Five year old Catalina Măndrile likes coming to school. “When we finish an activity, before going to lunch, we draw,” she explains. “I like it here: we sleep, eat, play and make puzzles. The educator teaches us things that we, being small, don’t know.”
Viorica Istraţi runs the kindergarten. She says her village of about 3,500 residents will survive and prosper, as long as her kindergarten is filled with laughs of their children. “We are proud of our kindergarten – it’s the nicest place in the community. And it’s not only a building – but this is also an environment where children feel well, free and can develop their creative potential,” says Istraţi.
Until recently, the kindergarten was festooned with broken windows and doors, without electricity and water. For ten years, like many kindergartens in Moldova, it was shut down entirely. Only in 2005 did work begin to repair it. Three years later, the Pănăşeşti kindergarten was one of 50 in Moldova to receive part of two grants from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE, formerly Education for All – Fast Track Initiative), of US$4.4 million each, administered by the World Bank. Moldova is currently implementing a third GPE grant and continues to address the needs of more kindergartens especially in disadvantaged communities.