foto: Člověk v tísni, ilustrační foto
Early in the morning I wake up to the familiar ring of the alarm clock. I get up, eat breakfast and kiss my sleepy boyfriend goodbye. I rush to the Dejvická stop and take the usual morning bus to Kladno, a town right outside of Prague.
I use the commute to think. Lately I have been mostly contemplating the purpose of my work at the pre-school club. It is attended by three- to seven-year old children who mostly come from a socially deprived background. It has been successfully operating for more than a year, has a good reputation and the children´s parents have welcomed it with great enthusiasm.
I walk to “our house”, a two storey family house with a garden. I meet the parents at the door already before eight. The children greet me with a smile and we shake hands. That´s a positive sign. After two months at the club they already know what is going to happen: They change into slippers, stow their snacks away in their lockers and off they go to take out all the toys. I wait until everybody is here. Only one family is late, but they still arrive within the set limit.
Six-year-old Bára came today as well. Her parents can´t afford to pay for a standard kindergarten. Their paediatrician recommended our club to them.
When Bára first came she did not speak. It took two weeks for her to sit down in the classroom. She only watched. She observed me a lot and smiled. It was a challenging situation: A silent girl whose mother tongue is Romani. I said to myself, “Don´t push, take it slowly.”
The daily routine of the club will introduce a reliable rhythm, and that might help. During the day there are two activity rounds: One focuses on creative activities, the other is dedicated to singing, dancing, playing games and exercise. Other kindergartens follow a similar programme. The creative part presents no problem for Bára. She enjoys drawing and can hold a pencil correctly. The task is clear from what the other children are doing. But today something changed during singing.
Bára sits outside the circle, but inching closer and closer. She is opening her mouth and singing without words.
I can´t believe my own eyes! That is a major step forward from total distrust to overcoming her reservations.
It took a long time, but it feels great. It made my day. Then I hear the cuckoo – our substitute for a bell. The parents pick up their children. We shake hands. See you tomorrow!
This kind of work is so fulfilling because I can see the results every day. The children make progress and their parents learn how to cooperate with teachers. There is a huge interest in the services of our club and many parents come to ask about placement for their children. It makes me sad to say no to them for capacity reasons. The waiting list is growing quickly.
Maybe Bára will “sing” again.
How do People in Need’s pre-school clubs work?
Pre-school preparation is important for a successful start at school and for future achievements in children’s lives. Around 200 children, who are attending 12 pre-school clubs of People in Need, are growing up socially excluded areas, with little support for their talents or help for their weaker spots. Together with their parents they face many problems that prevent them from attending regular kindergartens. Our pre-school clubs attempt to pave their way to a better future. By offering them a helping hand early on in their lives we try to improve the odds that they will not depend on social welfare later in their lives and will grow up to be self-confident, successful adults.
Do you want to help build a Better School?
- Autor: Člověk v tísni
- Škola: Předškolní klub, Bílina