ASTANA – Early age education is a sensitive issue in the state, but the government is searching for remedies, such as inspiring business people to establish new kindergartens and support them financially. At that, private child development centres and kindergartens are still too expensive for the majority of residents.
The cost of the centres is compounded by the fact children often arrive unprepared to begin their education, as many parents do not study with their youngsters, said early age education expert and director of the Zerek Children Development Centre Svetlana Kamzalova in May 8 interview. Additional issues include a lack of kindergartens, the varying priorities of the schools and that not all parents have the opportunity to enroll their children in state-owned kindergarten.
“We try to solve this problem by training children. I can safely say that our graduates get not only an official certificate, which proves that they passed specialised courses according to our programme, but also are well developed and ready for studying in school. They go to schools and pass school examinations, which show the results of our work,” said Kamzalova.
The director noted schools impose stringent requirements on children in areas such as reading, writing, counting, memory, thinking and logic. Her school enrolls students as young as two years old with the overriding purpose of developing the child’s oral activity as well as movement and sensory skills.
“This is a modern world! I consider that it is right, because a child should be well developed before he or she goes to a school. If he is not developed, unfortunately he will have psychological stress. Our organisation is focused on training children before they begin to study in schools,” said Kamzalova.
Because little children often lack concentration and patience, they are typically trained to develop their movements. Study is organised as play and lessons are frequently taught with handicrafts. Youngsters who receive only one year of schooling must focus their time on studying and commonly don’t enjoy the less-strenuous aspects of early childhood education, she said.
The teachers at Zerek are experts in early age education who understand the psychology and physiology of youngsters, added Kamzalova. The centre has specially-developed plans and programmes of 12 different exercises to avoid overworking the students.
“I usually call them beams of the sun and every child studies in all the activities during one week. I say that he passes through all the 12 beams of the sun. They are the studying of Russian, Kazakh and English, singing, dancing, study of major subjects, literature, drawing, sculpture and design. All these form a child, his personality,” she said.
Kamzalova added intellectual activity, such as reading, is taught by entertaining, like singing when they rest. Mathematics is approached by design when children create sculpture and drawings.
Young businessmen like Dauren Bokeykhanov, a student at a university in the United States, considers the early education market an attractive one for business dealings. Using monies from the Kazak government and Kazakhstan DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Fund, he plans to open a kindergarten in Ridder and has already reconstructed an old building and completed the necessary repairs.
“I finished the execution documents and very soon I will get credit with 4 percent interest from DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Fund. I am sure that the kindergarten is in great demand and I will do my best to create really good conditions for the children of the town. I am also supported by local authorities and the Kazakhstan government under the single-industry town programme,” he said in a May 17 interview.
Bokeykhanov considers the lack of kindergartens a major challenge, but is sure this problem will be solved thanks to the support of the government.