In our kindergarten, we advocate an integrated learning and holistic approach to perception of child, meaning a step away from the mechanical adoption of predetermined, individual content and focus on researching the undiscovered through the connection between child’s actions and experiences. It is not about the development of certain aspects of development, but child’s developing and learning with his whole being. During all these years of practice, and with the continuous improvement and research of various theoretical understandings of the child, childhood and preschool education, we have developed an approach to working with children that is based on the following foundations:
How do we perceive child?
We see child as a competent being and an active participant in the community of peers and adults, who develops their potentials and developmental capacities through sharing and relationships with others. Through exploring himself and the world around him, in interaction with peers and adults, the child does not develop certain aspects of development, but learns and develops with his whole being, connecting the emotional, social, intellectual and motor development into one integrated whole. By nature, a child is a creative being dedicated to learning and play.
What is the role of educator?
The educator is not to be focused on direct teaching but creating opportunities for joint learning as an integrated experience of the child through what he does and experiences. For us, educators represent the heart and soul of every institution, and the quality of the educational practice itself depends on their understanding of childhood and preschool upbringing and education. Our educators have a high degree of autonomy in their work, but also great support from professional associates and institutions, in order to improve their professional skills. We encourage educators to be guided by a research approach in their work, and to base the improvement of their own practice on its critical re-examination, and not on ready-made solutions from textbooks, manuals, methodologies…
Inclusive education practice and respect for diversity
When we in Tresnjober think about inclusion, we do not perceive it as a legal obligation of the institution, but rather as a right of every child, every parent or preschool teacher to be different and to feel good in being different. The majority of inclusive programs are based on the presumption that we all are equal because we all have the same needs although the ways of meeting them might be different. We support this assumption, but we make a step further for we consider everyone not to be equal but rather equally different and that it is exactly our equal right to be different what enriches us all. Differences in cultural capital that children bring from their families and communities in which they live are not grounds for discrimination or equalization. Instead, social capital evolves through interaction and networking, by building a relationship of belonging and accepting. How do we accomplish it? By creating programs WITH children rather than FOR children. In our institution every child has a valuable voice and the right to choose topics, contents, methods…If each of us feels equal because our opinions are respected, there will be no need for us to treat others with disrespect.
Partnerships with families and local community
Our institution aims at building trust between families, kindergarten and local community by organizing common activities in which families strengthen their capacity to perform an important function of upbringing a child, as well as common activities whose purpose is to provide life experience of children in different social settings. In our institution, in addition to children and preschool teachers, parents are also equally important participants in educational process, for the quality of relationship that the institution tends to build with them significantly affects the quality of relationship with the very children. Parents come to the institution with different expectations, needs, prejudices and our task is to inform and engage them and to act together in order to build a foundation of such a complex relationship as the one between the kindergarten and the family that will be rooted in trust and mutual understanding.