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Children, Parents and Specialists Will Communicate in the Green Yard of Varna

Is my child growing properly? Are her reactions and behaviour normal? How difficult is the moment of starting at nursery? - Questions that all young mothers ask themselves.

The "Green Yard of Varna" will open its doors in Varna by the end of this year. Following the example of hundreds of similar centres in the world, the "Green Yard" will be one more special place for the youngest and their parents. In a cozy and peaceful environment, in the presence of professionals, children will make their first steps in communication with other children and the outside world, and their parents will be able to get advice from professionals (psychologists, speech therapists, pediatricians, pedagogy specialists). The Centre will adapt, implement and develop the ideas of the French psychoanalyst and a pioneer in child analysis Françoise Dolto and the already recognized Bulgarian experience at the founded in 2015 such Centre in Sofia. This was made clear at the press conference, held yesterday at MU-Varna.

French experts in the field of child psychoanalysis paid a special visit to Varna in order to prepare a team that is going to work in the Sea Capital. "The aim of the professionals is to focus their attention on the baby, because the dignity and value of a little person are as great as the ones of an elderly person," underlined the child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Myriam Szejer. The psychoanalyst Marie-Christine Laznik, a consultant on early signs of autism, explained that she worked with parents whose children did not have any specific problem but they went on consultations with her as prevention.

The "Green Yard of Varna", similar to the French "Green House" will receive children aged 0-3 years and their parents in the children's corner in Sea Casino Varna. The main objectives of the project, backed up by the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology at the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) at MU-Varna, with the support of the French Institute in Bulgaria are early socialization, diagnosis and prevention. "The aim of the project is to make the youngest and their parents spend their free time together twice a week in order to get rid of the painful moments of starting at nursery or kindergarten," explained the project coordinator Dr. Ekaterina Valcheva from the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology at MU-Varna.

 "The power of words is enormous - they can open wounds, but they can also blaze a trail. The aim is the separation of a child from a parent to take place painlessly through psychoanalysis in the community," commented Assoc. Prof. Monika Bogdanova, DSc - a psychoanalyst, lecturer at the Faculty of Pedagogy, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", and a founder of the first "Green Yard" in Bulgaria in the capital. "In Varna we are going to disseminate and develop further what we have acquired as experience and knowledge at the moment". According to Assoc. Prof. Bogdanova, the initiative also provides an opportunity for early diagnosis of children with autism, problems that are usually detected at a very late stage – at 4-5 years of age in Bulgaria. "Diagnosing autism in a few-week-old baby may sound incredible, but it has been done, and it is absolutely possible."

The first "Green House" was founded in 1979 in Paris by the pediatrician and psychiatrist François Dolto. There are more than 800 green/open houses today in France, funded by municipal authorities as places for children and parents. However, in order to understand better what the "Green Yard" is, we'd better explain what it is not actually. It is not a kindergarten or an entertainment centre, this is a place that precedes the traditional leaving of babies at nurseries and kindergartens. The parent accompanying the child can have a rest and meet other parents at this special place for spending leisure time. The place gives parents the chance to be a part of social gatherings pretty soon after childbirth because sometimes they are quite isolated because of the everyday problems related to their children.

 "To have a truly functioning Green Yard, we need not only flowers and trees with which it is usually associated with at first. The most essential point here is the team of specialists," explained Assoc. Prof. Emanuela Mutafova, who, together with her colleagues from the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, started working on the project more than a year and a half ago.

An important step in the project implementation was the scientific and practical conference, held on 7th October at MU - Varna. It gathered together more than 200 participants from twelve cities in the country. A great deal of professionals from various fields, dealing with child's health and development, as well as parents, were among them. The owner of the renovated Sea Casino Varna Mr. Plamen Tanev stands behind this socially significant project as well.

The specially trained team is going to work in the Green Yard absolutely on voluntary basis. Anyway, all parents supporting the idea and visiting the "Green Yard" may leave a coin of 1 or 2 levs if they wish to do so. The symbolic amount of money will be used to maintain the surrounding environment, and will be a token of commitment to the social initiative.

Darina Velcheva