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“Everything stems from childhood”. No other wording could be more accurate and thorough. Everything indeed starts in childhood! This does not mean the simple chronology of the years lived. The psychologists will tell that it is just the first years of life when a person’s both personality and character are being formed. The teachers will be persuasive in stating that it is just in childhood when a child is able to perceive and assimilate the bulk of knowledge the adults can’t even imagine. The tutors who are behind a child every moment of his life will confirm the fact. And will tell moreover, how different the present-day children are compared to their predecessors, how unlike their coevals of 10-20 years back they are.

Dora Gen, manager of Tikva – Ohr Sameakh kindergarten, an experienced educationist with a long service record says that her today’s wards behave differently, and scope of their knowledge is much wider, and their questions are often not easy to find the answers to. So that the tutors have to give a “very-very honestly-honest” promise to look it up in a book and then explain.

And the promise ought to be kept, says Dora, because not a single question can be left unanswered. The preschoolers are surely the great interrogators, they go into everything: why water is wet, why water is hot, why water is transparent, why does the wind blow to-day this way, and to-morrow – just the opposite? And so on, and so forth. It is not uncommon that the adults try to wave away the “childish” questions, “childish” problems and troubles. And they are mistaken, by the way. A child is born. A child is growing up. Nothing can be too minute. Everything is serious – whether the games the children play or the questions they set their minds on. Anyway, they are treated this way here, in the Tikva – Ohr Sameakh kindergarten, even the nursery-school ones.

“Both drawing lessons and musical studies - in a word, everything the children are occupied with are aimed at stimulating their mental abilities”, Dora Gen proceeds. “But still more important is to foresee a creator in each one. Potentialities and talents of the children should be developed in order they do not grow into the mediocre standard persons, and each one could preserve one’s own unique individuality”.

It is a truly comfortable and cozy atmosphere here in this kindergarten. And there is no gap between life itself and education, as well as there is no gap between a quite serious lesson and a fairy-tale or game. Not at all do they hamper a little one in mastering a bulk of information vital for him – about the world he lives in.

Just childhood is the period a person trains himself for living in our world. He learns to see it, to hear, to understand it is beautiful no matter what it displays: whether it is a rain that can be pictured down, or sun, or clouds, or wind. Whether it is music, or a dance, or a song. Or – the flowers. There are lots of them here in Tikva – Ohr Sameakh. And for the children they are not the simple “design element” as the adults would put it. You may feast your eyes on them. You must help them. And moreover, you may talk to them! And then such a routine thing as tending the indoor flowers also turns into a lesson. Or something greater…

Also one makes real discoveries at these lessons. Here we have an example problem: there is cold water, and there is hot water. What will one need to make it tepid? The three-year-old researchers find the decision instantly – to mix cold water with the hot one. They do mix – and stay amazed how great their guess was!

In the neighboring group (by the way, they are not numerous, so the adults’ time and attention are truly given to each one) – the folks are a bit older, about in two years. It is the negligible difference for the adults only; but for children time flows absolutely another way, so that from two to five years a child is not simply growing up but becomes a new person. Thus the themes to discuss are of absolutely different level. Also the sun – but as a cosmic object; the planets, galaxy, the universe, and the Earth with its oceans and continents…

“We accept children since they are two years old”, Dora Gen narrates. “And even from this young age it is necessary and possible to work upon developing their intellect, personality, their cognitive and creative abilities. And this work impregnates even the simplest at the first glance studies”.

- Do you have any ready-made methods, scripts, or your tutors invent their own ways?

“Surely the ready-made techniques are available but it is simply uninteresting to follow some standardized patterns, while we try to inspire interest both in the adults and children. Our tutors do invent a lot themselves, they do not like to repeat the same over and over; they say – it has been already, something new – that’s what we need!”

So, there aren’t, and can’t be found universal, endlessly repeated methods both for each lesson and the process on the whole, Dora Gen is sure. But what is absolutely necessary – that is the essentials: to identify a personality in a small child, to recognize only his, characteristic of him only talents and potentialities, to work attentively and carefully with each one, always keeping in mind that everything stems from childhood…

2, Myasoedovskaya St.,
65091 Odessa
Tel. (048) 732-73-02; 717-71-97

Tikva Children's Home