Kindergarten: how to think about changing course to recognize its real importance

by Luca Mazzara*

Today, still too often, the real importance of the nursery school is not recognized. Consequently, even the professionalism of its teachers is undervalued. Commonly we still hear about “kindergarten”, a word that mainly refers to the world of assistance, care and nursing, without however highlighting the educational aspect and its importance in the harmonious growth path of every child.

Science can come in support, with its many studies that affirm how much quality education in early childhood favors better learning outcomes, and also the new legislative directives that came into force last year (“Pedagogical guidelines for the integrated system 0-6” adopted with ministerial decree 22/11/21 n.334, and with the adoption of the “National guidelines for educational services for children” according to decree n.43 of 24/2/2022).

But for the change of course, aimed at enhancing the importance of kindergarten and useful for creating the hoped-for integrated educational system in a 0-6 perspective, however laws, scientific studies or the increase in funds dedicated to these structures are not enough… A joint training of educators and teachers is needed to help them use the a common vocabulary as much as possible, the creation of an articulated but unitary educational, school and training curriculum, the recognition of the specific professional skills involved and territorial pedagogical coordination (already present for segments 0-3).

“Be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi said, and then the change should come from within the world of school and everyone should start from their own school.

Therefore, each comprehensive school could, or rather, should, appoint an internal contact person for the 0-6 system with the task of following regulatory developments and participating in joint training.

Another good practice could be appoint a nursery school teacher in its staff with coordination tasks between the various complexes, spokesperson for the requests of the colleagues, reference for training and the various funding projects. The first and second collaborators of the DS are chosen from among the teachers of the compulsory school but school autonomy gives the opportunity to include other teachers in one’s management staff and if the choice falls on a teacher of the kindergarten the message that what will pass will be that kindergarten is also important because the boys and girls will then be the pupils of the primary schools and the boys and girls of the secondary schools.

To then facilitate the passage of information and communications from the 0-6 contact person and the DS coadjutor to the entire group of nursery teachers, it could be a good practice to set up sector colleges in which each school order, with its peculiarities and its problems, can have a dedicated discussion space (thus avoiding, as unfortunately sometimes still happens, entire teaching colleges with agendas without any topics relating to segment 3-6).

These organizational measures could also strengthen the sense of belonging of each member to his own IC, improve the precise and fundamental identity of an important segment such as that of services 3-6 especially in the hoped-for perspective of creating integrated services 0-6 and last but not least, enhance the professionalism of kindergarten teachers.

Obviously all this is possible only if the first to know, recognize and believe in the importance of kindergarten he is his/her manager, the only figure who then has the power to implement these simple good practices.

*Head teacher

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Kindergarten: how to think about changing course to recognize its real importance – Tuttoscuola