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Kosovo Education Center

Photograph of three children paintingThere is an extraordinarily low percentage of Kosovar children participating in early childhood education, compared to countries in the region. Poverty (there is a monthly fee to be paid in preschools), general discouraging conditions (poor conditions of preschools, law salaries of the staff), combined with the traditional patriarchal Kosovar mentality, have the consequence of the usual tendency to let children stay at home with their unemployed mothers or with other members of the wider family such as grandparents. Nonetheless, this overstressed role of the rather big family organizational structure, which results into a lot of emotional support to the children, quite scarce in the modern technological world, has not been used enough to improve the neglected early childhood education. Definitely, Step by Step in Kosovo took advantage of this traditional quality of community life, to enter successfully in preschools which used to offer a routine of discipline and strict obedience, in gray and dull classrooms, which did not succeed to attract the lively children of big families. Definitely the Step by Step in Kosovo made it obvious that the seeds of the reform of education, aiming that kind of education which enables the growth of free personalities, have to be thrown in the very beginning, in the very fist phase of education.

Step by Step program, by undertaking the task of reform of early childhood sector, sets the foundation stone for raising the awareness about the kind of youth we need to build up a prosperous, democratic and tolerant society of the future. Consequently, in Kosovo this program got the reputation of performing the crucial role of positioning the objectives of Kosovar educational system. The program aims to establish the criteria of bringing up the free individuals of the future, shaped by system of education which will directly contribute to the development of a strong civil society and to the efficient growth and improvement of the positive tendencies within Kosovar society. What is more important, this program takes advantage of the cultural tradition of our environment. This includes building on the inclination towards bringing up children within a wider community by incorporating parents into the structure of functioning of the preschool institutions with their active participation in the implementation of the child- centered classrooms. SbS encompasses 149 kindergarten classes, or 70 per cent of all these institutions of Kosovo. There is a total of 27 kindergartens with 108 classrooms, and 84 classrooms within 49 elementary schools.

As part of the constant growth of the implementation of Step by Step in Kosovo and as a result of the continuity of our work, during the year 2001 there were also 12 elementary school involved in our program, with 25 classes where Step by Step is already applied. This makes a total of 9000 Kosovar children and 437 teachers participating in the Step by Step.

The Step by Step program has already succeeded to organize basic and advanced trainings for preschool and school teachers in the region, covering 437 teachers, culminating into the establishment of three training centers in Kosovo. It has provided existing preschool classrooms with education materials and furniture as well as has established the Parents' Room, which encourages the inclusion of the family as an important factor within the Step by Step methodology and perspective. Both parents and teachers are eager to embrace child-centered and interactive methods that promote tolerance, critical thinking and free choice, therefore SBS provides the roots of the reformed educational system which after the decade of isolation has finally access to current information and research.

SBS has included six minority preschool classrooms (Roma, Bosnian, Turkish), ensuring the multiethnic element starting from the early stage of education.

SbS has helped the University of Prishtina Pedagogy Department to update their information about new teaching children-centered methodology, by enabling their attendance in the seminar in Tirana on this topic. It has also initiated the publication of illustrated books for preschool children.

Partner organizations:

UNICEF
Save the Children
IRC
CRC
Feed the children
ABS