Mission: Play

In March 2017, WWO Bulgaria will launch its new project “Mission: Play” in cooperation with For Our Children Foundation. The project expands the services offered in For Our Children Foundation’s Complex for Early Childhood Development by offering programs supporting early childhood development through play.

In partnership with For Our Children Foundation, WWO Bulgaria will offer a range of programs for children 0 to 8 years old and their families. The project includes a child-friendly space, equipment and specialists who will provide individual and group activities for children and adults. The project’s activities also include adult trainings in child development. The training modules increase adults’ understanding of the importance of play for early childhood development and help them understand how their children think and feel.

Project Goals

The “Mission: Play” project aims to encourage a holistic approach to child development support for children 0 to 8 years old through the implementation of play-based programs and positive adult-child interaction.

Tasks

  • Develop and offer programs for vulnerable children and families
  • Support adult understanding about the importance of early childhood development and a stimulating environment
  • Support professionals in the development of successful early childhood development practices

Target Groups

  • Children 0 to 8 years old and their families using the Complex’ services
  • Parents of children using the Complex’ services who wish to be included in trainings

Project Methodology and Implementation

WWO Bulgaria will provide the “Element of Play” program which consists of age appropriate play-based programs for young children (early childhood component); school age children (after school component) and adults (adult education component). Working from a strengths-based approach, WWO works with community members to identify needs, adapt the program and collaborate with key actors for sustainability and local relevance. Element of Play activities take place at the Toy Library, where children and adults come together to participate in the program, and at various community spaces, using a mobile approach. The program includes:

  • Toy Library: a protected space filled with stimulating toys that engage children in creative play and teach them about color, special perception, fine motor coordination and language. Each toy is carefully selected to support the different domains of development and can be used in various ways depending on the age and interests of the child.
  • Music in Motion: children use musical instruments and are exposed to different genres of music and childhood songs from different cultures. They learn about beat, rhythm, tone and creative dance movements. Through music and creative movement, children develop listening skills, vocabulary, gross and fine motor skills, positive social connections with peers and caregivers, imaginative and creative thinking, self-expression and confidence.
  • Play the Story:this creative reading and arts program exposes children to literature and supports language development, pre-literacy, social-emotional and problem-solving skills in a fun and creative way. Children listen to a story and have the opportunity to express their learning through creative movement and arts activities developed around the theme of the book. Each session helps ends with a celebration of the child’s contribution to a unique experience.
  • Child development screenings:children accessing Element of Play programming will be provided an opportunity to receive a developmental screening using the specialized tool Development Profiles – 3 (DP-3). Positive screenings will receive a referral for additional assessments to evaluate the need for early intervention services. Follow-up evaluation results will be used to tailor programming to support children’s individual needs.

Project Team

  • Project Coordinator
  • Play Specialists
  • Music Specialist
  • Screening specialists