Theoretical starting points and characteristics of the National Curriculum for early and preschool education in the Republic of Croatia Jasminka Zloković and Diana Nenadić-Bilan
Summary: The contemporary conception of early and preschool education is based on a humanistic developmental paradigm orientation that stipulates that the child is an individual personality from birth and should be respected as such. In the educational process, the child is not an object but a subject who participates, (co)constructs and largely determines its own life and development. In the Republic of Croatia, the National Curriculum for Early and Preschool Education (Nacionalni kurikulum … 2014) affirms the pluralism of humanistic development pedagogical concepts and the diversity of approaches in implementing educational work with early-aged children. The emphasis is placed on ensuring the quality of pedagogical practices, which implies respect for all aspects of child development as well as importance of both educators and parents in educational practices. According to its starting point and organisational strategic structure, the National Curriculum for Early and Preschool Education (Nacionalni kurikulum … 2014) is oriented towards a transformational and open sub-constructional model of educational work instead of the traditional transmission model. The humanistic developmental and dynamic approach is the fundamental starting point highlighted in this document, as well as its openness and support of the initiative and activity of children. From an official point of view, the traditional paradigm—according to which the educator is a teacher, a knowledge provider, a leader and a controller of the educational process—is abandoned. By implementing and conducting the process of (self)assessment of early and preschool education, striving to ensure the culture of dialogue, the personal and professional responsibility of main participants, as well as the culture of self-assessment in the early and preschool education system.