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Public Community Soros Educational Step by Step Center

The Public Community Soros Educational Step by Step Centre was founded by Soros Foundation Kazakhstan on 14 December, 1998. The mission of our organisation is to form a new generation, that will become active citizens and appreciate the values inherent in a democratic way of life, be able to plan independently, qualitatively their own future and thus to have orientation in the emerging market economy and democracy.

SbSís model child-centred program was developed by the Open Society Institute in partnership with Georgetown University. The program encompasses three major childhood initiatives: constructivism, developmentally appropriate practices and progressive education. The programís methodology is based on child-centred teaching, with an emphasis on:

  • Individualising learning experiences for each child;
  • Assisting children in making choices through planned activity and activity Centres;
  • Parent and Community involvement

SbSís methodology promotes a way of teaching that is new to Kazakhstan, working with all levels of education institutions: kindergartens, schools, pedagogical colleges, institutes/universities and teacher re-training institutes. SbS supports the parentsí right to participate in establishing educational goals for their children.

In Kazakhstan, SbS has started its activities in 1996 as a pilot project in 6 regions, as a program of the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan. Since then, SbS has trained more than 1900 teachers to use an innovative methodology that promotes active learning, personal responsibility, initiation and parent involvement. A team of leading specialists of the Departments of Education has been trained to develop special child centred courses for teaching students. As a result, student teachers complete their practicum in SbS classrooms and write their diplomas and course work on child-centred methods. In collaboration with Teacher Re-Training Institutes SbS has designed courses, methodological recommendations and practical guidelines for teachers and parents.

SbS has an official agreement with the Ministry of Education and local governments. The Ministry of Education and Science has a deep understanding of SbSís child centred programs and values the contribution of SbS in building a democratic society through education. The Ministry included SbS in the activity plan for 2000-2005 years to implement democratic approaches for Preschool aged students (6-7) and primary school (1-4 Grade).

Objectives:

  • Becoming strong as a sustainable NGO;
  • Providing high professional and qualitative level services for parents, educators and other related NGOs;
  • Providing the effectiveness of the regional Centreís activities to expand and develop the democratic ideas;
  • Co-ordinating network and interaction of schools, pedagogical institutes and teacher re-training institutes of the Republic;
  • Forming parent/teacher Associations;
  • Collaborating with other organisations and NGOs

Main activities:

  • Training school teachers to educate life-long learners to create a learning atmosphere based on mutual respect and democratic principles by introducing interactive teaching methods that promote students' individuality;
  • Training parents and community members to become active advocates of their children;
  • Training early childhood faculty to change methods of preparation for future school teachers;
  • Providing technical and methodological assistance to Step by Step schools, particularity in the rural areas;
  • Supporting creation of inclusive classrooms as an alternative model of de-institutionalisation of children with special needs;
  • Supporting professional growth of specialists, psychologists, both in their teaching and research practices;
  • Promoting continuity of developmentally appropriate practices at middle school level.