ENHANCING QUALITY IN ECEC THROUGH PARTICIPATION

Hand in hand

 General goals of the activity

  • Create partnerships with the community.
  • Stronger involvement of school children in preschool activities.
  • Gather and develop children’s social, organizational and communication skills.
  • Involve parents in activities.
  • Enhance acceptance and respect for diversity.
  • Raise awareness of safety in transport.

 Description of the activity

In September on the first meeting some parents in our group came up with a proposal: that we could cooperate with children from primary schools. In my group we have two girls whose mother works as a teacher at the school in Slovenska Bistrica and offered to help. We agreed on a year-round cooperation with children in the 5th grade of a primary school.

At the end of September we planed and went on a hike with the children of the primary school. Parents were informed of the activities through bulletin boards and email. We prepared invitations; when, where to, how long will the hike take and so on of a primary school’s “(Parents can join when possible).

The first visit started with a surprise, the older children from school gave “friendship bracelets” they had made themselves to every preschool child.
Happiness could be seen on both sides.

For the next meeting, we prepared a “traffic park” (including road signs and traffic lights) and the preschool and primary school children went together (two by two – hand in hand) through this traffic park and learned what the signs mean, where one has to wait, how to properly cross the street, etc. The next activity was a hike.

Children from primary school were the preschool children’s companions. They took them by the hand and carefully instructed them on the proper way of crossing the road, walking along the pavement and, of course, genuine friendships began to emerge during this journey. On the lawn in front of the forest, we made a big circle, learned a new game together and sang songs about friendship.

Some of the older children asked if we could join them in class? We all laughed, but we got the idea for our next gathering. This is just another evidence of the fact that learning can be (even more) enjoyable, successful and interesting if it’s done from child to child. After completing the activity, we prepared some pictures of the meeting and wrote comments. The parents and their children looked at the pictures together and continued discussing the activities at home.

Parents were invited every time. Those who had time, came and cooperated. We can ask parents for new ideas for next meetings. What would they like to do together, when etc. We collected ideas and made plans for future.

It is important to:

  • organize which tasks have to be carried out by whom. (Presentation of the meeting, when, making invitations, information for parents, preparing materials, setting up…).
  • Write a plan.
  • Give the invitation to the children, parents and teacher one week before the meeting.
  • Remind parents of the meeting the day before it takes place. Check the materials needed.
  • Prepare the space, playground (music, snacks, tee, coffee) and materials.
  • Take photos, ask children and parents about their opinion. What do they would like in the future/ for next meeting?
  • Evaluation of the opinions and suggestions of and for our work.

 Remarks

(issues to be aware of when implementing the activity)

For successful cooperation we need:

  • Successful communication and organization between educators and teachers.
  • Ready-made devices.
  • To motivate children to this form of cooperation: the educator and the teacher must be willing to participate and have a genuine commitment to companionship, understanding and cooperation, while seeking new challenges and approaches. They must be open to the exchange of experiences, skills and pleasant coexistence and the promotion of friendship between different generations.

 Role of the teacher

  • Encourage children (bracelets, traffic park) to provide the song,  and care for their safety and wellbeing.
  • Team work (in this case the parent of a child in the group).
  • Prepare children for this kind of activity.
  • Prepare devices.
  • Report the date of activities to parents.

Role of the family

The role of the family is to encourage their children to such a way of socializing and check that they wear right sports clothing and footwear for the planned activity.

After the activity they should meet together with the children, look at the pictures and discuss new activities at home.

 Added value for the child and the family

We believe that the greatest added value for the child and his or her family is that the children vividly explain the activities they have experienced with the primary school children to their parents.

Parents love to look at photos and see their child, ask how he/she was, what he/she was doing and we think that with this event the participation of all parents, children and teachers has greater depth.

We can plan the next event together with all parents.

Materials to be used

  • Invitations.
  • Properly prepared space.
  • Friendship bracelets (any material, das mass, wooden beads, colored circles, straws, salt dough...) or some other materials needed, to create a small gift  for new friends.
  • Traffic signs and traffic lights (for the traffic park).
  • Different games for children.
  • Songs.

Guiding questions to reflect on the general improvement of the service

  • Did the practice meet the needs from which it originated?
  • In what way did the activity improve the participation of the community?
  • To what extent did the activity improve our professional development as a team?
  • How did the activity affect the development of the relationship of trust with the parents / community?

Partners