The Department of Pre-school Education

General information about the programme

The arguments for initiating the study programme

The arguments for initiating, i.e. for the continuation of the study programme, are related first of all to the fact of the insufficient integration of pre-school children into pre-school educational programmes. In the contemporary social context families need organized pre-school child care more than ever. Although in the European Union attending educational programmes is optional before the age of five, more than 75% of four-year-old children are integrated in the pre-school educational system, where the only exceptions to the figure are Greece, Ireland and Portugal where the integration rate is just over 50%. On the other hand, in Croatia the integration rate is approximately 30%, and in the three counties neighbouring Split (where the largest number of students at the University of Split come from) it amounts to 31.6 %.


Evaluation of purposefulness with regard to labour market requirements

Pre-school teacher training at the Teachers’ College meets the requirements of the professional profile of the three counties of Split and Dalmatia County, Dubrovnik and Neretva County, along with, in part, Šibenik and Knin County, as well as a part of the needs of the nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The integration of children in regular pre-school programmes


Number of educational groups

Number of teachers

Number of children integrated in regular pre-school programmes

Integration rate

Split and Dalmatia County





Dubrovnik and Neretva County





Šibenik and Knin County (30% of the total number)











Taking into consideration the current number of employed teachers in the three abovementioned counties (Šibenik and Knin County is only partially included, with 30%), the fact that 30 years of service are needed for women to qualify for retirement (art. 31, Retirement Insurance Law- Zakon o mirovinskom osiguranju in Croatian) as well as the assumption of even age distribution, zero professional dropout and a full range of years of service, 37 female teachers go into early retirement every year. Considering the fact that some of the graduated students develop their professional career in other activities, as well as the fact of resigning early from the job for various reasons (disability, early retirement, disease, family problems...), the realistic estimate of the teacher-profession reproduction rate will be considerably higher than the rate of 3.3%, which would be valid under the limitations of "plain reproduction."

In terms of the previous data the annual need for new pre-school teachers amounts to at least 40 teachers a year. Starting from the highly optimistic assumption of having a 90% pass rate, it would be necessary to enroll at least 45 students a year.

If we, additionally, acknowledge harmonization with the European system as well, and if we expect the integration of children in pre-school educational programmes to hover around 75% in the near future, the number of employed teachers should therefore grow by 42%. The estimated minimal number of students for a 75% integration rate would amount to, under the same assumptions as above (reproduction rate of 4% and pass rate of 90%), 107 students.


The correlation between the programme and contemporary scientific notions

Educational studies constitute the foundation of professional teacher training. This is the reason why educational studies consist 30% of the study programme.

A humanistic approach based on a new perception of the pre-school curriculum as transactional-transformational has been accepted in our pre-school theory as well as in practice for more than a decade. The modern pre-school curriculum is characterized by being transparent, integrated and under development. Numerous longitudinal parallel studies of various approaches in pre-school curriculum forming (Burts, Charlesworth, Fleege, Mosley, Thomasson 1992; Epstein 1993; Marcon 1992; Falk, Dierking 2000; DeVries, Reese-Learned, Morgan 1991; Bredekamp 1996; Duran 2001; and others) indicate the important and valuable contributions of the integrated curriculum to the whole of child development. Each child, as proven by these studies, has his/her unique development pattern determined by specific interests, personal strategy and tempo of learning, earlier experience and sociocultural context in which they live. It has been pointed out that already from an early age a child is a competent being, rich in potential, open, capable of discovering and investigating the phenomena which he/she encounters as well as of sharing his/her discoveries with others through different forms of expression. Beside this, a child has an intensive need for development which results in their demand for an experience of authentic development.

Teaching effectiveness is reflected in the understanding of a child’s learning process based on the modified paradigm of pre-school learning. The starting positions are that of constructivist interaction conceptions of learning and education according to which learning is a process of discovering the meaning of one’s own experience (construction) under the conditions of interaction and dialogue (co-construction). In this contextual-integrated model of learning, the crucial teacher’s role is to encourage the child's development and learning as a whole, i.e. the child's development in critical and creative thinking, to engage the child’s potentials as a whole, to promote collaboration, interaction and negotiation among children. Thus throughout pre-school educational studies, among other things, an adequate psychological, pedagogical, methodological, philosophical and sociological education of students is important as it is crucial for the understanding and implementation of the teacher’s roles in the constructivistically conceived environment of the pre-school child’s learning. A student should, through the content of the above-stated scientific disciplines, become trained in the roles of mediator and mentor in encouraging child development as a whole, i.e. in planning, mentoring and evaluating the process of the child progress which he/she realizes through an integrated pre-school curriculum.


Comparability with the programmes of the respectable institutions of higher education abroad

The development of the teacher educational system in Europe proceeds in the direction of university education and professionalization. At least three years of higher education are required in order to obtain teacher qualifications.

The proposed study programmes have been created bearing in mind the related study programmes of the leading institutions of higher education in the European Union and in the United States of America. We emphasize programmes that have been implemented in Slovenia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Poland and Finland as particularly related to ours.

Initially, the study programme was organized as a vocational one. Subsequently it was transformed into an academic study programme through the gradual strengthening of "the teaching personnel structure" of the stated institutions and through the improvement of the position of the educational sciences.


Openness to students´ mobility

Croatian institutions of higher education which have study programmes for pre-school teacher training have been coordinating their programmes for the purpose of encouraging students´ mobility ("horizontalna pokretljivost"). Apart from mobility among local comparable institutions, mobility to institutions of higher education abroad is expected as well. Arrangements regarding the drafting of "learning/study agreements" ("sporazum o studiranju") are being made with a number of institutions abroad, among which let us single out the Slovene and Finnish ones (Abo Akademi University – Department of Early Childhood Education, in Jakobstad).



Name and title

E-mail address

Head of department

Dr. Marija Brajčić, Assistant Professor


Snježana Lauš

ECTS coordinator

Dr. Tea-Tereza Vidović Schreiber, Senior Lecturer


Address: Poljička cesta 35, Split

Academic staff


Academic title

E-mail address

Marija Brajčić Assistant Professor

Branimir Mendeš

Assistant Professor

Esmeralda Sunko

Assistant Professor

Ivana Visković

Assistant Professor

Tea-Tereza Vidović Schreiber Senior Lecturer
Iskra Tomić Kaselj Assistant

Daniela Petrusić Assistant
Toni Maglica Postdoctoral Researcher