Skip to main content
European Social Fund Plus

Transforming early education for marginalised Roma communities in Slovakia

A group of children from the PRIM project

Access to early childhood education remains a challenge for many Roma in Slovakia. The Inclusion in Maternity Schools project aims to bridge this gap, transforming kindergartens into inclusive environments that support children from marginalised Roma communities. 

A key part of this novel approach is the role of Roma parental assistants, Roma men and women who collaborate with Roma parents to encourage regular kindergarten attendance. These assistants help children adapt to the new environment, reduce language barriers, and provide overall support. This helps the children integrate into school while providing a job for the assistant. 

Additionally, the project includes special education teachers who work individually with children, focusing on areas where they need the most support through tailored stimulation programmes.

The project also addresses social inclusion more broadly. By cooperating with field social workers and community centres in their home environment, the project helps solve family problems and addresses the social exclusion created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This approach has already shown its impact: ‘Individual stimulation in the cognitive areas where children were lagging has significantly accelerated progress among children from marginalised Roma communities,’ says Monika Sedláková, the special education teacher at Pečovská Nová Ves kindergarten. More than 98% of children from the project went on to primary school, whereas in the past up to 1 in 5 were enrolled in special schools.

Slavka Stracenska, the director of Pečovská Nová Ves, adds: ‘The Roma assistant helped both in the kindergarten and at home. They supported parents in raising their children, especially during the pandemic when kindergartens were closed. Joint trips and parent meetings boosted parents' confidence and improved children's regular attendance at kindergarten.’

This project shows how targeted support and innovative strategies can transform early childhood education for marginalised Roma communities, setting a model for similar efforts in other regions. The ongoing commitment to supporting Roma children and families ensures that these positive impacts will continue to grow.

Project details

Project name
Support for pre-primary education of children from marginalised Roma communities II.
Government Office of the Slovak Republic
10 000
Project start
Project end
Contact details

+421 2 209 25 422
Total budget
18 570 630.64 EUR
EU Budget contribution
15 785 036.04 EUR