SOS Schools in Armenia
SOS Nursery School Kotayk
Report from 2008 from Irina Tadevossyan, SOS Nursery School leader:
The life of the nursery school was becoming more and more child centered with a deeper individual approach towards the children. Children were taught to perceive the outer world and behave in different situations by means of child-centered education and learning programmes, mainly according to Step by Step methodology which is in the process of further deepening in the activities of the nursery school.
Following trainings and being equipped with knowledge and skills, the nursery school started to apply the methods of “the development critical thinking by the means of reading and writing in the nursery school”. The educational methods practiced at teaching elementary skills in dancing, singing, drama, drawing, counting and other basic handicrafts are essential tools in developing positive attitudes towards core human values, in identifying children's talents and preparing them for studies at elementary classes.
The work of the nursery school had the same intensity of the past years, as it was still the only pre-school age child care service provider in the vicinity of the four neighbouring communities. As of 31 December 2008 there were 112 children in the SOS Nursery School including 6 children from the SOS Children’s Village Kotayk, and 106 from the neighbouring communities, while at the end of the educational year we see off 28 children to school.
There is a constant continuation of cooperation between the SOS Nursery School and ISSA Armenia. Nursery School staff have been involved in various trainings and in the course of the reporting period they have undergone another round of training. There is an innovation in the nursery school this year, as since June our children have started to learn English. The fact is more joyful as almost all the children warmly welcome their young teacher, and have been showing great interest towards the language.
As you may know, every year we host a lot of guests, who except for the gifts, make happy our children with their performance. This year we decided to perform outside of the village premises. So, in November a group of our children visited one of the old-aged pensioners' home. Young guests were very warmly welcomed by the residents, who gave them gifts of warm slippers made by themselves, and the nursery school children warmed the walls of the home by their sincere and vivid performance. Throughout one of the summer months, active renovation and refurbishment works have been done, including painting the walls, polishing the floors and so on. The kitchen of nursery school was fully furnished, and one of the utmost facts is that the nursery school had central heating installed, which has significantly reduced the costs of heating during the winter months.
To ensure adequate and safe learning environment for the children, a lot of furniture items and equipment have also been repaired and acquired for the nursery school. During the year much repairs work has been done in the nursery school including partial repair works have also been carried out on the second floor. The playground has been enlarged and extended with a new pavilion and swings. The old swings have also been repaired. It is worth mentioning that after the opening hours of the nursery school, the playground has always been open to be used by the children of the neighboring communities.
The work with the parents recorded numerous successes. It has become more consistent and the involvement of the parents in the issues related to various peculiarities of the children – more professional. Their participation in the educational process emerged from regular meetings at the staff-parent level and expanded into joint discussions, consultative processes and participatory decision making of issues related to the holistic development of the children. The initiated psychological assistance offered to the parents and provided to the children was of great help for the future stable development of the children.
The nursery school staff further developed its cooperation with the public schools of the neighboring Kotayk, Nor Gyugh, Aramus, Akunk villages and the town of Abovian. The nursery school, as part of the school support programme has delivered to the schools of KOTAYK, Nor Gyugh, Aramus and Akunk and Abovian, a total of 40 individual portfolios of children. The portfolios include the nursery school staff observations in the course of the nursery school attendance on the psycho-educational development of the children, as well as the children’s art works and the results of other mental development testing materials that have been used during those years. Additionally, there has also been good co-operation with nursery schools in Yerevan.
The efforts at the daily activities of the nursery school could not be effective if they were not enriched with numerous outing programmes, like trips and excursions, visits to the zoo, to the circus and a number of children’s concerts and theatrical performances. Needless to say, that it has become tradition to organise matinees on every quarter and to celebrate the Easter Day, the International Day of the Protection of Children, the New Year and the Christmas and the Day of Maternity and Beauty
The nursery school, as an inseparable part of the children’s village, was fully integrated into the Village life. Moreover, almost all the events of the children’s village were organised in the premises of the Nursery School and it was with enthusiasm that the nursery school took part at all those events. Needless to speak about the close cooperation of the nursery school staff and those SOS Mothers whose children attend the nursery school.