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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

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Preschool Education

Description of the educational policy system in each country and Curriculum of preschool education

1. Description of the educational policy system in each country (concerning pre-school)

 

In the description of the educational policies system in each country, each partner mentioned the system of specialized education, inclusive education, integration in the mainstream system of education or this service being included in the social and health system of support, depending to each partner.

 

1.1 Germany

 

Thus in Germany every child has the right to visit a kindergarden from 3 to 6 years. There are also kindergardens for children up from 8 weeks or up from 18 month, but the system of initial education in Germany does not belong to the education system, but to the social and youth welfare system. There are three types of kindergardens in Germany:

regular kindergardens: It is generally posible that children with disabilities visit these regular kindergardens. Most blind and partially sighted children who don't have additional disablities visit those regular kindergardens.

inclusive kindergardens: Those take a low percentage of children with disability. For this they have more and specialiced staff and if necesary also special facilities in architechture and material. Mainly children with intellectual or multiple disabilities attend these kindergardens.

special kindergardens: Those are specially for children with disabilities. They have competent and specialised staff. Most of the schools for visually impaired children have also kindergardens. Mainly children with visual and additional disabilities attend special kindergardens.

Beside the regular preschool education system there also is a system of early development for children with disabilities that is a combination of beeing part of the medical system financed by social health insurance and of the social wellfare system. The early development of blind and partially sighted children can start from birth. Normally the teachers for early development visit the families once or twice a week or regular every two weeks or once a month. They work together with the children and consult the parents in the education of their children.

 

1.2 Ireland

 

In Ireland there are both inclusive and specialized pre-schools for children with visual impairments.  The Pre-school sector due promote inclusion of all children with special needs, but standards and provisions vary from pre-school to pre-school.

 

1.3 Slovakia

 

In Slovakia the special schools are set up by decree of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic dated 6 August 2008 about special schools.

School law Number 245/2008 Z. z. (Collection of laws) on education and training provides:

Section 1 (§ 1) Basic provision: information about the organization, internal differentiation, and length of education in special schools; procedure for the adoption of children and pupils in these schools; details on the assessment and classification of the results and behavior of students; information on the numbers of children and pupils in special education classes; information on the form and content in individual schools; system of teaching courses in secondary schools.

Section 2 (§ 2) Details on the organization of education.  Students with visual impairments provide education and training:
- elementary school for students with visual disabilities

- secondary vocational schools for students with visual disabilities

-high school for students with visual disabilities
- conservatory for students with visual impairments;

Section 3 (§ 3)Details about the internal distribution of education

Schools for pupils with visual impairments is internally differentiated into classes according to the degree of disability:
a) for the visually impaired pupils,
b) pupils with sighted,
c) for blind students,
d) for pupils with binocular vision.

 

1.4 France

 

In France the law of February 11, 2005 for equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship of people with disabilities reinforces the actions for the education of disabled students. Children with visual impairment are therefore intended to be included in mainstream schools. At the age of 3 years, if their family's request, disabled children can be enrolled in nursery school. The integration can be individual or collective, in mainstream school, inclusive school or medico-social establishment.

The individual school integration is done through mainstream school, where the teachers are developing a single project for the child, with her parents. This project is adapted to its needs according to his disability and its capabilities. The school integration is possible thanks to the help of a „auxiliaire de vie scolaire” (people who is helping the child at school), combined to adaptive teaching objects.

The collective school integration is possible in special school or special class in inclusive school (Classe d'inclusion scolaire, Clis-3). They are small classes of around eight to ten students to facilitate their learning. Some activities (physical education, vocals) are in common with other sighted children in ordinary classes, as well as non-teaching time (cafeteria, recreation, ...). The child can also enter a medico-social institution which is the solution to offer him an adaptive school, education and treatment. These establishments are managed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Relations. The Ministry of Education ensures continuity of learning through intervention of teachers. Before any choice concerning the school integration, an individual educational project is validated. This project defines the procedures for school evolution and the special needs of students with disabilities, regarding the educational, psychological, social, medical and paramedical aspects.

