Kindergarten is important for every child regardless of where they grow up
Preschool for all
Sofija Pavićević is six years old and lives with her family in the village of Ubli in the Kuči area. The closest preschool institution is 15 kilometres from Sofija's home. In order to ensure that Sofija and her friends in this village and in other rural parts of Montenegro are not deprived of the opportunity to attend preschool education, the Ministry of Education, with the support of UNICEF, has established local kindergarten groups, the so-called Outreach Preschool Service, in 16 municipalities throughout Montenegro.
The Outreach Preschool Service serves as a kindergarten in the rural, remote areas of the municipality. The one here in Ubli, in the Kuči area, serves the same purpose. We work with the children to prepare them to go to school.
Alma Radončić is a preschool teacher who works with Sofija and her friends in the premises of the local Đoko Prelević Primary School. Thanks to the great interest from parents and children, many interactive services have evolved into regular kindergartens that work five days a week.
Sofija starts her primary education in autumn, and she is looking forward to the title of first-grader. Until September, she will continue to enjoy herself every time she goes to kindergarten.
I like going to kindergarten very much because I learn a lot there. I spend time with my friends, and whenever my mother tells me that I’m going to go to kindergarten the next day or in the morning, I immediately cheer up.
This bright six-year-old tells us that she plays kindergarten at home with her three-year-old brother, Vuk. In this game, of course, she plays the role of her teacher Alma and helps her brother learn everything she has learnt in kindergarten.
I have learned a lot of songs in kindergarten. I have learned how to draw, create collages, and we have also learned some letters.
The Outreach Preschool Service has contributed to increasing the number of children attending kindergartens, which is one of the key goals of the Strategy for Early and Preschool Education (2106-2020). Recent data shows that the number of children in kindergartens rose from 52% in 2015 to 73 % in 2019.
Quality preschool education helps children build self-confidence and acquire problem-solving skills through the systematic support of the preschool teacher and through playing with other children. In this sense, the Outreach Preschool Service allows children from remote rural areas in Montenegro to develop critical competencies – cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills.
Sofija's father, Milovan, has also noticed all of this himself. He is very satisfied with the progress of his children since they started attending kindergarten.
Both of them are much more active. They have become more independent. They also enjoy learning, and I can see from their behaviour that they are extremely satisfied. This means a lot to us, as their parents, because no matter how much we work with them at home, it will never be the same as learning with their peers, especially when some tasks need to be solved without our assistance.
Alma, their teacher, is proud of what these children have achieved while attending the Outreach Preschool Service.
"We are trying to help those children attending the Outreach Preschool Service to keep up with children who go to the kindergarten every day. The children have adapted very well and quickly, they are much more independent, they wish to learn, their mutual interaction is better, and I can safely say that they are better prepared compared to when we began working with them," says Alma.
The right to education is one of the fundamental rights of children. Kindergartens are places where children develop their abilities, talents and skills from their earliest age. Every child has the right to realise their full potential, regardless of where they grow up.