Running on the streets, unprotected; playing blind man's buff until late in the evening; spending the summers with Granny, in a small town or a village: this is how childhood looks like in the memories of the generation of Bulgarians, who are now having their own children. Back at the time, there were no computers and flat TVs with dozens of channels, and no one could think about spending the summer vacation in studying a language abroad. Chocolate was rare.
But things change, and the task of modern parents is to find a way of giving to their children the best of both worlds: the freedom to play and to risk for themselves, and the protection to be safe in an environment which looks increasingly dangerous; to enjoy the best bits of newest technology without loosing touch with the joys of non-virtual world; to learn new languages and skills, without sinking in a sea of information; to understand and enjoy art, to create.
This is a tough battle, and parents could often feel alone and lost: everyone around seems as if he or she is having the only valid opinion of how a child should be taken care of: the grandparents and the friends, the neighbours and the strangers in the street; the books and the Internet. Especially the Internet.
However, there are people and places around which are ready to help. Kindergartens and children centres, arts, sports and languages schools – the world is full with professionals who are eager and prepared to help you in providing the best care for your kids. In the past decade, in Bulgaria, new and cosy kindergartens and children centres are being opened, providing loving care with opportunities for kids to learn while playing, and to explore the world in a safe environment. Courses for everything, from a variety of foreign languages to yoga to folklore dances, and from swimming to martial arts to painting and pop singing are offered by private educational centres.
The world is full with opportunities, for you and your child. You, together, only need to make a choice.
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Mila Private Kindergarten: Between the city and the mountain
For its 16 years of existence, Mila Private Kindergarten (Sofia, 4 Maystor Milenko Radomirets St and 5 Maystor Pavel ot Krimin; phone: 0888 669 914) has established as a place for modern education in a friendly atmosphere. Situated at the foot of the Vitosha, the kindergarten offers programme teaching English and Russian, Latin and Bulgarian folk dances, football and taekwondo, and a dedicated specialists devoted to developing children's talents. The kids are divided into three age groups after a custom-made programme following the official educational standards, and the modern outdoor toys in the kindergarten's play yards fit the European safety and quality requirements.