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February 26, 2015
Best Practices for Young Children
In 2013-2014, the “Step by Step” teaching approach was introduced into two kindergartens, “Bolashak” and “Kulynshak”, in the Kuryk community of Mangistau oblast, as part of the early childhood development project “Growing Together!”
“Step by Step” was developed in the US for preschools based on current children development theories and best practices in teaching young children. The goal of “Step by Step” methodology is to prepare children for life in a quickly-changing world through development of skills and competencies such as: ability to adapt, active participation, desire to learn, critical and creative thinking, goal-setting and problem-solving, independent and conscious decision-making, respect for self and others, accurate perception of social norms, and appropriate behavior. Participation of family members is also a crucial element of “Step by Step” methodology.
The program is implemented in partnership with public foundation “Step by Step Kazakhstan”, a member of the International “Step by Step” Association. In 2013, “Step by Step” methodology was gradually adopted into Kuryk kindergartens through trainings and consultations. Each participating kindergarten was provided with a grant for the equipment needed to create a “Step by Step” environment, which includes five activity zones. In 2014, the kindergartens independently used the methodology for the development and teaching of children in the middle and older age groups; teachers prepared dozens of developmental lessons and supplementary materials for use in the activity zones.
At the end of 2014, experts from “Step by Step Kazakhstan” conducted an evaluated of the “Step by Step” groups and teachers implementing the program in kindergartens “Bolashak” and “Kulynshak”. Program experts were very pleased with the results.
“We open ‘Step by Step’ centers and classes all across Kazakhstan, and I can say with confidence that kindergartens “Bolashak” and “Kulynshak” in Kuryk are some of the most successful in the country. Certainly there are areas that can be improved, but nevertheless, even in Almaty and Astana there aren’t centers where “Step by Step” methodology is being implemented on the same high level as in Kuryk.” – Saniya Turisbayeva, “Step by Step Kazakhstan”
In 2014, “Step by Step” methodology was expanded into kindergarten “Aigolek” and the kindergarten based at the regional boarding school in Kuryk. In 2015, two new kindergartens in the community are expected to adopt “Step by Step”. Kindergartens “Bolashak” and “Kulynshak” have shared many of the resources and materials they developed and are playing an active role in the replication of the program in other kindergartens.