The year of 2013 was full of interesting efficient events for FEIS within the framework of “Step by Step” program. Over the past year FEIS implement the following activities:
On 29th of January 2013 at KSU named after I. Arabaev (Bishkek) FEIS coordinators Anastasia Kutepova and Tatiana Matokhina held an introductory training on “Step by Step” program. Training conducted within the framework of “The Academy of Education” lecture, organized by the International Public Foundation “Roza Otunbayeva’s initiative”. Key issues of the training were: why it is important to begin the development of a child from birth, why the “Step by Step” program in the demand in Kyrgyzstan, what is quality pedagogy, etc. Participants: parents, kindergarten teachers and directors, primary school teachers, students (more than 150 people) - with interest discussed the possibility which “Step by Step” program provides for the development of children.
Participants shared their experience of working with young children. Experts offer interesting methods and techniques that promote intellectual, emotional, and physical development of the child, parents shared their games that excite their kids, kindergarten directors shared their experience of cooperation with the local community, and students have offered new ways of working with young children. Participants also looked at various options for a safe and comfortable environment for learning and development in preschool. The training was held in an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration. And after four hours of intense work, the participants continued to share their experiences and discuss the issues raised. Hence, the event was helpful! FEIS expresses to International Public Foundation “Roza Otunbayeva’s initiative” sincere appreciation for the opportunity to organize a constructive dialogue between the experts in the field of early childhood development, parents, students and community on the most important issues today, related to the education and care of a child.
Later on in April 2013 manager of ECD sphere in city educational department initiated mini-training for methodologists of city KG of the same concept as the previous assignment was done. This meeting was conducted again by Anastasia Kutepova and Tatiana Matokhina on the basis of KG #162 “Azem” for one working day, where methodologists got basic understanding of what are the ISSA principles of quality pedagogy and how QRP is working for a teacher's advancement in his work towards quality. One session was related to watching videos from QRP video library and different cases were discussed in small groups. In this meeting took part about 40 methodologists, all of them got CD with QRP and related materials, those who were interested got additional consultations by the phone afterwards.
Between 27-30 of May 2013 the reliability meeting was conducted in Kyrgyzstan, which was held by Tahmina Radjabova, ISSA reliability coordinator. Meeting/Training was run in FEIS office. There were 6 participants, 2 members of core FEIS team, one Step by Step Trainer, FEIS expert who totally involved in FEIS programs, methodologist from city educational department of Bishkek. Participants mentioned that this meeting is very useful for further development of ECD initiatives in the country. It helps FEIS to understand next steps, maintain reliability, and possibility to get support from different stakeholders.
As a result of this meeting:
Disseminated the shared understanding of ISSA’s Principles and Indicators established in the RCG with Local Reliability Coordinators,
Had discussions that brought more clarity upon the quality indicators in the tools,
Calibrated (discussed and decided what the true score is) the scores of three members of the local team and the Network Reliability Coordinator,
Explained Instruments and how each should be used,
Explained the process of how reliability to the true score will be assessed in the Assessment Instrument in the process of using the PDT,
Built a team of local reliability coordinators who will work on shared understanding of quality within their own local networks including other pedagogues working in the school/center, teacher assistants, administrators ,inspectors higher ed. faculty, etc.
In the period from 12 to 15 of June 2013 in Leiden (Netherlands) held a meeting of the working group on the formation of a regional platform to promote inclusive education in the countries of Western and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. This project was initiated by the ISSA network, as partners in the project stands UNICEF, DECET network, as well as a number of other European institutions and associations working towards assisting children. Funding for this project is provided by the World Bank. Aleksandr Ivanov, FEIS director, was invited to present Central Asian region in this strategic group. In general working group includes representatives of ISSA secretariat, OSI, UNICEF, DECET representatives as well as representatives of a number of European universities and NGOs. This group working to build the desired vision, identifying key stakeholders and their influence on the process, as well as making plan of specific actions to change the situation.Developments of the group work will be systematized by ISSA secretariat, and the group will further work to build a platform to promote inclusive education.
In addition to participating in the group, Aleksandr held meetings were a number of colleagues on topical issues in the implementation of projects in the field of early childhood education and development.In particular at the meeting with the director of children's programs at the Open Society Institute -Sarah Claus, program director of ISSA - Mihaela Ionescu , Program Specialist of ISSA - Zorica Trikic, they discussed the overall strategy of the ISSA in Kyrgyzstan, FEIS participation in technical and information support of ISSA in implementation of the Global Partnership for Education of the World Bank, as well as expert support of ISSA in UNICEF project on training teachers of community kindergartens which is implemented by FEIS in this year.
One of the highlight activities within the framework of SbS program since 2010 became an annual conference “Educators of the 21st century”, founded and organized by FEIS. It started with the release of the ISSA principles of quality pedagogy and was conducted already 4 times covering all issues in ECD sphere in Kyrgyzstan, especially those happened for the last year since the last (previous) conference.
Thus 4th annual conference was conducted between 20th -23rd of June 2013 with the core topic on “Education for the Future: the availability and quality of services in the field of pre-school and primary school education in Kyrgyzstan”, the goal of which was to assist in improving the quality of development and education of children of preschool and early school age. Objectives of the conference included: review of existing initiatives on early childhood development in Kyrgyzstan, presentation of ISSA resource pack as a tool to achieve the quality of teachers in kindergartens and primary schools in Kyrgyzstan and enrichment of methodical piggy of ECD specialists. This year conference was attended by 40 people, representatives of the MOES KR, city educational department, KSU named after I. Arabayev and pedagogical department of IUCA, teachers of KG and primary schools, specialists of PIU of the World Bank, partners from Public Foundation “Roza Otunbayeva’s initiative” etc.
