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.
The gist of the Blum Program
The mission statement of the Blum Program is to make sure that every child may become identical with its self and may find its place in this world. That endeavour is supported by the set of pedagogical tools and equipment of the Program designed to enable the children to acquire the resources and the competencies required to successfully enter their school lives. According to our view the organic interaction of nursery school teachers and families may create a favourable educational atmosphere that guarantees the best possible personality development of children. Therefore the target groups of the program include:
- the children of preschool age,
- professionals and nursery staff involved in interactions with that age group (including nursery teachers, nannies, developers, and administrative management)
- families (parents, grandparents, guardians, and wider family environment)
- the society at large.
The key elements of the Program with respect to target groups
- Education with focus on healthy living: with emphasis on prevention;
- Complex education in „Gesamtkunstwerk”, support in creative engagement in all art forms;
- Varieties of tools: diverse scenes, and methods and equipment;
- The development of cognitive, emotional and language skills in line with the standards as required by eligibility requirements for schooling.
- Accredited further development programs for teachers, within a comprehensive system for the development of competences, making use of mental hygienic procedures, and innovative, game based techniques.
- Use of inclusion approach applied to new types of 21st century education and practical solutions;
- An adaptation of the Blum pedagogical program: it may fit in the program of any kindergarten;
- Supervision: stress management, coping with crises, prevention of burn outs, among other things;
- Professional network: communication via social media, professional meetups, forums, Blum Week,;
- Educating parents’ campaigns: games that may be played at home, introduction to exercises, conveying an approach that enables an authentic assessment of a child.
- Podcasts, play shops and brochures for parents: in line with 21st century scientific views. We believe that authentic and trend-setting professional knowledge shall be shared by the general public at large.
We are working on the social dissemination of scientific knowledge and on creating a dialogue as well as on the formation of the associated activities and community movements in the field of the new challenges of education (the characteristics of children with atypical history of development, various behavioural problems and attention difficulties, etc.).
- strengthening the relation between professionals, and professional cooperation;
- unfolding wide scale education on educational issues (conferences, professional days, events, media coverage),
- improved public discussions.
Results to this day:
- Several research projects have endorsed the impact of our program on personality development.
- More than 450 qualified kindergarten teachers or professionals engaged in preschool teaching are involved.
- The ratio of preschool teacher who participated in our training program and who come from underprivileged areas is 30%.
- The number of kindergartens and the families who are served a Blum package intended for health practices and the associated Blum week is 4500 and 55000 a year, respectively. In the 17 years of existence 800 000 families were approached.
- Through our campaigns of serial communications we have provided several hundreds of families with physical toys and the underlying knowledge that make parents more competent in raising their own children.
Future aims for development
- Increase the professional standing of preschool teachers, support their mental health status, update their culture of methodology;
- initiate a change of attitude at administrative level by approaching managers and by adapting our pedagogical program;
- support families by sharing contemporary results in developmental psychology and pedagogical innovations;
- set up reference kindergartens at various locations in Hungary;
- strengthen and drive network operations among kindergartens that have joined our program;
- expand network to operate in EU member states;
- Community development and formation of knowledge centres, sharing knowledge at a societal level;
- Launch scientific research projects extending over a number of years;
- publish proceedings inside and outside Hungary, participate at international conferences.
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.
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