One of the most edifying anecdotes that has reached us from Antiquity concerns a tragic event: the death of Socrates. A day before the philosopher was going to drink the infamous hemlock cup, his students found him sitting in his cell, carefully learning to play the lyre. "I have always wanted to learn how to play the lyre," said Socrates, beaming with joy. "But why now? Tomorrow...," his students began, but the man who we now venerate as the founder of Western philosophy interrupted them: "So when would I learn playing the lyre if not now?".
This ancient story communicates an eternal truth: one has to learn and develop throughout their life.
Modernity demonstrates us every day how important this is. Technologies are constantly developing and with them, the labour market and the need of certain specialists. Modern children will one day have professions in industries that are yet to appear. Established sectors and professions are being transformed, while others are disappearing. It seems that nobody is immune from change. Some already doubt whether in the foreseeable future drivers, pharmacists, lawyers and even doctors will be needed. Recently a company stated that it had developed a text-writing software able to do the job better than a human.
All that sounds stressful and even scary. Continuous learning and personal development is the only way to stay relevant to this constantly changing environment. It is especially important for children who are yet to learn, to develop, to find themselves.
How to be sure that your children will have the best possible start in life? With trusting their education to modern, active institutions who build them as questioning, open persons able to meet the challenges of life and to deal with them.
Cosmos Kids English Nursery and Kindergarten: Early development matters
Multicultural environment, development of children via games and study, building up of independent thinking, development of the imagination and freedom of thought, close to nature, with love for sports and physical activity, studying of the English language, and introduction to other foreign languages: you now know why children love attending their classes in Cosmos Kids English Nursery and Kindergarten (Sofia, 48 Georgi Georgiev - Gets, phone: +359 884 788 274, www.cosmos-kids.org). The professionals at Cosmos Kids know how important are such skills for the future successful development of the child in the global world. They offer a curriculum that is entirely in English following the National Curriculum of UK and uses Mathematics and Science with Cambridge curriculum, and provide loving care for their students. The children at Cosmos Kids study in small groups and receive personal attention from the teachers and tutors, and additional classes in sports, diverse arts.
Quality education should be present at each stage of the learning process. To be sure that you have consistency and adherence to the highest international standards, choose a school with international reputation.
French lycée Victor Hugo: French modern education
Immersion in the French culture, high success rates and promising future: this is what get the alumni of French lycée Victor Hugo (Sofia, Vitosha, 110 Simeonovsko Shose Blvd, Maxi Complex, www.vhugo.org). The school is a member of the largest and most prestigious network of international schools in the world. From 3 years of age, children follow the French curriculum and gain knowledge thanks to highly qualified teachers. Victor Hugo's students have an excellent success rate in the Baccalaureate exam (100 percent, with nearly 95 percent of "mention"). Most graduates of the high school continue their studies in colleges and the best international universities. Rich learning process at the French lycée Victor Hugo is provided by favorable educational environment: modern classrooms with digital equipment, science laboratories, a school library with over 10,000 volumes, diverse daily physical activities and sports, clubs including languages, sciences, arts, sport (tennis, rugby, skiing, dog sledding), after-school daycare, canteen, school transport.
St George International School & Preschool: Effective school community
Established in 1996, St George International School & Preschool (Sofia, 47 Nikola Vaptsarov Blvd, +359 899 995 578, www.stgeorgeschool.eu) offers highly competitive education and provides creative and supportive environment for studying and education of children aged 2 to 19. The school combines the best of the British and Bulgarian educational systems, with application of integrated education in accordance with the state standards of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, and the British standards for primary, secondary level, IGCSE and GCE A Level. At St George education is a dynamic process of search and understanding, filled with curiosity and aim for development, love and support. Along with the strong academic programme St. George International School & Preschool provides its students with the opportunity to gain experience and confidence as well as access to a variety of extracurricular activities in the field of sports, fine and performing arts, design and technology, which will help for a successful realisation in Bulgaria and the rest of the global world as well. In 2014 St. George was registered as an International school with the UK Department of Education and became a member of COBIS (Council of the British International Schools). From 2016 St. George International School & Preschool is fully accredited as Cambridge Primary School and Cambridge International School.
