PILOTING: Varaždin County is forming Center for education of adults for gifted preschoolers
Written by Iva Janežič, Varaždin county.
By establishing a Professional Development Center for gifted preschool children, meaning clear vertical from kindergarten through primary and secondary education and beyond, Varaždin County is leading the way in caring for and working with gifted children. This Croatian region has already formed 14 centres of excellence over the past 15 years, and five more professional centres of excellence in the last year. They systematically work with children of primary and secondary school age.
Now by forming a Professional Development Centre for Gifted Children where kindergarten teachers will receive a specific type of education their goal is to start working with gifted children from the kindergarten age in order to detect child’s talents at that early age and enable their further development. They also want to encourage all kindergartens in the north of Croatia to take care of children’s talents from an early age. For these purposes a gathering of representatives of Associates of Kindergartens in Northern Croatia (from five counties: Varaždin, Međimurje, Koprivnica-Križevačka, Krapina-Zagorje and Bjelovar-Bilogora) was organized.
First meeting was held in March on the occasion of the Giftedness Day in order to connect people on this unique topic and provide them with sufficient information from eminent experts and persons who deal with giftedness in the field of preschool education.
The second meeting was organized in June where founders, directors of the kindergarten and county representatives gathered and a team to create program guidelines was formed. Robert Kelemen, director of the public institution “European Talent Center Croatia – Centers of Excellence of Varaždin County” explained that intention is to set up a network for talent development that would become nationally recognizable.
Head of the Administrative Department for Education, Culture and Sports of Varaždin County, Ph.D. Miroslav Huđek referred to a past work of the Centers of excellence, as well as future plans.
The person in charge of the organization and development of this network will be Dr. sc. Jasna Cvetković-Lay, whose area of speciality is early identification and creation of gifted programs. She introduced the audience to the scientific concept and the work materials necessary for the implementation of the program that encourages the giftedness of children of early and preschool age.