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HOW TO BECOME A PART OF ECEC COMMUNITY – TRANSITION PLANNING FROM CHILD AND FAMILY PERSPECTIVE

I. Mihić 1, S. Tatalović Vorkapić 2, S. Divljan3, O. Stojić4

1University of Novi Sad, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy (SERBIA)
2University of Rijeka, Faculty of Teacher Education (CROATIA)
3Preschool Institution Radost, Novi Banovci (SERBIA)
4Center for enhancement and support for early development and family relations - Harmony (SERBIA)
Currently available models of transition imply the creation of opportunities for the child to get to know the kindergarten in clearly structured activities created by the adults from the kindergarten, i.e. early childhood educators. The expected outcome of such a planned transition should, for each child, occur in a time interval between 3 days and 4 weeks (depending on the age of the child) and it concerns above all that the child independently participates in the rhythm of kindergarten days - the emphasis is on separation from parents. Such models, in addition to flexibility, lack the perspective of the child and the family, as well as respect for their experiences and curiosity to get to know the routines and relationships by which the family environment creates opportunities for the child to learn. Equally, there are no opportunities for peer learning among families on ways in which the child's research and learning can be supported.

The paper will present the introduction of one of the different models of planning the transition from family to kindergarten. This model focuses on the experiences of each child gained in the family, which relate to the skills that underlie the role of "Kindergarten citizen". "Kindergarten citizen" - a resident of the kindergarten community - implies a role and a set of expected behaviors, rights, a certain status in the family and the wider community. The transition process itself, the model understands as a period during which the family, kindergarten and community are engaged and gathered around the well-being of the child, with the aim of supporting the quality of those relations that will ensure mastery of the role of kindergarten for every child.

The model was introduced through training and mentoring, and then piloted in 6 preschool institutions in Vojvodina. The trainings were realized for 80 participants. The training combined discussion meetings, work on personal values and activities of applying concepts in kindergarten, which aimed to practice the elements of the model, but also gradually introducing beliefs and values into the life of the kindergarten. This paper will present the experience of one of these preschool institutions. The training was attended by three early childhood educators from the nursery, three preschool educators and two professional associates. The model was implemented in three preschool facilities in younger educational groups (three-year-olds) and nurseries (one-year-olds). As important changes in skills, practitioners state: skills of monitoring the child's behavior and writing stories about experience and learning, support for peer learning among families with modeling skills of quality relationship with the child, analysis of records to raise the quality of educator-family and educator-child relationships. The effects are described in the change of kindergarten dynamics - primarily in the involvement of other peers and other families in the transition process, family experience and family role in transition, and the participation of the child and family in defining the dynamics and activities in kindergarten.