A Touch of Children’s Magic in the School of Life in Deronje
It was a bright, sunny, unexpectedly warm day for the beginning of October. As if the outdoors perfectly mirrored our enthusiasm and positive energy inside.
The picture that welcomed us at the opening ceremony of the 11th School of Life in the village of Deronje, the municipality of Odzaci, was quite contrary to the melancholic site we encountered during our first visit to “Carolija”. The kindergarten was now reconstructed and transformed into a dream place for 50 boys and girls 3-5 years old, within the preschool institution “Poletarac”.
New and colourful preschool classrooms were full of children, who were laughing, playing, and enjoying with their friends. Accompanied by our partners from the Center for Interactive Pedagogy we were glad to be reminded once again why the things we do for children in Serbia are so rewarding. One should see their happy faces when they are completely absorbed in play, trying to find the last, missing part of a giant puzzle. A smile may take just a moment, but the memory of that smile can last forever. And we secretly hope they will never lose their innocence and goodness, nor their charming curiosity. We are doing our best to ensure they have a proper start in life, help them reach their full potential and pursue their dreams. Because we know they can achieve them one day.
Give me a child, and I’ll shape him into anything – B.F. Skinner
Unfortunately, people who play a key role in education and development of children during their early years are rarely acknowledged. Therefore, one of the goals of our projects is to change the way we see early educators and provide them with necessary support.
The “Schools of Life – Together for Childhood” project aims not just to refurbish old preschool facilities, but also to offer specialized training courses for professional development of teachers, as well as to organize various educational, interactive and interesting workshops for children and their parents.
In late November, our partners from CIP – Center for Interactive Pedagogy hosted the seminar “Neither black, nor white – a program for working with children / young people against prejudice, for tolerance and intercultural relations” for preschool staff at kindergarten “Carolija”.
The event encouraged the participants to exchange their previous teaching experience, share new ideas, and discuss about possibilities of incorporating some innovative teaching methods and techniques into day-to-day activities and work with children and their parents…
Together we learn, grow and become more successful in our mission.
One of the important aspects of our projects is sustainability, reflected through empowering the local communities. In addition, it’s great to see that our efforts to do significant things for children are recognized and supported by the local citizens. Their positive initiatives often follow our project implementation.
These good examples included the visit of the Women’s Association members to kindergarten in Deronja. They held workshops and spend a lovely time with children, showing them how to make wool Christmas decorations. Our guests were amazed by their open-mindedness and readiness to master new skills.
Kids were so proud of their abilities and creations. The next thing they were introduced to was the art of making a tapestry. Some of the parents reported that children insisted on teaching them how to spin yarn using a spinning wheel, convinced that they understand the whole process better than adults. “It seems we have to start our own sheep farm”, parents wittily responded.
This and many other similar Schools of Life stories show that if we work together we can really make a big difference in children’s lives. They also encourage us and our partners from the Center for Interactive Pedagogy to keep on doing the right things for the right reasons.
We truly believe in children and their dreams. Join us and let’s make great things together. For children. For our future.