Today, as the Agency for Early Education, OvidiuRo’s main mission is to mobilize public and private resources to ensure that quality early education is available to Romania’s poorest children.
The effectiveness of OvidiuRo’s Fiecare Copil în Grădiniţă (FCG) pilot project led the Romanian Parliament to finance its parent incentive component throughout Romania in 2016. Since the passage of “the FCG Law”, Romania has seen an increase in both registration and attendance of disadvantaged children. In the 2016-2017 school year, 70,000 children were registered and 40,000 were benefiting from daily attendance and food coupons.
OvidiuRo now focuses on providing high quality education materials, training teachers in how to optimize these new resources, and creating “Hubs for Literacy & Quality Early Education” in disadvantaged areas.
As OvR staff helped local authorities and school-staff translate law into practice, we were struck by the absence of children’s picture books in kindergartens. Lack of training and resources caused many teachers to resort to handing out photocopied line drawings for children to color. Activities designed to develop children’s readiness for primary school were too often missing from regular daily activities.
In 2017 OvidiuRo trained 700 preschool teachers in child-centered and literacy development methods. As the Agency for Early Education, our 2018 goals are to:
1. Train 1000 kindergarten teachers in in early literacy development and ways of involving parents in their children’s education.
2. Develop the Early Literacy Teachers Network, an on-line community of preschool teachers, most of them working with disadvantaged children, that constantly share best practices, photos, ideas, and experiences on an on-line platform, and meet as a group at least once a year.
OvidiuRo provides teachers who have participated in its early literacy training with ready-made “Reading Corners” consisting of:
- A bookcase and a comfortable rug for gathering around the teacher at reading time;
- New picture books every month so the Reading Corner gradually fills up with age-appropriate picture books, and Children get a new book each month to take home to share with siblings.
3. Educate poor, frequently illiterate parents on the importance of reading with their young children and model good techniques for enjoying books at home. Mothers who attend the monthly Read Aloud session can observe good read-aloud techniques (and how to “read” a book with your child even if you can’t read).