The choice of a university and a field of professional development is one of the most important decisions anyone with an ambition to succeed has to make. The options are abundant and education abroad is increasingly popular and affordable. Luckily, even in this highly competitive environment Bulgaria offers excellent options for quality, modern higher education.
American University in Bulgaria: American quality that creates leaders
The diploma from a good university, however, is not a warranty that the acquired skills, knowledge and contacts would be sufficient for a specialist to have a long and prominent career without further studying. On the contrary. Learning that continues for life is a necessity.
International Business School: Adequate, modern, effective
Regardless of their age, the modern professionals should constantly learn and develop in order to be adequate to the dynamic labour market. The International Business School (Botevgrad, 14 Gurko St, phone: +359 (0)723 688 12; Centre for Distance Learning: Sofia, 7 Vincent van Gogh, phone: +359 (0)2 400 16 30, www.ibsedu.bg) offers to the ambitious professionals a wide range of practically-oriented BA, MA and PhD programmes, professional and business programmes and courses, continuous and distance learning. The mission of IBS is to provide adequate and modern education tailored to the needs of the labour market and the time of the busy professional. The education quality and its connection to the real labour market is tracked via a constant feedback with the business. According to surveys, 81% of the participating employers say that the quality of the IBS alumni completely meets the requirements of the relevant job position, 71% are ready to hire school's alumni, and 91% would recommend them to other employers. The school also maintains active partnerships with established educational institutions abroad: yet another guarantee that it provides top level education.
The official system of education has a "blind spot," it often misses the need to teach soft skills. Anyone can benefit of these not only in their professional, but also personal life.
Agreements Association: How to deal with a conflict and achieve success
Difficult negotiations, a family conflict, inability to achieve the results you dream of: adults often discover that school and university haven't prepared them for some of the most important situations in life. The solution is the Agreements Association (Sofia, 11 Solunska St, floor 4, apartment 7, phone: 0885 79 25 25, www.sporazumenia.com). The organisation specialises in trainings and consultancy in negotiation, persuasion and mediation-based conflict resolution for effective overcoming of business and private situations. The Breakthrough Negotiations Training includes the most modern negotiation techniques and helps in high-stake situations in both at work and at home. The Persuasion with a Mission Training is for managers and consultants who want to promote innovative ideas in their organisation. The certified trainings for mediators have a wide application in professional and personal relationships. Each of the trainings is based on theory and rich practical experience. Whatever the problem that bugs us is, Agreements Association helps us to reach our goals and to create the desired solution.
One studies in order to acquire new knowledge and skills, to find their way in life and to turn their dreams into a reality. Often, however, studying causes stress and burnout. In such moments we need to understand that we should "hit the brakes" and should seek professional help.
Institute for Therapy and Expressive Arts: Art Therapy for all ages
Too much stress at school, difficulties in communication with others, stress borne by the acquirement of new knowledge and skills, family problems: life sometimes makes children face overwhelming situations. Expressive Art Therapy is one of the most efficient methods for overcoming stress. It combines visual, plastic and digital arts, theatre, movement and dance, storytelling and poetry, to restore balance and inner harmony. It is good for all and doesn't require any artistic skills: children begin to draw and dance in order to express themselves even before they start speaking. The Institute for Therapy and Expressive Arts (Sofia, 65 Vitosha Blvd, floor 1, apartment 1, phone: 0888 885 306, www.artstherapyinstitute.bg) specialises in work with children, adults and family constellations. The Institute works with highly qualified professionals who offer a wide spectrum of therapies for all ages. Thanks to them a number of problems pestering the modern person can be dealt with: professional burnout, anxiety, exhaustion, physical and emotional blockage. One of the most interesting therapies by the Institute is for children aged 4-11 years. Developed by Elitsa Velikova, MA in Expressive Art Therapy, the Art Therapy Cards for Children help kids to explore their feelings, to improve their self-confidence and relationships with others and a lot more. The Institute has also developed the Treasure Island Art Therapy ateliers for personal development of children aged 7-11 years. It is a soft and ecological approach for small groups that enriches children's emotional experience and helps them to develop personally, widening their knowledge and skills to seek and find out-of-the-box problem solutions.
All of these demonstrate that with careful planning, sensible choices and demand of quality we can provide our children with all the opportunities for them to be successful, confident and happy in a dynamic world.