We are sending you the second newsletter dedicated to the international project “Learning by Doing – Development of Key Competences in Preschool Education (ABC for Kindergartens)”. The implementation of this project was started by Dr. Josef Raabe, s.r.o. in November 2020 together with eight other partners from three European countries – Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
We want to provide you with information about the project, the participating partners, what we have already managed to implement and what awaits us.
We believe that together with you we will be able to fulfill our goal – to support teachers in pre-school education and teacher training in the application of project and activity learning.
ABC pro mateřské školy – partneři
This project has been funded with support from the Erasmus + program, project number: 2020 -1-CZ01-KA201-078464, Key Action 2, Strategic Partnerships in School Education.
This publication (document) represents the exclusive opinion of the author. Neither the SAAIC National Agency – Erasmus + nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
We entered the past period with two main tasks:
- to carry out a questionnaire survey in kindergartens in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia and to evaluate it;
- develop a proposal and start creating the first intellectual output of the project, which is the ABC manual for teachers.
We are very pleased to say that both of these goals have been met.
The Manual ABC for Teachers
The aim of the project is to develop a set of educational tools for teachers in pre-school education, which would not only support teachers in improving their methodological procedures, but also support children in acquiring key competencies. To this end, teachers should use a methodology that includes educational procedures and techniques, knowledge, competencies and tools to help teachers correctly apply activity and project learning. Several meetings were held on the concept of the new material, at which its content was agreed.
The introductory part will be devoted to the view of the role of the child and the role of the teacher in preschool education. The change of these roles and the principles on which pre-school education should be based will be briefly explained. An important component of this part will be the so-called dispositions to learning and the laws of learning of a preschool child as such. In the section dedicated to pre-school teachers, we will focus not only on the role of the teacher, but also on the possibilities of his professional development.
These theoretical starting points will be followed by a comprehensive section devoted to activity and project learning. It will explain everything essential, including examples from practice, instructions and recommendations for the use of these educational methods in the practice of kindergarten. Teachers will get acquainted with the benefits that the use of activity and project learning brings to children (and teachers), and the possibilities of using them for the development of various educational areas.
Currently, the material is already being worked on intensively, the individual partners are writing the corresponding chapters together, which they are discussing together. We believe that already during the summer, the material will be ready for verification in practice.
Pilot survey of the use of methods in education
In order to decide how to design the content of the material for teachers, it was important to at least look at the needs of teachers in practice. For this reason, a questionnaire was prepared for representatives of Charles University for teachers, finding out their experience with the inclusion of various teaching methods in their work with children in kindergartens.
The survey was conducted with only a limited number of teachers involved in the project of partner schools in individual countries, ie from the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia. Therefore, although we cannot generalize the results, they brought us very important information. We perceive as the most important confirmation that the whole implementation of our project is meaningful, meets the needs of practice and targets an area in which kindergarten teachers are not very sure. It turned out that work with children in kindergartens is based mainly on the use of verbal and demonstration-illustrative methods, which, however, often lead to children’s passivity. While activating methods are used significantly less. There are difficulties among teachers in understanding the concepts of “activities” and “project” learning, and they are confused with other educational methods. Although kindergarten teachers from the participating schools have different experiences, they suffer from similar problems and needs. The forthcoming Teacher’s Manual, which is based on the results of our questionnaire survey, will also partially target their fulfillment. We are very pleased that the investigation confirmed our assumptions and confirmed that we were heading in the right direction.
In the future, we would very much like to carry out the questionnaire survey again, with the involvement of a larger number of respondents outside the participating partner schools. The results could provide an interesting picture of the practice of kindergartens and provide suggestions for further improving the work of kindergarten teachers.
Web and facebook pages of the project
Our website and Facebook pages are fully functional and continuously updated. We are very happy that the number of their followers is growing. Recently, project partners from the Czech Republic were introduced in more detail on the website. Not only their medallion can be inspiring, but also photos from the life of the kindergartens. Some contributions were devoted to the specification of activity and project learning. Others then inform about current events.
(illustrative photo. Source: website of the Faculty Kindergarten with special care in Prague)
What’s coming up
The following period will be filled with intensive work on the completion of methodological material, the Manual for Teachers. Its verification will follow. At the same time, we would like to repeat the research survey using the created questionnaire.
We will have our second partner run, which was supposed to take place in June in Maribor, but unfortunately it will probably take place online again. The presentation of the first version of methodological materials will be devoted.
In addition, we will prepare for a partnership meeting of project participants. It is planned for November 2021 and we hope that for the first time all partners will be able to meet in person – representatives of Charles University in Prague, Catholic University in Ružomberok, University of Maribor, Faculty Kindergarten with special care in Prague, Kindergartens Kopřivnice, Kindergartens Row in Ružomberok and Kindergarten Vrtec Studenci in Maribor. Due to the situation, so far all meetings took place only virtually online.
Word in conclusion
We are very pleased that there is a growing interest in the project, which is spreading not only among kindergarten teachers, but also among students of Kindergarten Teacher Training. We deeply believe and are convinced of the usefulness of the project, which can help teachers and show that in kindergartens it is possible to work with children in other than the traditional way. Although changing attitudes is always a challenge for teachers, the results on the part of children are undoubtedly a good reason to try something that is new or unusual for us for the time being.