The Most Popular Song in the Nursery / Dora Leonor Mesa

The mother, overwhelmed byhow muchwas left to do after her long work day, gathers her two-year old daughter from the private nursery that they had recommended to her. “The children are very well cared for and learn a lot,” they had told her.

In her urgency to get home, the doctor listened to the little girl murmur a melody that seemed familiar, but she barely paid attention trying to get home as soon as possible. She was observing for some time that the girl had been better behaved and followed diverse orders that they gave her. She even made demonstrations of movements that he teacher of Education taught her.

The day ended normally, and the next morning before dressing for work she again heard “the little song” without giving it great importance.

Some weeks passed, and one afternoon, while the family was watching television, waiting for the beginning of a sporting event, how great was their surprise to see the little girlsaluting the Cuban flag like the athletes at the beginning of the notes of the national anthem. Immediately, without pause and puffed with pride, the girl hummed completely and with the greatest solemnity the anthem, or the Anthem of Bayamo as it is also known.

Private Cuban nurseries can and should be educational establishments.

Preschool Education in Cuba constitutes the initial link of all the education of boys and girls; it also forms the first subsystem of all the National System of Education; it has as its objective to the maximum harmonic and complete development of the infant from six months until five years of age and consequently his preparation for school.

The system of home schooling, or education in the home is only permitted for exceptional cases, generally for sick boys and girls. Although preschool is not obligatory, Cuban families willingly acceptsending their little ones of five years to school.

Preschool Education contemplates three fundamental variants, essentially constituted under the supervision of the State: the nursery schoolfor children from zero to five years of age, the preschool grade or preparatory school for children from five years of age, and the informal channels, currentlytransformed into the program “Educate your child,” from birth until four years of age, through the cooperation of the parents and the community.

Except for the nurseries directed by religious institutions and other international organizations, the development of private Cubannurseries as educational centers is in its infancy. In order to begin tospeak of the topic we must mention that the owners of these child establishments, frequently located in their own homes, appear legally registered as “nannies” although they are supervised by diverse State institutions and are regulated by various legal regulations, they receive visits from functionaries and professionals of the Ministry of Public Health, etc.

In the private nurseries of Cuban citizens, boys and girls of different ages and social strata live together. In the places where we work, age differences are not established, provided that the little ones show sufficient maturity, discipline and motivation to participate in the activities that are carried out. This has permitted our young children of ages two to four years to acquire abilities that generally surprise parents, relatives and concerned persons.

Learning the National Anthem, recognizing the Cuban flag and other national attributes form part of a strategy to develop their identity as Cuban citizens, besides improving their vocabulary and communication skills and giving rise to their later adaptation to an educational institution, in this case the school.

The mother of the two-year-old little girl marvels that her little one sings the National Anthem. We explain to her that the main purpose of our work is that Cuban preschool education continue benefitting society and the families of the country. It makes us proud that the children learn, but we will be happier when Cuban teaching reaches the excellence of that on the continent.

Families with small children in private childcare need a place that will care for their offspring at irregular hours, secure and with great confidence for their later educational development.

Napoleon Bonaparte said: “We can always stop ourselves on the way up, but never on the way down.” A comment from a historic person that is worthy of reflection and not for nothing do the members of the Cuban Association for Early Childhood Education repeat among ourselves, “Not one step back, don’t even think about it.”

Whenever we can do something every day for the development of Cuban children, we do it with the best disposition and spend whatever time is necessary.

May 15 2012