Reviewing the Tbilisi Kindergarten Developments

The Tbilisi Public Kindergarten Management Agency has established a new standard of accountability and transparency, with the directors of kindergartens expected to report on their activities before the Agency and parents.

Presentations were given by the directors of the Mtatsminda District kindergartens on July 6. Important projects, methodological novelties, infrastructural changes and the distribution of financial expenditures which the district’s kindergartens have implemented since January, were introduced to the Head of the Agency, Kakhaber Gvantseladze and attending parents. In addition, time was given to discuss future plans and solutions to ongoing issues, in most cases related to infrastructure development or food delivery services, both priorities for the heads of the kindergartens.

Nino Tsiklauri, Director of 162 Kindergarten, based on the outskirts of Tbilisi, made a presentation about the nursery’s last six months of work, describing its open and transparent format of financing, a method which was initiated by Gvantseladze, who in January approved the annual budget for the kindergartens.

Tsiklauri introduced the invoice principles which had allowed them to make the right decisions in the direction of procurement and noted the importance of a safe and healthy environment for the development of children.

“In Kindergarden 162, safety nets were installed on the windows, the road-access gate was replaced, protective handles on the playground equipment were installed, a ramp enabling wheelchair access was built, the main staircase of the entrance was changed, and fire safety equipment was installed to modern standards,” Tsiklauri told the attendees at the presentation.

These were changes that had been seen in many, but not yet all, of the Mtatsminda District’s kindergartens, shown in the 14 or so presentations given that day.

During her presentation, Tsiklauri addressed the preparatory readiness program for the physical, cognitive and cognitive-social development of children. She talked about the variety of topics the children were exposed to within the curriculum, including ecological-awareness, professions, markets and hypermarkets, authors and book production, theater and hands-on experiences with high-technology (namely, the robot Pepper).

“At our kindergarten, we are always excited to get the children involved in inspiring activities, making the learning process fun, hands-on and more memorable and impactful,” the Director said. “Our children have visited Hypermarket Carrefour, the Mtatsminda District Rescue Service, the Ambulance Service, they have seen how books are created and printed at the Bakur Sulakauri Publishing House, visited the Ivane Javakhishvili Museum of Zoology, and spent time at Geolab, where robot Pepper is kept.”

The kindergarten, like others in its district, so far this year has put a special emphasis on the environment, helping the children to clean up the local nature in a responsible way and, with the help of the Municipal Environmental Protection Service of City Hall, to plant trees and flowers in the yard.

Caring for the planet, children’s rights, mother language, and recognition of Down’s Syndrome and Autism on their respective international days were also spotlighted in the Mtatsminda kindergartens through various physical and educational activities.

Unique to the initiative of Kindergarten 162 was the presentations and concerts arranged for foreign diplomats, exposing the children to new faces and encouraging them to take pride in their work.

“At the meeting, we noted our success in the competition for promoting preschool environmental education and environmental issues, where, of 30 kindergartens from Tbilisi, the 15 best participants were selected for the second round,” Tsiklauri noted.

A commission featuring representatives of state agencies and NGOs revealed three winners of the competition by the results of the sum of points of the two stages.

“Third place was given to Marika Eititashvili, one of our teachers,” Tsiklauri said. “This is a very important and successful project for our kindergarten.”

GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Kakhaber Gvantseladze, Head of the Tbilisi Public Kindergarten Management Agency.

What purpose do the recent presentations serve?

I strongly believe that it is a very good practice, which, in addition to the great work of the kindergarten teams, will also encourage them to become more motivated in the future in the childcare process and will help them to plan and implement new, creative projects and activities. In addition, we are obliged to introduce the work that was done to ensure parents have the opportunity to be fully onboard in their children’s education process.

We have to account for each other. Ideally, parents should be involved because it concerns their children. It is important for parents to know what services and funding exist, and what difficulties we have, what the development plans are and so on. With that in mind, the active involvement of parents will become mandatory in future.

Child health and safety is a priority of the Agency, and we are doing many things in this regard, for example, building or renovating kindergarten facilities, installing and ensuring fire safety equipment, supplying electric pumps for central heating ahead of winter, and adjusting and improving the daily menus and food delivery service.

Both ordinary and administrative personnel are checking these activities. The Ministry of Education has approved the training of teachers and is working to ensure their qualifications and expertise. This is a historical moment in reinforcing the Tbilisi kindergarten system and bringing it to new levels of development.

By Dimitri Dolaberidze

12 July 2018 20:52