Dětské Integrační Centrum A Mateřská Škola was established in 1997, initially only as a medical facility, paediatrics, and rehabilitation, and evolved into a school facility, a special kindergarten, and a special pedagogical centre in 2000. “It is simply the care of the “inner world” of a person, in our case especially a child under 7 years of age, and the “outer world,” i.e., the environment in which the child resides and in which we provide comprehensive care,” says Mgr. Blanka Sárazová, Educational Advisor, Deputy Director at Dětské Integrační Centrum A Mateřská Škola.
By mastering inclusion, the Dětské Integrační Centrum A Mateřská Škola stands above other schools in teh Czech Republic. Being one of the first facilities in the country, the school organises events for the public, such as “Fun Saturday,” a day full of games and surprises for parents with children, healthy children, and children with special educational needs. On average, about a hundred children from around our kindergarten attend this event. There is a club of mothers that meets to share and discuss common topics. In addition to the emphasis on inclusion, our values definitely include a healthy lifestyle, complexity, and a positive attitude.
The school emphasises following the concept of education for a healthy lifestyle with five principles in place to help students, parents, and teachers receive the best learning practices. The basic principle is based on a positive attitude – to adopt a healthy lifestyle and its implementation in everyday life, to the coming changes and their solutions. “The second principle is to create quality conditions for inclusion. We take into account the different family environments (social, national) and the different currents of thought that meet here. We strive to ensure that our educational program respects and satisfies the natural needs of each child, support their healthy physical, mental and social development, creates optimal conditions for their individual personal development and the basic prerequisites for acquiring life competencies,” explains Mgr. Blanka.
The third principle that the school takes into account is having a systemic approach to the individual and the family. The teachers at Dětské Integrační Centrum A Mateřská Škola understand a person as a certain “internal system” and their life as life in the system (family, society), and this is then reflected in the way of thinking, counselling, and working with the family. “We try to apply the idea of a healthy lifestyle in all its areas, i.e., in the field of nutrition, interpersonal relationships, environment, education, health, by ensuring the principle of complexity – comprehensive care in terms of pedagogical, special pedagogical, psychological, physiotherapeutic,” says Mgr. Blanka. The driving force of their entire philosophy is the principle of an active approach to solving their life issues and burdens, which result, for example, from medical diagnosis, life developmental stages, developmental stages of the family, family and gender burdens.
The management at Dětské Integrační Centrum A Mateřská Škola sees parents as equal partners in deciding on children’s educational progress. By building mutual trust, respect, and openness between the parents and teachers, the school strives to establish active cooperation and perceives the needs of individual children and families. “We bring up-to-date information through bulletin boards, websites, and e-mail correspondence. We allow parents to participate in joint celebrations and school events. In cooperation with a special pedagogical centre, we offer counselling services, lectures, individual consultations,” shares Mgr. Blanka.
As the family is a complex whole and has its own subsystems, boundaries, mutual ties between members, interactions, degrees of openness and closeness, and life family cycles, each member has their own perception of the family. The school considers the significant influence of the original systems and nurtures the child for a more wholesome educational experience.
Dětské Integrační Centrum A Mateřská Škola has six classes in kindergarten, with 2 for children with special educational needs and 4 regular classes, including one for ages 2 to 3 years and one for preschool. There are about 20 children in these classes and about 12-14 children in the special education classes. Seminars from various didactics (art, music education or psychology, pedagogical psychology, special pedagogy) are offered as further education for pedagogical staff. All pedagogical staffs have a secondary vocational education to a university degree – a master’s degree. Furthermore, in kindergarten, one will come across qualified teaching assistants.
The staff use teaching aids that serve to develop creative thinking and motivate children to design play activities themselves. There is a well-equipped garden where one can find play elements like a rope centre, a gazebo, and many other fixtures that are used to develop the physical condition of children, their dexterity, and solving situations. Teaching can occur outdoors, even in worse weather, even on their outdoor terraces used for individual classes. “We are a Faculty Kindergarten for Charles University, we provide internships for several high schools, and we have received an award from the Dean of Charles University for internships. Our kindergarten was highlighted on Czech television in the program “Klíč” for teaching healthy nutrition, eating, a healthy lifestyle, and alternative treatments,” adds Mgr Blanka.
Looking to the Future
The school wants to focus on disease prevention even more than in the present by putting more emphasis on exercise, staying outside, leading a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet, and not forgetting the greater emphasis on the psyche. “We found that there was a lack of stress tolerance in both parents and children, and anxiety surfaced far more during the covid period. In this area, parents need to be led to let their children overcome obstacles on their own, thus building psychological resilience. We would like to see the strengthening of parental competencies in the field of education and self-employment, and thus the strengthening of family ties,” Mgr Blanka shares.
As the world moved to the digital space due to the pandemic, Dětské Integrační Centrum A Mateřská Škola wants to explore this form of education for kindergartens and improve technological solutions and develop digital literacy.
For More Info: http://www.dic-saop.cz/
About Mgr. Blanka Sárazová, Educational Advisor, Deputy Director
Mgr. Blanka Sárazová graduated from a secondary pedagogical school in the field of preschool education and a university from the Faculty of Education, Charles University in Prague in the field of kindergarten teaching (1991). She has extensive experience in teaching practice, specifically 31 years as a teacher, 5 years as an educational consultant and many years as a statutory representative and pedagogical representative.