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Helping Moldova’s Kids Grow and Learn

March 25, 2014

It might be the busiest place in Pănăşeşti, in central Moldova. It is the local kindergarten, where about 170 kids, ages three to seven, arrive in their classrooms ready to get to work. With support from the World Bank, their three-decade old building has been repaired, giving students a warm, welcoming place to spend their days.

World Bank Group

It might be the busiest place in Pănăşeşti, in central Moldova. It is the local kindergarten, where about 170 kids, ages three to seven, arrive in their classrooms ready to get to work. With support from the World Bank, their three-decade old building has been repaired, giving students a warm, welcoming place to spend their days.

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.


" We are proud of our kindergarten – it’s the nicest place in the community. "

Viorica Istraţi


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Their preschool is in this 30-year-old building.  With support from the Global Partnership for Education Grant, administered by the World Bank, the building has been repaired, giving students a warm, welcoming place to spend their days.

World Bank

A long-lasting impact

Much of the impetus for the rebirth of the kindergarten came from people in the village. “We wanted our new kindergarten to have a long-lasting impact on the life of our village, so we decided to engage our community to define future steps,” explains Istraţi.  

And the community got engaged. Of the total cost of the school’s renovation, which totalled to about US$35,000, people from and around Pănăşeşti have donated over US$11,000. The rest came from the local authorities and from the Global Partnership for Education. Moldova has been a leader in its focus on early childhood education, and has worked closely with UNICEF and the World Bank.

Effective early childhood education is an important tool for creating a skilled workforce and for enhancing Moldova’s competitiveness in the 21st century. This is why strengthening access to quality education is a priority for the World Bank in Moldova.


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Beyond the school building itself, the project has brought the community together, empowering people to make decisions about their own communities.  People in and around Pănăşeşti contributed money to rebuild the school which was devastated in the past.

World Bank

As part of the improvements to Moldova’s school system, the project is helping design modern teaching and learning materials, including books, toys and furniture; and renovate preschool facilities, equip play-grounds, and train teaching staff across the country.

As a result, about 10,000 children have benefited from preschool services in over 50 renovated kindergartens. About 37 percent of the country’s other preschools received books and other teaching materials.

Teacher training targeted at both experienced and new teachers plays a vital role. Over a third of Moldova’s preschool teachers were trained in new ideas and teaching techniques. 


" Our life, and also the life of our children, has changed to the better.  "

Gheorghe Yatsco


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In total, so far the grants reached about 10,000 kids throughout the country. Effective early childhood education is a priority for Moldova. Studies show that an early investment in school leads to a better-educated, better skilled workforce. 


Skill comes with practice

In Pănăşeşti, the Romaniţa kindergarten brings local kids together each day for school. Natalia Bunciuc, one of the kindergarten’s 12 teachers, says her students are making progress as they become ready to leave for elementary school.

“Preschool education is one of the most important investments you can make in children,” says Bunciuc. “I find it rewarding to work with our kids – they are growing bigger and becoming brighter every day.”

“Our life, and also the life of our children, has changed to the better. Being busy at our work we cannot afford to offer very much time and to educate them. In the kindergarten, however, they learn and are engaged in different activities,” says Gheorghe Yatsco, who has a three-year-old daughter in preschool.

The new kindergarten is also a haven for children whose parents left Moldova for jobs abroad. Out of 170 kids, 35 children have at least one parent working abroad.

“I had a dream of being able to bring all our kids to the kindergarten, especially, children with special needs and children lacking their parents’ care because they left the country to work abroad. Every child is important and every child needs attention,” says Istraţi. “Everything we aimed for became a reality here. And the parents know that their children are kept in a secure, neat and friendly environment where a new generation is growing.”   

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10,000
children have benefited from preschool services in over 50 renovated kindergartens. About 37% of the country’s other preschools received books and other teaching materials.
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