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The Early Years - An Opportunity of a Life Time campaign (2009)


Open days of preschools in five municipalities in the north of Montenegro

Berane/Bijelo Polje/Rozaje/Andrijevica/Plav, 22. June 2015 – Within the campaign "Preschool for All", implemented by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education with the aim to raise awareness of parents about the benefits of preschool education and to increase preschool enrollment rates, open days of preschools were held in five cities in the northern region of Montenegro. 

Children celebrating the day of open doors of preschools in Rozaje - UNICEF Montenegro / Dusko Miljanic / 2015

Children from five preschools in Berane, Bijelo Polje, Rozaje, Andrijevica and Plav, showed their peers and their parents how they play, dance and what they have learned in preschool. 

Resad Kadrovic, director of preschool in Rozaje, noticed that parents and children respond very well to the campaign. "Many parents are interested in enrolling their children in preschool education. They have already realized the importance of preschool education, and I am confident that this campaign will have effects, not only in the short term, but also in the long run. This year we already have a much bigger interest, and deadline for preschool enrollment is met by parents."  

"We are so delighted with the “Preschool for All" initiative, particularly because not so many things were implemented in the north region so far. As for parents, according to the survey I conducted, they are all very satisfied, and campaign already has a positive influence on the enrollment of children in preschools," said Minela Markisic, director of preschool in Plav. 

The campaign is part of a broader initiative of the Montenegrin educational system, with the support of UNICEF, which aims to achieve 100 percent preschool coverage of children aged 3 to 6 until 2020. 

Director of preschool in Bijelo Polje, Ida Cetkovic, is also pleased with the campaign. "Two months have passed since the beginning of this campaign launched by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF. Expectations are very good. However, preschool coverage of 35 percent in our municipality is a very small number. Regardless of the two new kindergartens opened this year, our spatial capacities are still very insufficient."

Key findings of the survey conducted before the campaign among the parents of children aged 3-6 who do not attend preschools and live in the north of Montenegro indicates that majority of parents, over 60 percent of them, say that they are not sufficiently informed about the work of preschools. 

The same survey shows that one in five parents believe that the primary role of preschools is to serve as a day-care and to provide assistance for parents who work, failing to recognise the crucial importance of preschool education for early childhood development and learning social skills that a child does not gain at home.  

Dobrasin Lalevic, Director of preschool in Andrijevica, draws attention to the importance of children's socialization with their peers in kindergarten. "It is a fact that people who live in the villages in the northern region still believe that kindergarten is only for children who do not have anybody to take care of them or whose parents work. However, I hope we have helped young parents in the last few months, through these activities, to realize that playing with grandparents is not what a child needs. I do not want to abandon the traditional values of Montenegro. On the contrary, I want to point it out as a positive example. But a 3-year or 4-year old child does not need a 60-year or 80-year old partner for playing."

Children performing on the daay of open doors of preschool in Berane - UNICEF Montenegro, Dusko Miljanic / 2015 

By promoting the principle of learning through play, NGO "Pedagogical Center“ and the Department of Pre-School Education of the Faculty of Philosophy have organized throughtout the campaign outdoor preschools in five towns in the northern region of the country. The aim was to present the benefits of preschool education to children and parents, but also to enhance the skills of teachers. 

Marijana Blecic, from NVO Pedagogical Center, says that the campaign was a fun experience for everyone involved and believes that they all have learned a lot from each other. "Everything we have brought was primarily intended for children that live in these towns, and then for their preschool teachers, and, finally, for all of us. What I can say with certainty is that we carefully selected all the materials, trying so hard to design all the games in the best possible way and make them entertaining for all children. My expectations are high. I believe with all my heart that this will bring more children to kindergartens. A common spirit that we all believe in it is recognizable."

Apart from increasing the preschool coverage in future, Montenegro’s goal is also to improve the quality of preschool education, since early childhood is crucial for child's physical, intellectual, emotional and social development.



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