Imagine a jungle
Early Childhood Division- Presenting at a conference in Croatia
Imagine a jungle.
Trees, birds’ cries, humidity, monkeys, coconuts.
Now imagine a kindergarten with a jungle, a jungle corner that replaces the famous kitchen corner.
This is just one example of the “space of independence,” a space within a kindergarten in Ramat Gan designed by the children, staff and parents. This is what a pedagogical model based on democratic principles of dialogue, choice, participation, reciprocity, and proactiveness looks like.
The model was developed by the city’s educational teams, led by the city’s kindergartens department, the supervisory staff of the Ministry of Education and the Institute for Democratic Education. It is one of many examples of the Institute’s early childhood division’s rich and diverse work.
The motivated and innovative team of the early childhood division at the Institute was established five years ago. It has developed rapidly and brings a fresh vision and spirit to the professional world of early childhood. To date we are working on developing innovative models for advanced education in kindergartens. The team presented its work at 5 (!!) workshops at an international conference on education held in Croatia.
A small taste from the workshops:
For the past three years, the team has worked with Sima Haddad Yafit, director of the pre-elementary division of the Ministry of Education, in promoting significant reforms through democratic tools based on trust, transparency, autonomy and dialogue.
The team is currently engaged in the development of a pedagogical model of democratic education for children from birth and up to the age of three, in collaboration with Na’amat and implemented in WIZO kindergartens.
Noa Sheffi, director of this initiative, will talk about promoting policy in cooperation with both government officials and local officials.
Developing a tailored model resulted from the professional viewpoint reflected in each of the programs. Some of the programs have made it as far as Africa, where Ran Cohen Aharonov, who established the field, attended training courses for kindergarten teachers and met with senior officials in the administration. The work in Africa illustrates the importance of promoting early childhood as an engine for addressing social gaps and social resilience.
The work in the field of early childhood is accompanied by extensive evaluation and research. Dr. Anat Porat examined the relationship between democratic pedagogy and conflict resolution abilities among children aged 3-4, and the results of this study show a significant development in this ability in the kindergartens in which these pedagogies are applied.
The Early childhood division, leads the Institute to practical solutions- how to transform a democratic culture and values into actions in everyday life. Assaf Gon and Ofri Wagner Lebel discussed this at the conference.
Most importantly, the field brings us back to childhood with a workshop led by Carmit Bartov and Dr. Anat Porat on playing and movement in kindergarten daily life.