During 2006-2008 UNICEF conducted a series of studies of parents knowledge about child development. (reference to these studies is in the publication section). The studies found that parents knowledge are very selective, full of erroneous ideas, often depends on commercial advertisements or, on the contrary, on retarded traditional approaches, thus being inadequate.
With this in view UNICEF initiated a series of pilot projects on training parents in Lviv, Donetsk and Ivano-Frankivsk. The projects showed that training programs for parents are most affective in combination with a system of providing primary medical assistance to mothers and children, which allows reaching a maximal number of parents and young children as well as keeping up interest of the parents to receive knowledge beginning from pregnancy period through the time when a child is six years old.
However, it is very important to apply inter-sector approach by attracting social workers, psychologists, teachers, specialists in various interventions and development of children with special needs. A system approach, which allowed rolling out parents training in the whole oblast from the oblast centre to villages in the mountains, was developed in Ivano-Frankivsk in partnership with the state administration, the Institute of Post-Graduation Education and Oblast Children Hospital, which, by the way, was the first in Ukraine to receive Baby-Friendly Hospital status.
Preliminary results showed considerable improvement of physical health and development of children due to considerable improved level of parents knowledge. Now the documents and results of the Ivano-Frankivsk project are under independent expertise with the aim of sharing the best experiences.
Swedish experience of Schools for Dads initiated in Ukraine by the Vinnitsa NGO Oleh is rolled out with support of UNICEF. With UNICEF support such schools were created and now work in Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk and Zhitomyr. Manual on creation of schools for dads and organization of their work is being prepared for publication.
Ukraine is involved in the global project on elaboration of standards for development and education of children and as a result a programme on development of children from birth to three years Zernyatko was jointly developed by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Science with support of UNICEF. The Programme is underlain by the document entitled Basic Component of Children Pre-School Education in Ukraine. This document specifies structure and content of the national standards of the child development.
Draft standards were presented at a number of international meetings devoted to the child development and were approved and supported as a concept Verification of the standards for compliance by conducting national research and development of the plan for implementation of the standards will be the next step recommended by the international expert group.