Present state in the Czech Republic: pre-school education is supposed to lay the foundations for the children’s quality of life, and is gaining in importance.
Age: usually 3 - 6 years, but in reality 2 - 8 years.
It is only the kindergarten that is able to develop the child as a whole, other levels of education are focused only on cognitive areas.
Today, kindergartens predominantly use the personality-oriented model:
It entails new strategies and methods, but is mainly aimed at achieving harmony.
The organization of education activities is different in kindergartens and elementary schools:
Kindergarten - play, joy, creativity
Elementary - obligation, responsibility
Is kindergarten supposed to lay foundations for future life, or prepare children for elementary school?
What children need in order to transition between the institutions:
What is key is communication between kindergarten and elementary school - kindergarten teachers should participate in enrollment at elementary school, possible postponements of elementary school attendance should be dealt with together; there should be cooperation between teachers from both institutions; the possibility should exist of handing over the child’s portfolio to the elementary school teacher.
It is useful when elementary school children help introduce kindergarten children to life in elementary school.
The importance of the diagnostic portfolio - a meeting of parents, the teacher and the child - communication about the child’s results.
The speaker emphasized the importance of mutual information exchange. She decided to get involved with this project, because in Central Europe we think similarly about the issue of the transition between kindergarten and elementary school.
In Hungary, this works well in small villages - everybody knows everybody, care is differentiated, joint visits to school.
Preparation for elementary school is compulsory in kindergarten, but various procedures may be used. Kindergarten attendance is compulsory as well - starting at the age of three.
The transition from kindergarten to elementary school should be natural - it shouldn’t be a collision of two worlds. It is necessary to put trust into parents and to slowly get them involved.
Elementary schools can now rely on the fact that kindergarten children are better prepared.
Every year, the kindergarten has to hand over to the parents the child’s documents, which contain evidence of the child’s development. These documents should also be handed over to the elementary school.
Joint groups of pre-school and elementary school children - plans for joint activities. In villages, it is common that a teacher works both in a kindergarten and at elementary school - this leads to a higher sense of belonging - for the child the person is not a teacher, but for instance Věra.
It is vital to share examples of good practice.
The contribution dealt with the relationship between kindergarten and elementary school in the system of education in Slovakia.
Kindergarten school attendance is not compulsory. The objectives of education and upbringing in kindergarten are competency-oriented.
Children from a disadvantaged environment lag behind the others already at the age of five, compared to children who attend kindergarten or do not come from a disadvantaged environment.
In 2008, the areas of education in kindergarten and at first level of elementary school were defined differently. Teachers were forced to define a single objective for the entire class - thus, they were not able to respect the developmental differences of a heterogeneous group.
Changes in the education program for kindergartens were made in 2015 with the aim of adapting the formal part to elementary school needs. Changes were thus made towards the children’s readiness for elementary school, but at the same time with the effort to preserve the holistic approach. Both kindergartens and elementary schools are state institutions funded by public money.
It is important to gain the parents’ trust - to make sure that they come to the kindergarten for advice, but also to ensure that they abide by such advice, or visit a recommended specialist.
The education program contains questions for teachers, so that they would be able to evaluate the child - child evaluation.
An example of good practice from Slovakia.
It would be useful if kindergarten and elementary school that form part of a single institution could have a single education program, but in reality two programs are necessary.
They use integrated thematic instruction and highly effective teaching according to Susan Kovalik - these approaches contain 10 components that apply both for kindergarten and for elementary school.
Kindergarten and elementary school personnel receive joint education and training.
A Team for the Development of the School was formed that comprises representatives of kindergarten, first level, second level and school management - acting jointly, they define the school’s vision.
They run A Modern Teacher’s Club - an opportunity to share problems and solutions. A leader is always appointed.
All employees have undergone a course in highly effective teaching, as well as courses of respectful communication and problem-solving.
The kindergarten and the elementary school organize joint events. Elementary school children provide tuition to kindergarten children. A parent teaching day is held on a regular basis. Other activities include a topical month, during which both schools deal with a single topic (e.g. “water”) - this event is concluded with a pupil conference.
Kindergarten teachers participate in enrollment in elementary school. Teaching aids for elementary school are also presented to kindergarten children.
An example of good practice from the Czech Republic. The institution consists of both a kindergarten and an elementary school under one roof.
A hidden curriculum in the institution and education evaluation are two important features.
Procedure of defining objectives: vision → general objectives → specific objectives. A presentation of the school’s specific objectives.
Kindergarten objectives and elementary school objectives should be in agreement.
What must be supported in kindergarten education?
A happy childhood should not end with the start of elementary school education.
They organize events for parents and children from both the kindergarten and the elementary school. Children from both schools pay each other mutual class visits. Elementary school children for instance read bedtime stories to kindergarten children.
Staff share their individual training in meetings.
On the one hand, the tool should be comprehensive, on the other hand, it should be simple enough to use. It should support communication with parents and it should be useful to teachers.
The development of competences in kindergarten is suitable preparation for the start of elementary school education.
The tool contains 10 areas, each with its own criteria - these were created by an adjustment in the formulation of expected outcomes from the framework education program for pre-school education, so that these could be understandable for parents as well.
The tool allows for the processing of results on paper (sheet) and in graphic form (Excel).
The objective is to publish a methodology for this tool for a) parents and b) teachers.
The child’s portfolio also gradually becomes a tool for communication between the teacher and the parents, with the child’s participation. It has the following functions:
If the kindergarten is successful at continuously working with the child’s portfolio, it can be successfully continued in elementary school. The enrollment in elementary school can be based on the portfolio.