Date: 13-05-2014

New manual for diversification of programs in Serbia

  • The manual and its practicum offer alternative ways to make preschool education accessible to a larger number of children that still remain outside the mainstream system.
  • Two ISSA full members, the CIP - Center for Interactive Pedagogy from Serbia and VBJK from Belgium, through close collaboration, played a crucial role in the development of the manual and its practicum.

Within the early childhood education projects Kindergartens without Borders- More Opportunities for Learning and Development of Young Children (supported by UNICEF and the IKEA company) and Improvement of Preschool Education in Serbia –IMPRES (IPA project implemented with EU financial support, under the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development) experts and educators have gathered experiences in preschool centers of 25 municipalities to assess and later implement new inclusive and innovative educational programs. “The manual and its practicum enable teachers to adopt new models of working with children, to change the way they think about the space they work in, about the material, time spent with the children, their own participation in the overall process, to initiate small changes in regular groups and to arouse the curiosity of their colleagues to make changes” says Biljana Lipovsek., who is a pedagogue in Serbia. According to UNICEF, only half of the children between 3 and 5.5 years are covered by public preschool education in Serbia. Only one out of every three children living in rural areas belongs to this group, as well as only a fourth of the children with special needs. Among the most disadvantaged ones, barely 8% of the Roma children and only a fifth of the poorest receive preschool education. In order to tackle this social inequality, the practicum explores alternative ways to access more children such as increasing flexibility in the school schedule, offering long and short time frames; buses that work as mobile centers for children who live too far from the kindergartens and new activities like drama studio and the Hang Out room where parents can stay and get involved in the children’s play. As a result if the project, there has been a change of perception towards the most disadvantaged groups in practical issues such as the enrolment policy, giving preference to children from marginalized social groups and providing local self-government allocations for their free attendance. For those interested in learning more about the project, both the manual and the practicum can be downloaded in English and Serbian through this link, ISSA is a vibrant network that connects professionals and non-profit organizations working in the field of early childhood development. Established in the Netherlands in 1999, ISSA’s community today stretches across the globe with its more than 50 members primarily located in Europe and Central Asia. Building upon the Step by Step Program initiated by the Open Society Foundations in 1994, ISSA aims to ensure equal access to quality care and education for all young children from 0 to 10 years old. This mission is implemented through three main pillars of action: equal access for all children; promoting high-quality and professionalism in early years services and empowering parents and communities to be part of the children’s development and learning. For more information on the ISSA network, please contact Alejandra Mahiques at