Kosovo.
The training of pedagogical coordinators
The quality of the work that develops in each preschool class requires continuous reflection that starts from the curiosities, ideas and thoughts of the girls and boys. Strengthened by this awareness, the professionals who thought about the project decided to train a dozen pedagogical coordinators to bring training and supervision opportunities to work in the educators of all the municipalities that joined the project.
These figures will be trained through four in-depth modules already accredited by the ministry of education. The training modules deal with the issues of observation, documentation, educational planning, spaces and the approach based on play and experiences. Particular attention is also paid to the times of the educational day. Training has a theoretical component and a practice respecting the philosophy of the whole project.
The training of educators
It is the unanimous belief of the pedagogical community that the professional quality of educational staff is an essential element of the quality of preschool contexts. For this reason, the same type of path that the pedagogists will face, Sara then proposed in cascade in a very similar way to the educational staff who works in the municipalities that have joined the project. This is a very valuable cascading work because it will simultaneously allow training to be carried out on an important number of educational figures.
The quality of the educational spaces
The project also includes a large production and free distribution work for kindergartens of educational furniture and toys. This is an action that Caritas Switzerland has been developing for several years and that has allowed many classes to be equipped with the material necessary for the development of their teaching activities. Point should also be considered that Caritas Switzerland has always made the choice to produce the materials on site.
Kosovar companies are therefore the ones that produce materials for kindergartens, generating an economic supply but above all the development of skills in the production of materials for children, a skill that each manufacturer can freely continue to develop and place on the Republic market .
The Pedagogical Institute of Kosovo
The Pedagogical Institute of Kosovo is the most important governmental tool for research and qualification of the national educational offer. It is a fundamental institution for training and consultancy. For this reason Shprese collaborates in the development of a multi-year work plan, in the construction of a database to monitor kindergartens and also for the creation of annual seminars.
As the latest economic research shows, investing in early childhood is the most profitable in terms of future development for a nation.
The hope is that this project will represent an opportunity to build important future opportunities for Kosovo boys and girls.
For information on the project, the coordinator: Krenare Lleshi firstname.lastname@example.org
International consultant: Cristian Fabbi email@example.com
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