International Step by Step Program
The Foundation for Education and Cultural Initiatives "Step by Step" - Macedonia is part of the International Step by Step Association - ISSA http://www.issa.nl/, which gathers organizations and professionals who work in the field of early childhood development and education. Established in the Netherlands in 1999, ISSA’s community today stretches across Central and Eastern Europe, Cntral Asia and North and South America. Evethough, it offers various information for all interested organizations and individuals, the core of the association is comprised of 29 NGOs which implement the Step by Step Program, initiated by the Open Society Foundations and Georgetown University from Washington in 1994.
Step by step is education-reform program objected to strengthen democratic principles among young children, their families, their tutors / teachers, school's / kindergarten's professional service (pedagogues, psychologists) and teachers. The program encourages change at all levels including the responsible ministries, the universities, schools and local community.
Step by Step child-centered educational and teaching methodology is based on the following aims:
- Supporting individuality of each child
- Encouraging whole child development: cognitive, physical, social, emotional, aesthetic
- Family involvement
- Ongoing training and technical support for the professionals
In Macedonia, the educational and teaching methodology “Step by Step” is implemented in all kindergartens (at that time divided in 51 organizational units) and 86 primary schools. For the educational and teaching teams from kindergartens and primary school Step by Step provided ongoing professional development activities.
As part of this programs the following activities were realized:
- a number of manuals for the educators and parents were published: “Step by Step” Manual – Parents as Representatives, “Step by Step” Manual –Children from Birth to Two Years of Age, “Step by Step” Manual – Preschool Children at the age of 3 - 6, “Step by Step” Manual – Inclusion of Children with Special Needs, “Step by Step” Manual –School Children at the age of 8 - 10. The manuals can be downloaded from our Library;
- picture books in Macedonian and Albanian language were printed - Following the Open Society Institute New York “Internet publishing” initiative, with cooperation of the 28 countries - members of Step by Step network, 12 new titles of children’s picture books available on web site ”Reading Corner” of International Association Step by Step were provided. The picture books can be downloaded from our Library;
- two Children Creative Centers were opened in Skopje and Radovish;
- model classrooms according to the methodology were established in numerous primary schools and kindergartens across the country.