"Backpack with a Future" for 120,000 preschoolers

English Section / 18 octombrie 2023

"Backpack with a Future" for 120,000 preschoolers

Versiunea în limba română

The World Vision Romania Foundation is launching the second edition of the "Start in Education" program, which will have double the number of beneficiaries this year. As a result, 120,000 preschoolers will each receive a "Backpack with a Future," containing educational development materials, and 23,000 parents will participate in "Parent School" sessions. The total value of the program, implemented by the World Vision Romania Foundation and the OMV Petrom Foundation, reaches over 7 million euros. A new element is the training programs for 3,500 educators and the distribution of "ABC Kindergarten" educational kits to 1,500 disadvantaged kindergartens. The program will be implemented in 900 communities across 41 counties, as announced by World Vision Romania. The second edition introduces new themes, including nutrition and healthy child development, age-specific characteristics of preschool children, mental and emotional development of young children, and communication of emotions between parents and children. The foundation notes that, following the first year of project implementation, eight out of ten children improved their cognitive, creative, and recognition skills, thanks to the "Backpack with a Future" educational kit, and 94% of parents found the parenting education sessions useful.

The executive director of the foundation, Mihaela Nabăr, mentioned during a press conference on Tuesday that parents reported improved abilities to protect their children as a result of counseling sessions, and there was a decrease in the number of parents who were physically abusive towards their children. She noted that although the number of preschoolers attending kindergarten has increased, 25% of them only do so three days a week or less due to a lack of resources. The community's lack of infrastructure is a significant reason for this, and local authorities have requested help and support to improve this infrastructure. Educators, on the other hand, consider preschool education extremely important, with 98% supporting the idea, but they also need assistance. Therefore, there are many objectives that drive us to do our best and improve this program further this year. Furthermore, some consequences of preschoolers not attending kindergarten daily include the inability to count to ten (17% of parents noticed this), to name the four seasons (27%), or to use at least four words in a sentence (10%). Sorin Ion, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education, emphasized that the World Vision project is significant and highlighted the importance of parental involvement. He mentioned that such projects do not represent competition but rather a support for the ministry. Sorin Ion also announced that the ministry is currently developing sub-legislation for education laws, with almost 300 secondary legislative acts needed for pre-university education. He stressed the importance of parental involvement in preschool education, stating that a child's success in their school journey depends overwhelmingly on what happens in kindergarten.

Cătălina Galer, a state counselor in the Presidential Administration, praised the "remarkable" results of the World Vision project and emphasized that education represents "the only chance for a better life" for both children and parents. According to World Vision, the 1,500 kindergartens that will receive "ABC Kindergarten" educational kits will be selected through a national call for applications that will be announced in the near future. The kit includes psycho-motor development and cognitive skills development teaching materials. These tools will help educators organize games and activities for children in kindergarten. The games will support children in developing skills such as spatial orientation, gross motor skills, static and dynamic balance, understanding social rules, concentration, and directing attention. The dedicated curriculum for teacher training includes both parental education themes and interactive learning and play-based teaching methods. Additionally, educators will receive a package of support materials for their teaching and parent interaction activities.