Who we are
Kindergarten “Mali istraživač” opened its doors in 2013 in the new residential complex of the Bundek Center. It is located in a purpose-built space for the accommodation of children of early and preschool age. The kindergarten is divided into two houses – the House of Tintilinić and Balthazar’s House, which have fully equipped spaces for educational groups, and two children’s playgrounds equipped with devices for outdoor activities.
The total surface area of the indoor space for the accommodation of children is 1100 m2. In the immediate vicinity of the kindergarten, there is a lake bearing the same name, a true oasis of nature in the middle of the city. Bundek, rightfully so, has the status of one of the most beautiful parks in the city with well-maintained walkways, parks, and green areas, which we use in our daily educational work with children.
The vision of development of the kindergarten “Mali istraživač” is aimed at encouraging the development of a free, self-reliant, resourceful, and responsible child who thinks creatively and critically. The role of our practitioners is not only to prepare the child for school, but to create a solid foundation for life. We have learned through experience that a child’s early and preschool age are not just preparatory stages for adulthood, but a separate part of life with its own values and culture. With this in mind, we have created a kindergarten where the child lives their childhood to the fullest.
Our kindergarten is like a laboratory in which every child has the opportunity to experience childhood in a way that is acceptable to them.
The founder of the kindergarten is a professional who, after 28 years, decided to continue her educational work with children of early and preschool age in a private kindergarten bearing the symbolic name “MALI ISTRAŽIVAČ” (Little Explorer). During her education practice in the City Kindergarten, the scientific circles of the City of Zagreb noticed the results of her practical work, which is why in 2008 she received the City of Zagreb Award for innovation and the best achieved results for her work in the field of early education.
The basic principles of the curriculum of the kindergarten “Mali istraživač” were formed in a research-based collaboration between practitioners and scientists from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. During the past 10 years of our collaboration, we have continued to systematically raise awareness of the quality of existing knowledge by continuously changing our educational practice, while simultaneously transforming ourselves and our professional identity. In other words, we started from the basic idea and we have created a context of joint research and learning, which is recognizable for its openness to new knowledge and further improvement of educational work with children, in such a way that we perceive them as equal partners in the educational process.
Today, this approach to educational work with children is recognized as innovative and worthy of praise by numerous parents. The uniqueness of our work is related to a child’s experience and the art of the organization of space in order for it to become fluid and multifunctional. Our premises are designed to be tailored to the child; with their position, size, and adaptability, they fully correspond to the approach that we want a child to have at an early age, an approach in which we put an emphasis on learning through activities and direct experience. It is an approach in which the space acts as an additional educator, and which offers the possibility of movement, a lot of stimulation, and the freedom to use everything in the space, and it gives a child the opportunity to independently choose the ways and conditions under which they choose to play. With all of the above, we can conclude that a child in our kindergarten has all the prerequisites or living conditions which make them feel at home.
In our activities, we always strive to progress and change in order to maintain the uniqueness that sets us apart and by which we are recognizable in the City of Zagreb and beyond.