ASTANA – Yelena Dmitrienko, one of Kazakhstan’s 100 New Faces, is the president of Zhuldyz Association, which unites children’s public organisations across the country. She has devoted more than 40 years to education, devising a pre-school development programme for children’s organisations.
“The programme’s mission is to nurture free and creative individuals living up to high moral standards and capable of making a significant contribution to Kazakhstan’s prosperity,” she said.
The methodology, created in the early 1990s, has been recommended by the Ministry of Education and Science and is widely used in all regions.
Dmitrienko puts specific emphasis on leisure activities available to Kazakh children.
“Children should play an active role in social life, not only participate in flash mobs. There should be a ladder of constant personal growth and children’s initiatives need to be supported by public organisations,” she said.
“From a very young age, children are extremely open, willing to take initiative and do everything by themselves. Therefore, it is of primary importance to guide them, channel their energy into the good and socialise them within public organisations for children,” she added.
She feels schools currently pay less attention to youngsters’ upbringing, focusing more on academics and exam preparation. As a result, creative nurturing and leisure fall beyond the scope of traditional education.
“Children act according to what they see on the television and learn from social networks. Since our country positions itself as a prime example in social and cultural aspects, we need to focus more on our children, not only provide them with food and clothes, but develop them in a professional way,” noted Dmitrienko.
She believes providing competent tutors for children is key to developing them as strong personalities. The organisation has worked in this direction for several years by gathering working and future pedagogues, organisers and leisure coordinators each year for qualification upgrade.
“There is, however, a deficit of professional and competent tutors trained to work with children and each institution prepares them in its own way,” she added.
Dmitrienko believes pedagogical institutions throughout the country should introduce a major in children’s leisure, providing scholarships and further career opportunities to attract and retain enthusiastic students. She and her colleagues are prepared to share their methodology and provide experts to train tutors.