Dear readers,

We are sending you the third newsletter dedicated to the international project “Learning by Doing – Development of Key Competences in Preschool Education (ABC for Kindergartens)”. The 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 would like to share with you information about the progress of our project, about the tasks we have successfully completed and the goals that still lie ahead of us.

We believe that together with you we will be able to achieve our goal – to support teachers in preschool education and teacher training in the application of project and activity learning.

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.

Our achievements

During the period from November 2021 to April 2022, we have been actively involved in the implementation of the following activities:

– Creation the first intellectual output of the project, namely writing and completion of the ABC Manual for Teachers.

– Developing the second intellectual output of the project: ABC Train the Trainer Course.

– Planning and conducting the meeting at the conference in Prague.

We are very pleased to report that all the set goals have been met.

The ABC Manual for Teachers

The aim of the project is to develop a methodological guidance for pre-primary teachers on how to integrate project-based and activity-based learning into pre-school education, through practical activities and a comprehensive overview of lesson plans, assessment techniques and various additional resources.

We have recently completed all three chapters. After a joint discussion, we have incorporated the comments of the external evaluator. The objections that have been mentioned will be incorporated in the translations of the text. We have carefully reviewed the text of all three chapters taking into account the special features of each chapter. The staff of all three universities and the staff of the kindergartens commented on the positives and negatives of the content of the manual. The focus of the chapters remained unchanged. The first chapter deals with the role of a child and the role of a teacher in pre-school education. It looks at the changing nature of these roles and explains the principles on which pre-school education should be based, readiness to learn and the regularity of the pre-school child’s learning. It also introduces the role of an educator and opportunities for professional development for teachers. A theoretical introduction is followed by a comprehensive section on activity and project-based learning. This section presents the theoretical background and definitions of both didactic strategies, their advantages and challenges, highlights the role of a teacher, the role of children and the role of the kindergarten. The manual also presents the possibilities of using activity-based learning in different areas of preschool education with specific examples of its use in kindergarten.

From December 2021 to March 2022, the manual was validated in kindergartens.

The ABC manual for teachers is ready for translation.

ABC (O2) Course on New Methods for Motivating and Activating the Child in Pre-primary Education

At the meeting, the title of the course was more narrowly specified. The course will include activity-based learning and project-based learning, also how to activate the child in pre-primary education, what methods and strategies of implementation are appropriate, etc.

It was introduced the platform and its possibilities in the IT space (word, PPT with links to audio recording for PowerPoint presentation), PDF with links to text, video and interactive test.

The course content was created and approved by the project participants. Assignment deadlines were distributed. It was agreed to pilot internally in the kindergartens participating in the project. The expected date of the pilot is from 06/2022 to 09/2022. The review workshop will take place on 09/23/2022 at the PF UK in Prague.

The O2 Course will be presented at a conference on 11/24/2022 in Prague. There are plans to translate it into two languages and then into all four languages.

Meeting of the ABC project partners for kindergartens in Ruzomberok

A meeting of the project partners took place in Ruzomberok from 10 to 12 April 2022, with representatives of all project partner organizations. The last meeting was held in November 2021 in Prague in attendance. We were very much looking forward to the face-to-face meetings, as the previous dates were held online due to the Covid epidemic.

The partners met on friendly terms already on April 10, 2022. The official discussions started on the following day. The participants started the official meeting with a musical input performed by Kristian Svechjak, a student from the PF KU in Ruzomberok. At the beginning of the meeting, the partners were thanked for their previous work efforts and a productive discussion with new proposals followed.

The main points of the meeting were the completion of output O1 and the completion of the concept for output O2.

It was scheduled the dates of the internal pilot with project schools, the attendance workshop and the conference. The whole meeting was held in a friendly and creative atmosphere.

What’s coming up

In the coming period, we will be working intensively on internal piloting and workshop attendance. After the conference and the presentation of the ABC course New Methods for Motivating and Activating the Child in Pre-primary Education.

We strongly hope that all partners – representatives of Charles University in Prague, Catholic University in Ruzomberok, University of Maribor, Faculty Kindergarten with Special Care in Prague, Kindergarten Koprivnice, Kindergarten in Ruzomberok and Kindergarten Vrtec Studenci in Maribor – will be able to participate in the conference in Prague.

Word in conclusion

We are pleased that the project is attracting interest from both in-service and pre-service preschool teachers. We believe that the project has great potential to support and strengthen the development of key competencies for all in early childhood by helping to change teachers’ perspectives on preschool education and promoting learner-centred approaches.