 

1.5 Czek Republic

 

In Czech republic the visual impaired children are generally educated in common primary school due to individual integration (inclusion), children with serious visual impairment attend to special nursery school.

 

1.6 Romania

 

In Romania the education is realised in in special kindergardens for the visualy impaired, but education is also realized in mainstream kindergartens, in inclusive centers or rehabilitation centers. There are also early intervention programs in which early intervention workers make home visiting and realize assessment and individualized intervention and some children who follow these programs succeed in going further to mainstream school, but they visit the special school once or twice a week for specialized rehabilitation.

 

2. Curriculum of preschool education

 

The question concerning the educational partner offered various responses but mainly the following partners are mentioned: the Associations of the Blind in each country, special schools and centers, libraries for the blind, visiting teaching services, special pedagogic centers, universities and parents.

Of great interest was the information concerning the curriculum that the children with visual impairment follow and particularly the language and Communication area of curriculum with its aims and main objectives. Most of the curricula the children must follow include sensory stimulation, cognitive development, language and communication with a stress on pre-braille for blind children, social development, motor development with orientation and mobility skills also and daily living skills. These curriculum areas take into consideration the general development of a child, but also the implications of the visual impairment.

 

2.1 Germany

 

In this view in Germany the main fields of furtherance and councelling are: tactile sensory education and (for blind children) preparation of reading braille, auditive sensory education, motoric education / mobility and orientation skills, fine motoric skills, daily living skills, cognitive development, behaviour in playing, social development, interaction and communication, language development.

The Language and Communication area of development

In Germany it includes the following:

- tactile sensory education,

- preparation of reading braille

- auditive sensory education

- language development

 

2.2 Ireland

 

In Ireland Standard Pre-school Curriculum as per AISTEAR guidelines or Montessori Curriculum adapted as necessary to suit the individual child’s needs. Pre-Braille activities, Sensory work: Stimulation of senses, Somatic (touch), Daily Living skills, Physical activities, Language.

In Ireland the language acquisition is vitally important and it is always part of a child’s programme.  Within some setting Speech and Language therapy is part of the child’s programme as well as parent training such as Hannan Training to help parents understand how their child communicates and how to promote this in the home. Within the pre-school setting we try to promote each child’s level of communication whether it is verbal or non-verbal. The main aim is to encourage the child to express themselves through spoken language, gestures, body language, facial expressions and switch work.

 

2.3 Slovakia

 

In Slovakia the curricula in kindergarten for the visually impaired children is carried out by Program of education of children in nursery schools approved by the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic by Number 197/99-41 of 28th of May 1999 as the base document for teaching in kindergarten.

In Slovakia Curriculum based on four thematic units: Who am I?, People, Nature and Culture. Language learning and communication skills - Prerequisite for developing the vocabulary is the formation of specific ideas that the sighted children are inaccurate, incomplete or misleading. Particular attention is given to those words which are not at fault-based visual perception particular notion. Active vocabulary of children is not different from the active vocabulary of healthy children. In children with impaired speech should be taken of the increased logopedics care.

 

2.4 France

 

In France They must follow the program from pre-school (2008), which consists of six major "domains" of activity : appropriation of the language, discovering the writing, be a student, acting and speaking with the body, discovering the world and perceive the world, feel, imagine. For children with visual disabilities:

Ensuring the ability of autonomy according to age

Developing the tactile skills (overall touch, fine touch, tactile books, adaptive games)

Preparing the Braille learning

In France the main purpose of the pre-school for all children is the acquisition of substantial oral language, an organized oral language and understandable by the other.

Concerning children with visual disabilities, we can add specific skills :

Construct picture representation

Develop cultural knowledge

Ensure clarity of meaning

 

2.5 Czek Republic

 

In Czech Republic the aim of pre-school education of the child with visual impairment is (in a range of its possibilities with view to visual limits) to gain adequate somatic, psychologic and social independency with maximum development of other senses eventually the sight residue with acquirement of special skills and special aids and to gain basic for health self-confidence and self-assured to be able to adjust its life in the society, to develop skills to communicate and cooperate and to obtain personal independency.  

