Bacău County, promoter of early childhood development
The foundations of an inclusive and quality early education are being laid in Bacău County since 2018, which will bring long-term beneficial transformations to the whole community and beyond.
It is said that the fruit will be top quality if the plant is cared for with great consideration and involvement from its first signs of life. The same is true for education - the first years of a child's life are key in defining the future adult. Parents’ effort alone is not enough, so involving the whole community in the process of ensuring a quality early childhood creates a suitable development environment with long-term positive impact on all parties.
22 communities in Romania have taken on the role of promoters of investment in early childhood development as they understood that the long-term benefit will consist of collective prosperity that extends beyond the boundaries of their own communities.
11 such communities, both from rural and urban areas, are in Bacău County. In 2018, they joined the initiative ‘Romania Grows With You – Early Education, an investment in the future’ which is part of the Inclusive Quality Education programme developed by UNICEF in Romania, in partnership with the Romanian Government and other national, regional and local authorities and NGOs, and has an implementation horizon over 2018-2022.
The foundations of quality education are laid in the first years of life
Mioara Chiriloaie, preschool teacher at the Alecu Russo Secondary School in Bacău is one of the three facilitators of the program ‘Romania Grows With You - Early Education, an investment in the future’, for the communities in Bacău County, respectively for Buhuși, Moinești, Poduri and Târgu Ocna.
She speaks enthusiastically about this initiative and is modest about assuming the role of promoter for change in her community as well as about the results achieved so far by the entire team involved in this process, a team of 53 people, local professionals from the field of education, health and social protection, representatives from city halls and local councils, priests - in other words, "important actors who can help us meet the objectives of this program," as Mioara Chiriloaie says. The team is quite diverse as the programme promotes an integrated approach to education, health and social protection sectors.
So far, the team has focused on mapping each community, with reference to early childhood, to establish the needs of those communities and the required interventions. Based on the results of the analysis, each local team compiled a top 10 of the most important needs and they set to work for their fulfilment.
For example, for the 4 communities mentored by Mioara Chiriloaie, all activity reports have been validated and approved by the local council, while the Local Council Decision has been obtained to include the respective needs and interventions in the future community development strategies.
The need for creches and childcare educators was identified as paramount in all three cities participating in the "Romania Grows With You" program. The current pandemic, however, has placed this need, in some places, on a lower level of urgency.