Koitida on the Kathimerini website on Friday 14.10.2022 by journalist Lina Giannarou. The new unknown world for children and the opportunity of early intervention And that day comes, the Monday of all Mondays, the day when the baby “dresses up” as a child and walks through the door of the nursery school. How many symbols are hidden in the few meters you walk together in the courtyard to the classroom door, the photos, the farewell, the hug and at the end the look you exchange with the teacher: “Will you look after him for us?”.

“It’s the passage from the known to the unknown,” Meropi Michaleli, psychoanalyst and founder of the “Coitida” institute for the promotion of mental health in pregnancy and in the first years of life, comments to “K”. From the home to the welcoming space that society has created, to allow the child to develop his abilities and create social bonds. What does this period have in store? It remains to be seen.


As Mrs. Michaleli says, entering the daycare center is a critical crossroads for the family. “For the mother it is often a narcissistic blow, especially when she finds herself having to accept the childcare solution for her baby because she has to work. Guilt, feelings of inadequacy may overwhelm her, which are not always conscious and are not given the opportunity by the environment to express themselves.” In fact, the role of socialization that the kindergarten is called upon to play very often puts educators and parents in competing roles. “It is not always easy for a mother to accept that another woman will educate her child and, even worse, that she will develop a close relationship with him.”

Their relationship, however, will play a crucial role. As Mrs. Michaleli points out, entering the daycare is often the occasion for the manifestation of difficulties the child faces in his psychosocial or mental development, or even serious disorders. “Regardless of whether we don’t always say it or admit it, then there comes a time when the question inevitably arises whether the child is ‘like everyone else or not'”.

It is also common for parents to expect the daycare center to bring about a change or an automatic cure for some “problem” they identified in their child. “Kindergarten also often becomes the place where parents desperately try to find out what their child needs.”


However, there are resistances. Often all sides take a wait-and-see attitude. Parents, on the other hand, so that they don’t accept that their child is different, and educators, so that they don’t feel the limit of their own pedagogical influence. Thus, only when the “shy” child presents a disturbing introversion and silence, can those concerned be activated. “Waiting in the hope of automatic healing, or because of the fear that the parents will not worry unjustly or feel guilty, often leads to the strengthening of the resistances that exist anyway, against taking any therapeutic measure. Thus, it is, unfortunately, common for parents and the daycare center to ask for the intervention of experts when it is already too late and a psychopathology has been established in the young child,” she explains.

As she emphasizes, early disorders in the interaction of the infant-toddler with the important persons in his environment, developmental disorders, sleep and food intake disorders or early emotional disorders can be detected in the nursery. “Let’s not ignore that too many adult depressions have started as early depressions in childhood-infancy, which remained undiagnosed,” emphasizes Mrs. Michaleli. The first four years of life are a golden critical period. “Then the results of an early intervention are immediate and easy to develop. If we miss this opportunity, then a costly long-term intervention is needed in an intractable and often severe condition, usually requiring lifelong help.” However, for the intervention to be effective in these early stages, the coordinated cooperation of all specialists involved in the health and care of the young child, the family and often even the grandparents is needed. “To put it another way: to be a little like children: alive and alert.”

The “Beehive” program

The “Hive” program designed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs aims at early intervention and it is estimated that it will be implemented as a pilot in the current school year. Among other things, the program foresees the operation of a mechanism for the early detection of mental, learning and psychosocial difficulties in preschool education, while establishing the regular monitoring and evaluation of the development of infants and toddlers with special tests for the purpose of diagnosis and early intervention in cases of children with developmental disabilities. In the pilot phase, the program concerns 1,450 children in 100 stations. According to information, the program, amounting to 34,392,500 million euros, has been submitted to the Recovery Fund and its approval is expected.

The “Kipseli” program was based on a study by an interdisciplinary team with the participation of diaNEOsis and led by Professor of Economics at Yale University, Costa Megir, which led to the drafting of a “white paper on preschool education”.

See the article here:  https://www.kathimerini.gr/society/562089097/paidikos-stathmos-to-proto-vima-ektos-spitioy/