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Kindergartens

Every kindergarten that wishes to participate in our project can fill out the application.

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Would you like your child to participate in an international ‘Say Hello to the World’ project? You can speak to your kindergarten teacher and inform her about us, or contact us. We will try to do our best to make it happen.

News

PROJECT “SAY HELLO TO THE WORLD” AS A METHOD OF COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT IN PRESCHOOL EDUCATION

21/01/2020 07:57:43

Developing children's competences in their preschool age is crucial when preparing for school and for a successful life. Traditional methods of education are no longer enough for modern children. Participation in the international project "Say Hello to the World" has opened up the possibility of using new methods to develop children's abilities. We have been participating in this project since October 2018. We communicate with a mixed group of 19 children aged 4-6 years of the Vrtec Urša Kindergarten in Slovenia. The preschool group of children of Šilutė kindergarten nursery "Žibutė" in Lithuania is also mixed: it includes 20 children, the majority is six years old and the rest are five years old. The children are curious, agile, willing to communicate and be noticed, and they are receptive to technological innovations as it is characteristic of children of such age. It is for these reasons that we were interested in expanding the horizons of cognition of the world of children, using virtual communication methods - correspondence, exchange of photos, video and audio recordings and broadcasts.

The project's cycle of activities consists of five topics: "This is Me", "Me and my Family", "Me and my Kindergarten", "Me and my Town", "Me and my Country". The purpose of these topics is to develop the right children's social attitudes in different contexts - in relation to oneself, to their immediate environment - their family, their first community - kindergarten, their town and their homeland. The values of the human being given to the children during the project are tolerance to non-stereotypical appearance, another language, differences between peoples and cultures. It is these values that are particularly relevant in the modern global world.

We paid special attention to the topic "Me and my Family". In the family, a small person, along with family members, acquires valuable attitudes, develops behavioral principles, and prepares for independent living. The values of a child depend on the family's climate, proximity, interrelationship and understanding of their importance. High-quality communication between family members is particularly important for children and their parents. This creates a warm, secure emotional environment and mutual trust. Thanks to these factors, a child's self-esteem grows and his personality growth is more successful. Thus, understanding about the family is crucial for the growth of a successful personality that creates a successful society - the foundation of a prosperous country. That is one of the goals of children's education.

This topic was carried out with active involvement of parents and other family members, as common activities of children and their relatives encouraged close relationships. Activities were divided into separate stages.

During the first stage, families selected photos that captured the fun and significant moments of their life (christening, holidays, family celebrations, etc.). Children, using the interactive screen, had to recognize the friends of their group in the photos, predict what ties them with other people in the photos. In the second stage, the children talked about celebrations that we celebrate and which of them are important for the family. In the kindergarten group there was a general Advent family night. Children with their family members produced toys for a group Christmas tree. During the third stage, parents were asked to draw a family picture with their children or to create a family genealogy tree. In the fourth stage, preparation for a virtual meeting with friends from the town of Domžale in Slovenia was carried out.

During the first stage, most children immediately recognized their friends and guessed where their mother, dad, brother or sister were. Children have been impressed by the similarity with other family members. They analyzed what their friends were like to their relatives, in what families the children were living (with both parents, one of the parents), talking about the families they know. Some have said that grandparents can live in the family, and pets have been named as family members by others.

The second stage was about Christmas, which is celebrated in a large part of the world and is important for families. Children were familiarized with the ancient Lithuanian tradition of having family nights during the period of Advent and working together. Children invited family members to the Advent night to make a toy for the Christmas tree. Everyone was eager to get involved in the creative process, enjoyed the toys made by themselves and by others.

 

Picture 1. Children invited family members to the Advent night to make a toy for the Christmas tree. (Photo: Inga Mockienė)

 

During the third stage, children with their family members drew their family or family genealogy tree. Here, the inventiveness of families was revealed – some of them described the genealogical tree of their family in writing, others – by drawing it or by using a computer. One girl's mother was happy with her daughter's discovery – she was trying to draw the faces of her relatives so accurately that she was looking at the eyes of one or the other relative. Another child's mother joyfully shared that she was having an idea of a genealogical tree of her family for a long time, but was postponing it. This activity has become a great incentive to realize a long-cherished dream.

The idea of the final stage was to show Slovenian friends something sensitive related to childhood and family. Mother’s closeness and caress are very important for children from infancy. Then they feel safe and grow healthy. A lullaby that the mothers were singing to their children and the children to their toys illustrates it. Due to parents being too busy a closed group was created on a social network, where the kindergarten teacher communicated with the parents of the children. It was chosen here which lullaby to sing. Parents decided which one was more beautiful, shared the record with those who had to learn it.  On the day of the virtual meeting, they gathered earlier and discussed how they would sit, where they would stand and rehearsed greetings and farewell in Slovenian language as well as the lullaby. During the performance, the children and their relatives presented their family drawings and genealogical trees, followed by a lullaby. After the meeting, the mothers were happy to experience many positive emotions together with the children, they said that it was very interesting to do something unusual and shared their thoughts that it was fun and interesting to get together and that they would like more similar gatherings.

 

Picture 2. During the video call the children and their relatives presented their family drawings and genealogical trees. (Photo Inga Mockienė)

 

Although not all parents were actively involved in the activities organized during the project, some of them cooperated and even if they could not participate because of being too busy, they were happy to do homework with their children. Most people realized that quality time spent with children is very valuable not only for children but also for them. Children were happy about the joint activities with their parents and this encouraged them to be proud of their parents. Collaboration between children of the group, members of their families and teachers became closer and more productive, and relationships became closer and warmer.

This project is designed to develop children's social skills, which is a priority of our group’s educational plan throughout the year. During the project, the children increased their social competence and their self-esteem increased. Children realized that they were unique, growing, changing and improving. They learned to behave properly in the immediate environment – the family and the group. Within this competence, other competencies have been playfully developed: health competence – children have appreciated themselves and others, learned to properly express emotions and feelings, to concentrate, they experienced many good emotions; cognitive competence – children sought information, used different ways to get to know the world, learned to interpret their impressions and experiences, and developed their critical thinking; communication competence – children tried to introduce themselves expressively, they used non-verbal signs (mimics and gestures, etc.), listened to a different language (Slovenian) and learned to greet and say goodbye; artistic competence – children implemented their creative ideas by making toys together with their family members, by drawing family drawings and genealogical trees of the family and by singing a lullaby. In this way, they willingly applied various ways of artistic expression – art and music. Most importantly, together with their family members they have experienced many positive emotions. Thus, the project not only diversified the educational process, but also enriched it.

                                                                                       Kindergarten „Žibutė“, Šilutė, Lithuania

                                                                                Inga Mockienė