site.btaHow a Bulgarian-language Kindergarten Gained Popularity with Bratislava Parents
The Bulgarian kindergarten in Bratislava has become very sought-after among local parents: both Bulgarian and Slovak. It is subsidized by the Slovak Education Ministry and is recognized on a par with the state and municipal kindergartens in Slovakia, and in addition to that charges a small fee but still parents choose it for the good quality of educational services it offers, Ana Ivanova, who is in charge of the financing of the kindergarten told BTA. The kindergarten teaches Bulgarian and popularizes the Bulgarian traditions, and the Slovak kids are happy when they dress up in traditional Bulgarian clothes. "I can say for sure that they find the Bulgarian-language sessions to be more fun that the English sessions," said Ivanova.
All spots for children in the kindergarten are taken this year.
Here is what else Ana Ivanova told BTA:
How popular are you among Bratislava parents?
The Bulgarian kindergarten is very much sought after. In Bratislava, children are required to start attending kindergarten at 5 or younger, and in the last few years the City Hall and the city boroughs have tried to make sure there is a kindergarten for absolutely all children. So, for parents to choose to pay our fee even though they can choose a state or municipal kindergarten for free, says something. They prefer to pay and have a high quality education service rather than choose the free state or municipal kindergarten.
We are full and we cannot take on more children until next school year when we hope to have the same success again.
What is in your curriculum?
Our curriculum is extremely diverse and we have a lot of extra-curriculars. We even have meditation classes for the kids once a week. They are led by a lovely lady who comes especially for that, a friend of our kindergarten, and we have observed that we don't have a problem with aggression and negative behaviors among the children after the meditation classes started.
How many Bulgarian children do you have and how many Slovak?
Out of 52 children in total, some 10 are Bulgarian and the rest are Slovak or from mixed families.
How does the support of the Slovak State help the development of the Bulgarian community?
The Slovak state has a fund that supports national minorities. The Bulgarian minority is recognized in Slovakia, so we also receive support for our projects. Through these, we try to make Bulgarian traditions more popular. This year we celebrated Zgovesni and Proshka [traditional feasts celebrated on the Sunday before Lent] in the kindergarten, and I must tell you that we had grandparents moved to tears by our traditions and the warmth in them.
What do the Slovaks think of the Bulgarian language that is taught here?
They find it very interesting. I can say with confidence that they find it more interesting and more fun in the Bulgarian classes than in the English classes. Also, the children are very happy when they dress up in traditional costumes.