Equilibrium was awarded the “I Guarantee a Happy Childhood” award by the State Agency for Child Protection (SACP). The award was presented personally to the Executive Director Galina Bisset. This became clear at today’s 45th meeting of the National Council for Child Protection of the SACP (Equilibrium is a member of the council).
This year the SACP celebrates 20 years since its creation and, to celebrate, it has established these awards to recognize the contribution of organizations, individuals and institutions in policies related to child protection in Bulgaria.
Equilibrium is recognized for its project “Reform of Early Childhood Education in Eastern Europe – Bulgaria”, funded by the Villum Foundation, Denmark and implemented in partnership with VIA University College, Faculty of Education and Social Research, Denmark.
The overall goal of the project is to stimulate national awareness of the importance of high quality in early childhood care and education. This will be achieved through the creation of modern pedagogical practices and learning environments in the pilot kindergartens and the creation of awareness among key stakeholders and national media. The actions under the project will lead to the transformation of the pedagogical approach and learning environment in the Sofia kindergarten “Bratya Grim” and the Ruse kindergarten “Snezhanka”.
The staff of the Bulgarian kindergartens visited kindergartens in Denmark and will go through 8 training modules provided by teachers from VIA College. They were encouraged to introduce new elements in their pedagogical practices – step by step.
The first step involved changing the way the children and staff interact at meal-times. The kids participate in preparing and serving food as well as tidying up after the meal. New tables and high-chairs allow the little ones to operate at “adult height” when eating and drinking.
There is great emphasis on adventurous and messy play outdoors irrespective of the weather.Children feel happy and free to explore the world and their surroundings so as to learn through experience and experimentation.
Music has become an integral part of children’s daily lives. They listen to age-appropriate music, sing songs, but now classical music is played during the day and is also used to start and end various activities, which makes it much more enjoyable to transfer between the various activities during the day.
The kindergartens have reorganized their interior space into modules to provide different play areas that the children asked for. Shop, kitchen, hairdresser, babycare centre, workshop, table football, cars and garages and construction games.
The most significant change involves the pedagogical interaction with the children: now all teachers take care not to tower over the child or facing them in a confrontational way. They get down on the floor beside the children or bring the children up to their height. Conversations happen when child and adult are side-by-side.
The project lasts until June, 2022 and we hope that having piloted new methods of early years’ pedagogy, they will spread within the kindergarten system