In 2014 FEIS will conduct 5th anniversary conference which is promised to be very expected by ECD specialist’s community of Kyrgyzstan.
In the period of 15th of June and 1st of July 2013 within the framework of ISSA Technical Assistance activity colleagues from Luthuania Regina and Regina were involved as consultants in reviewing a resource packagefor educators working in the community centers set up by UNICEF in Kyrgyzstan (this project is part of a greater initiative which is supported by the World Bank in Kyrgyzstan through the Global Partnership for Education – former EFA/FTI). Their expertise was needed to assure by reviewing the package that it “complies” with the ISSA Principles and the Step by Step methodology, thus assuring that the quality of services in ISSA’s approach is well represented in the resources.
The package has the following structure:
Program - a framework document defining value and contents goals for work with children aged 3 to 5 years old.
Teacher’s guidebook - a document where main ideas of the Program are explained and possible ways to implement it are offered while explaining the necessary conditions for it.
Detailed lesson plans - a document where a variant of implementing the Program is offered and where detailed step by step lesson and activity descriptions are given.
The assignment was done from Lithuania, by providing written feedback on the documents with recommendations for improvement of the package.
Later on 23rd-24th of August 2013 within the framework of Member’s exchange activity Ulviyya Mikayilova, Center for Innovations in Education, Azerbaijan conducted: 1. Consultative Workshop-work with small team of FEIS staff and core trainers (3 hours) as mentoring experience exchange. Sharing CIE experience on mentoring and sharing challenges and problems. Presenting CIE case on mentoring as a basis to facilitate further discussion with workshop participants aimed to develop a vision how to build a successful model of mentoring at FEIS as a way toward improvement of quality of teaching, and 2. Training on mentoring during FEIS Educational Forum-work with teachers, principals and methodologists of the community-based preschool centers who were trained as trainers and need to be prepared for mentoring services of community-based preschool centers during 2013-2014 teaching year. Main goal was introduce understanding of what good mentoring is about, how to conduct effective and feasible mentoring program.
The strength of these activities was expert’s knowledge and understanding of specific constrains related to the context, teachers’ preparation, work of preschools and quality related issues. She knows the problems teachers face during implementation of innovative methods and knows the challenges mentors may face if they want to support teachers.
The weakness was short training duration primarily. There are too many important issues and activities which may be conducted to help participants better acquire mentoring skills. This short training might only be a beginning of a long way towards better support to teachers and better quality of preschool education.
On 28th of August 2013 Anastasia Kutepova was invited as a speaker to annual August meeting of city educational department, which they are conducting every year prior to the beginning of new academic year for managers of KG of Bishkek in order they could obtain new information from the city educational department and discuss different news about the development of ECD sphere in Kyrgyzstan and abroad. Anastasia made a presentation of ISSA principles of quality pedagogy and QRP with a key message about the importance of quality education and care for children of primary age. Participants got CDs with materials and got consultations on relevant resources on the same topic to continue to find necessary information on quality improvement in ECD.
In between 4-6 of November 2013 Anastasia Kutepova participated in international workshop on Advocating for Quality Early Years Services for Every Child, which were taken place in Istanbul, Turkey and was hosted by ISSA within the framework of the Early Years Regional Alliance (EYRA).
This workshop was designed as a step-by-step peer-learning process and a combination of theoretical approaches and application (learning by doing), in supporting NGO representatives to develop/enhance advocacy implementation plans in their countries. Each step of the agenda was followed by activities aimed to transfer gained knowledge into organizational advocacy plans, focusing on quality improvement, increasing access and inclusiveness of early childhood services. The workshop provided the opportunity for peer learning through giving and receiving immediate feedback on advocacy plans, and on-going support and exchanges after workshop.
CA, Azerbaijan and Mongolia region during one of the sessions got together to discuss possibility of running of regional advocacy company on promoting quality education and care for 0-3 years old children.
Last event for this year happened between 8th- 12th of December 2013 in Leiden, Netherlands, which included 2 activities: 8th – 9th of December ISSA Workshop on Quality Improvement was conducted and right after that on 10th – 11th of December council meeting was held. In both of the events the whole FEIS team of 4 people took part.
During the training new developments on the ISSA Assessment Instrument were introduced, situation analysis on NGO sustainability and capacity Building for NGO sustainability sessions in small groups were conducted, also participants were sharing experiences of using the resources in the QRP, Guidebook for the multipurpose use of the QRP was introduced by ISSA and “When Wanda Meets ISSA” method was presented as an example of appreciative analysis on ECD practices.
During the council meeting 2 big sessions were devoted to NGO Sustainability and Organizational Capacity Assessment results, then board elections and overview of ISSA work in 2013 were conducted, after that planning on the 2014 Conference and the two anniversaries: 20 years of Step by Step and 15 years of ISSA were developed. Next day expanding ISSA’s reach issue was raised and reports from ISSA Bodies – discussion on issues relevant to members were conducted. Second half of the day was devoted to presentation of Monitoring & Evaluation Plan and Quality Portfolio and discussion of the work plan for 2014.