In Czech Republic in language and communication area of curriculum there are created presumptions to successful intercommunication with people in that they learn how to interpret their expression and react to them, learn how to understant himself, their role in different communication situations, finding own place among equals and in society. It leads to form value orientation.

 

2.6 Romania

 

In Romania, the children with visual impairment follow the National Curriculum for regular education, but with the subjects that refer to the implications of the visual impairment such as visual stimulation and training, orientation and mobility, daily living skills. The curriculum designed for ordinary children is generally appropriate for visually impaired children. However, some adaptations to the learning materials and the teaching approaches are made so that the learning needs of visually impaired children can be met. The curriculum is balanced with due consideration given to the children's intellectual, personal, emotional and social developments. To teach visually impaired children, the teacher adopt a consistent, realistic and flexible approach in curriculum planning and implementation.

In Romania the major objective from Language and Communication area for children with visual disabilities from 3 to 7 years old are :

Developing the interest in initiating and maintaining the communication with the external environment.

Developing and maintain the capacity of communication using a very different ways of communication adaptive to the child ‘s need.

The main objectives are: to develop the capacity of imitation, to develop the capacity of verbal communication; to develop daily skills; hearing education; tactile-kinesthetic development; socialization, to develop spontaneous communication .

 

2.7 Further Aspects

 

Another aspect of the education of visually impaired children that was approached consisted in the listening and pre-literacy skills. Each of the partners sustained the importance of giving attention to the development of these skills, using different approaches and methods, distinguishing the use of tactile books, Braille materials, tactile images, distinguishing the sounds of speech, listening to stories, completing the stories.

Concerning the competences that the child should present as pre-acquisitions in the development of listening and literacy skills, the following were mentioned: awareness and joint attention activities, good motoric and fine motoric skills, cogitive skills, attention and memory, symbol awareness and recognition, high language level (phonetic-phonologic, morphological-syntax, semantic-lexical und communicative-pragmatic competences), good haptic skills to differentiate size, shape, graphic representation, even the recognition of braille combinations, print awareness, narrative skills, good orientation skills in the area that the hands reach, motivation.

The environement in which a child functions has great importance in the development of skills and the creation of educational opportunities and experiences. Of course there are environmental factors that support or compromise the schil’d learning. The following environemental characteristics were mentioned:

Suport factors:  phisical factors such as good lighting, contrats, cooperation with peers, opportuinities,  competitions, develop sensorimotor skills, using compensational aids, implication of the family in the education of children, adequate ways of education (adapted material for blind children), teacher’s behaviour, early intervention, empathy and good observation of the child made by competent teachers, rich environment in tactile objects and different resources,diverse material and cultural chracteristics which is organised in a structures and safe way.  ,

Compromising factors: over-stimulating and have a lot of distractions either visually or auditory, many obstacles and distractors, unincentive family atmosphere, excessively listening TV, noisiness of media, unsuitable adjustment of books, parent’s hiperprotection, lack of implication, refusing to send the child in a specialized institution for education, not qualifies teachers.

 

2.8 Assessments and evaluation

 

The assessment of the domain of language and communication represent an important component and it refers to ways of assessment, instruments of assessment and main approaches used in assessment. An individual evaluation means any procedures, tests, or assessments, including observations, given individually to the child to find out whether he or she has a disability and/or to identify his or her special education needs. The term does not include basic tests given to groups of children in a school, grade or class. Ways of general assessment are: observation, products of activity, investigation, interview, tests and instruments.

Instruments of evaluation are: Oregon Scale, Portage Scale. There are instruments used by teachers to evaluate the children development in different Domains like : Language and Communication, Cognitive Development , Visual ability, Daily Living activities, Orientation And Mobility, Motor development.Even though there is a process of continuous assessment and evaluation that takes place in each country with the aim to establish the child’s level of development and particularities such as needs and abilities, few instruments are specified for the listening and pre-literacy skills. It seems that the main focus is on the language development and cognitive development.

 



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