Blum program: A program for personality development in kindergartens

In professional circles, there is more and more talk of what we experience in everyday life: today’s life and today’s children are different. Childcare in kindergarten is often more difficult but – in any case – different. Families are also present in the lives of children in many different ways, so liaising and cooperating with them is often not easy either. Diversity is a real phenomenon in kindergarten life. Given this, we can say that one of the greatest challenges of 21st century pedagogy is to implement differentiation. The solution, in our opinion, is to come to terms with differences and to try to take into account each child’s family background and personality, their different skills and abilities, while also promoting opportunities of community engagement and cooperation.

Through the Blum program, we offer kindergarten teachers the knowledge and tools they need to cope with this modern pedagogical challenge.
The Blum program initially provided nursery pedagogues and children with a unique solution to healthy lifestyle but it has become crystal clear that HEALTH can only be achieved by leading a complex lifestyle and seeking a physical, mental and spiritual balance. Moving along this complexity, Blum has developed into a program which aims to let each children be themselves in their own environments, at home as well as in kindergarten.

A toolbox for kindergarten

Everyone works by using similar plans. This is known by those who work in our kindergarten pedagogy program for personality development are all aware of. That is the reason why we have never meant to create anything genuinely new in the traditional sense of the word, since there exists no kindergarten without such similar purposes.

Nevertheless, our approach is new, since we have created a specific system in which methodological knowledge is replaced by a collection of opportunity repertoires. All this knowledge is contained in the Blum program manual. We cannot because we do not intend to provide a “recipe”, but we offer solutions that can be adapted by anyone. Everyone can feel free to alter them to fit their own circumstances.

Thanks to all the work we have done over the recent years, our methodological manual has been prepared, and the professional content of the program is also complete in its entirety: a toolbox which incorporates individual art forms and free play into a kindergarten pedagogy program in a complex manner.

There is need for an identical approach

We assume that children, parents and teachers all need an identical approach. In everyday life, they can only think together in a real, lifelike, active partnership, where families are viewed as systems by kindergarten teachers.

The miraculous effects of complex artistic education

Intense involvement in arts is a central tenet of our program. The reason for this is that artistic creation and free play have many features in common, so they are easily accommodated to the everyday life of small kids. Art forms can be impactful on their own, but together they greatly enhance personality and community development – and they do so at the same time.

Arts have therapeutic effects, even if an individual does not specifically participate in a therapy. Artistic creation itself exerts this effect.

All this needs to be put into the context of the 21st century, which takes place in the digital world, with all the opportunities to be taken advantage of, but also with its dangers and difficulties.

The Blum program lends supports to this approach and solutions

Our solutions for kindergarten teachers include:

  • organization of accredited teacher training courses (arts and digital pedagogy)
  • Teaching of parenting techniques
  • shorter training sessions, workshops, days without education, professional days
  • involvement of nursery groups and full kindergartens in the network
  • Self-knowledge, self-reflection supervision, discussions of case studies, providing consultation opportunities
  • publishing and distributing methodological manuals and game kits
  • building communities for kindergarten pedagogues
  • organization of the national Blum Week

Forms of communication with parents:

  • the National Blum Week, Blum Magazine and Health Bags
  • training courses, for example digital challenges for families with small children, the role of playing etc.

To date, our activity has had a direct impact on the lives of more than 310,000 families, 1,600 kindergartens and 280 kindergarten teachers.

We wholeheartedly offer the training courses of the Blum program and the knowledge contained therein to all kindergartens, trusting in mutual cooperation.

The goals of the program

The Blum program, which was launched fourteen years ago, is designed to enable every child to develop their abilities in the environments they live in, primarily in their family and kindergarten. In order for the Blum program to produce the results that are intended, we must simultaneously address children themselves, their parents and their kindergarten teachers in a single spirit, since a child can only grow really healthy if the different environments which they live in think about their physical and mental well-being in a similar way.

One of the most important tasks of nursery education is to create opportunities. In the process of education, “different” children tend to appear as children who require special attention, as categorised by our domestic education system. In our view, every child is different, and each and every one of them has to develop in the environment and community of a kindergarten following certain habits, rules, and basic values. Therefore, it is necessary to find procedures that help create opportunities within the particular community. There are many types and methodologies of differentiation. One is to practise arts.

Artistic acts are spontaneous, almost like free games, which are the core activities of kindergarten children. The Blum program assumes that arts have therapeutic effects. A kindergarten teacher is not a therapist but can also have therapeutic effects through their work. This has a particularly important role in the process of differentiating and – at the same time – educating a community. That is why we have a target group of three: we collaborate with kindergarten teachers, parents and children at the same time.
An important goal of ours for the coming period is to make as many kindergartens as possible adapt the Blum program.

Our story: back to the roots

For Márta Bácskai, founder of the Go Healthy! Foundation, it has always been important to build on the trans-generational legacy passed down from her family, which she has been carrying on instinctively yet resolutely. The primary source of her inspiration was her grandfather, drama teacher Mihály Bácskai, one of the founders of amateur theatre in Hungary. “Uncle Miska”, as he was called by everyone, led the Student Theatre from 1953 as director of Mihály Horváth Grammar School in Szentes. In 1978 he started the literature and drama speciality, which became well-known throughout the country. Márta’s other muze was her mother, Mrs. Dr. Bácskai, Márta Fazekas, who managed the Alma Mater of Szentes from 2000, preserving and further developing the spirit created by Uncle Miska and his team. They created a school of love, from which young sentient and thinking adults entered life. Their primary purpose was to encourage children’s creativity, to create space and a safe environment for development.

In 2006, Márta came up with the idea of a prevention program which she first called Go Healthy! and then later renamed Blum. She set up a civil initiative focusing on prevention in health education, making interventions at the earliest in kindergarten, covering all walks of everyday life (such as how much to move, what stories to read) and mobilizing parents as well as teachers to promote children’s health.

From the very beginning until now, the program has been working along the same values and attitudes, but it has changed in its preferences. Based on the experience of our practical operation, the personality development of kindergarten children has become the focus of our program in a way that we continue to emphasize the importance of children’s physical, mental and spiritual HEALTH. Based on surveys, however, the program name “Go Healthy!” only meant physical health for the public, so we decided to change the name. We had to choose a program name which would not only be associated with physical health but one which would also support adaptability. This is how the Blum kindergarten pedagogy program for personality development was founded on trans-generational bases (named after our grandfather, drama teacher Mihály Bácskai, one of the founders of amateur theatre in Hungary, who was born by the name Mihály Blum in 1929). Márta Bácskai and Dávid Bácskai also pay tribute to their grandfather by having given the program this name.

Our founder, Márta Bácskai was elected to the renowned Ashoka Fellowship in 2013 for the social entrepreneurial mission she does through Blum Program.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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