Meet Mateja – A Talented Boy from Our School of Life
On our visit to the School of Life in Merosina, we meet Mateja, six-year-old boy with warm, sad eyes. “I’d like to show you what I can do with Lego”, he says, smiling shyly. The rest of his class soon gathers around him, wondering what he will make this time.
He plays with blocks every day and other children are so fond of watching his creativity and imagination in action. Mateja is really incredible. He experienced the joy of playing with blocks for the first time in kindergarten. Yet he was able to build amazing things, such as pirate ship, right from the start – reveals Danijela, their teacher.
While being busy creating his new unique master piece, the sadness in his eyes is replaced with curiosity and excitement, and nothing in the world matters more.
His mother, Milica, looking at her three children with pride, recalls the first time she came to the School of Life to take Mateja home:
I’ve never seen him so happy. He took me by the hand and led me to the shelf where the teacher exhibited the ship he made, as a memory of that day.
Nearly a year and a half since the opening of the kindergarten in Merosina, her three-year-old daughter, Marijana, has also become a preschooler.
Every day Milica walks several miles with her children, including the youngest one, a baby in a stroller, to take Mateja and Marijana to kindergarten and later bring them home. Milica explains:
Nothing is too difficult. I’m grateful my children have the opportunity to receive proper education in their early years and play and enjoy with their friends. Unfortunately, we can’t afford toys and books they have here. We are farmers and our income may significantly vary, depending on whether the harvest is good or bad. However, smiles on their faces as we enter preschool and things they have learned, experienced and discovered so far, are worth every mile we walk daily. Moreover, spending time in kindergarten isn’t just beneficial for children. It means a lot to parents as well. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to fulfil all my duties at home.
Happiness and enthusiasm of the Ilic family and great progress little Mateja has made confirm crucial importance of investing in ECD and ECE. If we provide access to high-quality preschool programs and create best possible learning environment, all children can develop their hidden talents, reach their full potentials and become winners in any field.
Authors: Bojana Djurdjevic and Bojana Rangelov, NDF team