"Preschool for All" campaign raises preschool enrolment rates
BERANE, December 2015 - Five-year old Damir attends preschool for the first time this year. He already met his best friend Alan in the kindergarten.
“You write, play and learn songs over there. It is very funny and I have many friends in there. And then our teacher draws something for us and we paint… I’ve learned how to write alphabet letters in the kindergarten,“ Damir said.
In line with the efforts of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education to provide preschool education to all children in the country, for Damir and his friends a new, free, three-hour preschool program was launched in September in the public preschool "Radmila Nedic" in Berane.
These children have never gone to the kindergarten before and they have never spent time in a group of peers before. We insisted to try this initiative to see how the children will react. We included children from three to six years old - predominantly preschoolers. It is a three-hour program, a short one, where children do not sleep or have meals. However, they spend three hours socializing, singing songs, playing and learning of course.
Aware of the exceptional importance of preschool education for early childhood development, in spring of 2015, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education launched the campaign "Preschool for All" in five municipalities in the north of Montenegro, where the preschool enrolment rates are the lowest.
According to the preschool managers and teachers in Berane, the campaign “Preschool for All” influenced most of the people in their environment to seriously think about this and decide to enrol children in preschool.
“The campaign “Preschool for all” gave us an incentive to take our child to kindergarten. He is satisfied, he behaves differently. We feel that change. He begins to write, and to self-prepare as well,“ Halida Kozar, a parent from Berane, explained.
“This year’s enrollment to kindergartens, thanks to the campaign, is 27 per cent higher than it was last year. We have the preschoolers enrolled to the maximum, with a three-hour preparatory program. Next year I expect - with the approval of the Ministry - that we will transform this program into a half-day stay,“ the preschool director in Berane, Jovan Komatina, said.
The campaign “Preschool for All” was 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.