Schools of Life Story: Magic Wand, Turn Me into a Princess
“Schools of Life” in the village Sirca improve early child development and enable kids to become well-educated and creative, willing to make a difference, and help others in need.
Two Spider-Men, a butterfly, a princess and a fairy godmother! If they had a magic wand, Dido, Jana, Bogdan, Iva and Senka, children from the “Schools of Life” in the village Sirca near Kraljevo, would cast a spell and travel to the world of heroes, fairy tales and everlasting happiness on the wings of imagination. If they could, they would just wave their magic wands, say the magic words and turn into characters from their favourite cartoons and stories.
Firstly, I would use the magic to help the elderly, and then I would become Spider-Man – said the little boy Bogdan, probably unaware how mature, smart and empathic he sounded. At the same time, his wish was so sweet and sincere, as only children’s wishes can be.
Last Wednesday more than forty boys and girls, aged 3-6 years, waited for one of their biggest heroes to come and visit them in their newly built kindergarten. But, this time it was not Spider-Man, nor Superman or Batman, as you may think. They were waiting for Novak Djokovic, the best tennis player in the world.
Novak and his Foundation did something wonderful for us. They helped us have this wonderful classroom. We have a lot of toys, teachers are nice, it’s always warm and cozy, even better than what he have at home. We like going to “Schools of Life”. We learn so many new things here, play with friends, and enjoy. Right now, we are waiting for Novak to come, to thank him for all he did for us, and to kiss and hug him – said Magdalena (4) while tapping with a red marker on the paper in front of her.
The children gathered around the little masterpiece they had made especially for Novak.
This is the “Tree of friendship” – the kids explained.
They first dipped their hands in paint and left palm prints of different colours on a large sheet of paper. Teachers then wrote children’s names under each palm print, along with the message they wished for Novak.
I wish you continue to play tennis for our country and win many titles… Don’t lose your matches, ever… Be a good person and a good father… Listen to your son and stay a good man forever… Stay world’s No. 1 in many years to come… Play good, be good… Beat your opponents… I wish Novak came to our village… Win many titles and never lose… Always win, never give up, and try to be kind, gentle and patient… Be the best tennis player in the world and never lose… Be forever young… – these were some of the things kids wished for Novak. In the corner of the paper there was a little golden plate with the inscription “Friends for life“.
We even prepared a memory book for him and his Foundation – whispered Teodora from the corner. Then she got up and brought it along.
There is a thank you note, too. We hope he’ll like it – added the little girl, reading the message aloud –Thank you for believing in our dreams and doing whatever it takes to make them come true. We believe in you!
It was nearly 10 in the morning. Novak was about to come to Sirca any minute. From time to time the children got up from their seats, came closer to the window and looked towards the school yard. Bogdan was the first who spotted the car as it stopped in front of the entrance gate of the new kindergarten. Novak Djokovic Foundation has previously provided EUR 28000 for the facility reconstruction, teachers’ training, new furniture, didactic materials and toys for the “Schools of Life” project in this village.
He is here!
The children jumped with joy, showing great excitement and happiness. Teacher helped them make a line and stand one after another. They waited the doors to open. Djokovic came a few minutes later and rushed to embrace them all. Then they sat on the floor, and started to play, have fun and laugh…
Today I decided to join my NDF team and visit one of the five “Schools of Life” we have created so far. We have invested more than RSD 28 million in this project. Early child development is crucial for children. Therefore, one of our objectives is to raise awareness about the importance of preschool programs. The sad fact is that less than fifty per cent of kids aged 3-4 attend preschool programs in Serbia. We want to change that for better, by opening as many Schools of Life and kindergartens in our country as possible, especially in economically and socially disadvantaged municipalities. Thanks to this project, I hope we will be able to encourage parents in Serbia to enroll their children in kindergartens and give them the opportunity to attend preschool programs. It is vital that they understand the importance of early childhood development and education – said Novak after spending time with kids.
Last year Novak Djokovic Foundation opened the fifth “School of Life” for 40 children, aged 3-6 years, in the village Sirca, near Kraljevo. The project “Schools of Life – Together for Childhood” improves early childhood development in Serbia, especially in rural areas where the lack of preschools is even more evident. It provides children with the opportunity to make new friends, socialize, play and attend quality preschool programs. Center for Interactive Pedagogy is the NDF partner in the project “Schools of Life – Together for Childhood”.