On March 27th, at an Open Doors Day, Karin Dom gathered representatives of the parties, part of the inclusive education process, to exchange ideas on how to improve the supportive environment for children with special needs at kindergartens. Teachers, parents, professionals, staff of Resource Center – Varna, Regional Inspectorate of Education, Varna Municipality and service providers for children, took part in the meeting.
During the meeting, through the “Live Book” method, a number of good practices were presented: the start of the “social assistant” service with Varna Municipality in 2001; successful partnership between teachers and parents at kindergartens; the positive effect of inclusion and active participation of the parent in helping the child’s development; working with children for achieving tolerance.
The meeting’s “hot” topic was “the social assistant” – what should be the criteria to decide whether the child to use this service and the inadmissibility of declining a child a spot at the kindergarten due to the lack of an assistant. The firm opinion was that not only the child’s diagnosis but its current needs and abilities should be considered in order to assess the need of an assistant. There was a suggestion that the kindergarten should select and choose the social assistant, as well as sign a contract with him/her – this way the family will not be on its own, searching for options to use the service.
Representatives of the Regional Inspectorate of Education, drew a positive direction for including children by initiating open sports lessons at primary schools which will demonstrate the inclusion of children with special needs. Additional interest for integrated sports lessons was shown by the kindergartens, supported by the Karin Dom professionals.
All the suggestions made during the meeting will be collected and united as a statement that will be presented to the institutions in order for them to apply the necessary changes.
This year, Karin Dom is actively working with three mainstream kindergartens in Varna for creating a supportive educational environment for children with special needs by leading trainings, guiding teachers and parents, exchanging ideas with resource teachers and helping children on the spot. A good example of drawing support is the initiative of Karin Dom and the Technical University of Varna for student practices at those kindergartens
Interaction with kindergartens and the Open Doors Day event is carried out under the project “Creating a supportive educational environment for children with special needs at kindergartens”, funded by the NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014 – www.ngogrants.bg