Ugulava Hails Kindergarten Reforms
By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, October 25
Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava met with the teachers of kindergartens and parents on Monday. Talking of the reforms carried out at the kindergartens this year, Ugulava shared plans for developing children and improving the working environment for their teachers. It was this summer when the Tbilisi Kindergarten Agency established by Tbilisi City Hall took responsibility for improving the environment for pre-school children based on international standards and innovative methodology.
Welcoming the educational changes prepared by a group of experts and psychologists who have elaborated recommendations for improving the pre-school system, teachers stressed that the strategy of kindergartens had been introduced on time. One of the teachers, with 27 years of experience in kindergartens found the previous regulations “shameful”. Stressing how educated the younger generations are in Georgia, the teacher emphasized the necessity for offering them a perfect environment at kindergartens, which the new authorities have ensured this year.
As the mayor explained, parents are free to choose the kindergarten for their children, but the prices for each pre-school institution depends on how the heads of the kindergartens administer the infrastructural expenses. “The creation of a competitive environment will best solve the problem – thus we will start training principals in management for optimizing expenses and accounting for income,” Ugulava stated. On the question whether it is obligatory to take a child to school from the age of five, the mayor answered that it is up to the parents to make a choice as the law enables, but there is no demand placed on parents.
Talking of the effectiveness of the newly edited manual for pre-school education, the teachers found lots of positive things both for them and their children. Thematic issues with relevant activities, make it easy for the teachers to carry out courses, while literature materials included in the manual saves their energy and increases the time they spend with children. “What the children would get from this reform is that they would become more active and independent, able to make a choice and create perfectly educated generations,” one of the teachers added.
Tbilisi Kindergarten Agency initiated new programs at kindergartens with support of UNICEF. The everyday programs are aimed at developing children’s emotional, social, physical and creative abilities which would make it easier for them to get used to school life. The program would be piloted during the year, while the principals and teachers of all the kindergartens around the capital would be trained for its effective implementation.
The representative of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MES) expressed the readiness of the ministry to cooperate with the kindergartens on the issue. Having worked out the national strategy for schools, the MES representative worried that the kindergartens lacked modern resources for so many years. Pre-school education, according to the MES, would make children more sociable for school relations and prepare them for the responsibilities school children need at schools. “I realize how difficult it might be for the kindergarten staff to consider all the recommendations, but such cooperation would bring perfect results in a year’s term,” the Tbilisi Mayor told the audience.