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Open Academy Step by Step

Photograph of three children in classroomThe Association of Parents Step by Step was founded in Zagreb in September 1997. The mission of PA Step by Step is to support the development of democratic relations in the society by protecting, respecting and advocating for the rights and interests of children and families. PA Step by Step has also founded the Open Academy Step by Step to continue this mission.

The PA Step by Step activities are aimed at supporting and implementing projects and programs that encourage a more active participation of parents in the educational process and institutions; communication between children and adults (parents and teachers); multiculturalism; upbringing for peace; ecology; disease and drug prevention; and other issues relating to imporiving the quality of living of children and families. PA Step by Step increases public awareness and advocates for the rights and interests of children, as well as providing counseling to parents on their rights and interests.

The basic activity of the Open Academy Step by Step is retraining and professional improvement of adults - teachers, other professionals, and parents - for applying programs focused on children in nurseries, kindergartens and elementary schools. It is the first retraining center of this type in Croatia. Particular models have been based on humanistic-developmentally approach, educational practice and transmission of new knowledge and practical experiences among teachers and educators as the model "from practice for practice - to the practice." The mentors of training workshops are educators and teachers who apply the Step by Step Model in their practice. Such professionals enhance the training experience by speaking about their own every-day practice. Workshops are also continuously upgraded.

The Parent's Association supplements it's mission to promote child-centered education methods through publishing, which is a self-sustainable activity. It is based on translation of the original Step by Step methodologies, as well original books written by Croatian authors. In addition, two magazines - "Child, Kindergarten, Family" and "Child, School, Family", give the possibility for an exchange of pratice and expericence to teachers and educators in the approach of Step by Step Model.

The Step by Step program has grown since it's initial implentation in Croatia in 1994. From the beginning of 2000, the Ministry of Education has acknowledged the Step by Step program as an official alternative method of the official curiculum known as the model "Step by Step". Currently, there are 265 primary and 258 preschool Step by Step classrooms, with over 12,000 children. More than 1,400 teachers have been trained, and 400 new teachers continue to be reached each year by 34 faculty members offering child-centered material in courses, and 11 training centers conduct re-training of current teachers. PA Step by Step has over 500 members.