6th April 2016: NEWSLETTER No. 1

WHO WE ARE

You are reading the first of seven newsletters related to the project Good Start to School, which is coordinated by the publishing house Nakladatelství Dr. Josef Raabe s.r.o. It is an international European project Erasmus+ which falls under Key Action 2 (KA2), with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary participating. Our partners include branches of the publishing house Raabe in Hungary and Slovakia, Masaryk University in Brno and, last but not least, primary schools and kindergartens in all three countries, which participate on the development and testing of the project outputs. Namely, it is Kindergarten Maršovice, Kindergarten Čtyřlístek in Prague, Kindergarten and Primary School Plzeň Božkov, Kindergarten and Primary School of Jan Amos Comenius in Bratislava, and Kindergarten Fasori Kicsinyek in Budapest.

 

WHAT WE DO

The main aim of this project is to improve the level of pre-school education. This should be achieved particularly through improved communication between the school and the family, and through facilitating the transition from kindergarten to primary school. As the name of the project suggests, it is our goal to make sure that children have the best possible start in primary school. Let us illustrate how we would like to achieve that goal using the outputs of the project. The main project outputs will be a methodological guidebook for teachers, a practical guidebook for parents and a child’s evaluation card.

The child’s evaluation card is an evaluative tool for teachers that can be used to evaluate a single child, as well as an entire kindergarten class. The card contains a number of selected areas that are related to the development and education of the child in kindergarten. In the ideal case, each individual child should have their own evaluation card, which will accompany the child from the start of kindergarten all the way to the first year of primary school. Not only will any kindergarten teacher know how the child does in various areas of its development, but also the primary school teacher will have an idea of how the child had been developing, which will give the teacher the possibility of focusing on necessary areas of support. Such data could be used to make the decision to postpone the start of primary school education, or to allow a mature enough child to start primary school sooner.

The methodological guidebook for teachers will have two objectives. The first one is to introduce the teachers to the evaluation card, its advantages and features, and the other one, as has already been mentioned, is to help teachers improve the communication between themselves and parents. What often happens is that the expectations regarding the process of education on the part of the teachers and on the part of the parents differ significantly. The guidebook will contain examples of good practice, well-tested activities organized in cooperation with parents, during which both parties can get to know one another better, which will undoubtedly lead to improved communication in the future.

The practical guidebook for parents will have a similar objective, i.e. to introduce parents to the evaluation card, and to the need to keep records regarding the child’s development, which will then be useful both in kindergarten and in primary school. Same as the guidebook for teachers, the guidebook for parents will contain tips and ideas on how to improve communication.

 

WHAT WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED

Earlier this year, we launched the project website Good Start to School, which is available in four languages. Apart from a description of the project and its outcomes, the website also provides information about the individual partners. We are also active on Facebook, where you can like and follow our page on Facebook, which contain the latest news regarding our project.

Our Facebook page also contains photos from the first project meeting, which was held at Jan Amos Comenius Kindergarten and Primary School in Bratislava, Slovakia. We would like to take this opportunity once again to thank the school for organizing this event. This two-day event saw the introduction of the individual partners, and the discussions laid the foundation for the concepts of the project outputs, which were subsequently executed by doc. Mgr. Jana Kratochvílová, Ph.D. and PhDr. Zora Syslová, Ph.D. of Masaryk University in Brno.

 

WHAT WE ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON

In these days, all the partner kindergartens and primary schools are analyzing the concepts of the guidebooks and of the evaluation card, and they are collecting examples of good practice, which will then be included in the guidebooks. The last week of April will see the second international project meeting, this time in Brno, during which discussions will be held regarding the form of the project outputs. The organizing partner will be Masaryk University.

For this meeting, the Raabe publishing house, in cooperation with the Department of Primary Education, and at the occasion of the 70 th anniversary of the founding of the Faculty of Education has prepared an international conference called Z MATEŘINKY DO ŠKOLY (FROM KINDERGARTEN TO PRIMARY SCHOOL). The conference will focus on the topics of the project, i.e. the transition from kindergarten to primary school, and the communication between the school and parents. Apart from an introduction of the project and its outputs by one of its authors, doc. Mgr. Jana Kratochvílová, Ph.D., there will also be contributions made by our guests from abroad - doc. PhDr. Zuzana Petrová, Ph.D. from Slovakia (she was a member of the team that participated on the creation of the school education plan for kindergartens in Slovakia), and Ms. Viola Szent-Gály from Hungary (a prominent expert on pre-school education). Then there will also be contributions from two of our partners, who will be talking about what it is like to transition from kindergarten to primary school in cases where both schools are part of a single institution. To add to the interesting program, three practical workshops will be held in the afternoon. For more information and the program of the event, please visit Z MATEŘINKY DO ŠKOLY (FROM KINDERGARTEN TO PRIMARY SCHOOL.

 

WHAT IS COMING UP NEXT

As has already been mentioned, a project meeting and a large international conference are next on our schedule. Once we have agreed on further steps regarding the project outputs, we will launch the first stage of the testing and evaluation of our guidebooks and of the evaluation card. Further information will be presented in the next newsletter.

 

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

If you find the project Good Start to School interesting, go through the website and visit our Facebook page. We will be pleased if you register on the project website, or if you pass on the entire newsletter to your friends and colleagues. Should you have questions that you cannot find the answers to, you can contact the Project Manager:

Tomáš Nechanský

email address: t.nechansky@raabe.cz, phone: +420 739 068 721, address: Radlická 2487/99, 150 00 Prague 5

 

Thanks for your time.

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