Early Childhood Development System in Visegrad Region

Live Online Sessions

October-November 2021

Collected evidence in numerous case studies confirms that quality early childhood development can set children in adversity on the right track towards a brighter future. When services are provided early, the return on investment is the highest. Nevertheless, it is exactly those children most in need of early childhood development and care, who are absent from these services.

The challenge we worked on

In collaboration with Škola dokorán – Wide Open School n. o., a nonprofit dedicated to community development and especially Peter Strážik, the headmaster of the elementary school in Spišský Hrhov we were working on the challenges of early childhood development of children in adversity. During the 6 weeks intensive workshop we had the opportunity to talk with such experts as

Dorottya Marosváry
Head of the Kindergarten Club at the Real Pearl Foundation's "Tanoda" program

Julcsi Péterfi
Special education teacher, 'tanoda' teacher at the Real Pearl Foundation

Melanie Berry
Senior Specialist of Innovator Supports at the Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

Peter Strážik
Headmaster of the Primary School and Preschool in Spíšský Hrhov

Roland Harwood
Founder and Director of Liminal

Stanislav Daniel
Roma Activist

Zuzana Sojková
Founder of Naše školstvo

At the end of the workshop 3 teams presented their project proposals to jury and stakeholders. "These proposals brought a lot of insights to me. They represent a new perspective to the challenge I'm facing here in Spišský Hrhov. If I could I would implement all of them starting tomorrow." - said Peter Strážik at the end of the presentations.

We hope that these ideas will serve as inspiration to early childhood development professionals, local, regional and national administration and designers. We believe that change is possible and it requires a close collaboration of all parties involved.

Below you will find soon the projects developed during this workshop.

The projects were delivered by


Noelle Dye

Innovation Accelerator & Leadership Coach

Noelle is an explorer of the human experience. She has worked as a designer, innovator, inventor, and coach, and has built and led cross-functional teams in hardware, software, and service design as a consultant, in-house for start-ups, and in-house with some big brands. Currently, she guides leaders and organizations of people to discover their inner champions to achieve their visions.


Pascal Wicht

Strategic Designer

Pascal is a strategic designer based in Lausanne Switzerland. His work is focused on the orientation of people in their exploration of different futures. Pascal's approach mixes an ethnographic enquiry of people with the foresight practice of horizon scanning. He is also the founder of Whispers & Giants, a strategic discovery agency helping organisations succeed in the early phase of innovation journeys. In parallel, he teaches the discovery process in universities and business schools.


Michala Lipkova

Product Designer, Assistant Professor at Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava

Michala is a designer working along boundaries of product and experience design. She leads commissioned research projects at the Institute of Design at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. Since 2013 she is a managing director of collaborative platform Flowers for Slovakia, focused on promotion of Slovak design abroad. In 2017 she has co-founded hardware startup Benjamin button.


Justyna Turek

Sustainable Design Consultant & Facilitator

A dynamic and versatile professional, recognized for her expertise in sustainable design and innovation. As a design researcher, process facilitator, and ideas initiator, she specializes in creating immersive experiences, systems, and workshops that enable companies, brands, organizations, and events to effectively communicate their sustainable value to users. Her extensive experience spans a wide range of industries, including product, service, and manufacturing companies, as well as collaborations with design and culture studios in Paris, Helsinki, New York, Stockholm and across Poland. Co-founder of Change Pilots and Next Agents.

Junior Facilitator

Anna Ulahelova

UX Designer

Anna is a designer in UX, information and graphic design. She likes to observe and research topics connected with society, city and environment. She is passionate about design theory in Central Europe and Slovakia. She likes complex and meaningful projects where she can help to analyse, ideate and use visualisation to understand problems. Currently working as freelancer on projects in Slovak culture, design and environment. She co-works with strategic design and innovation company Stride XL in the Czech Republic.

Junior Facilitator

Ella Weldon

Project Lead and Community Developer

Ella is currently working as a Project Lead and Community Developer for social and environmental consultancy Liminal. Her academic and work background spans psychosocial research, international development, migrant’s rights advocacy, youth mentorship, women’s empowerment and public health, with equity and justice the thread that ties them together. Ella is a DJ and radio host and puts on parties with her community sound-system cooperative.

Junior Facilitator

Šárka Benešová

Talent Management Designer

Šárka helps organisations to create a supportive, value-driven environment for the growth of human potential. She guides them through innovations, cultural change, design of development programs, hiring, and onboarding processes. Her background is in adult education and experiential learning, she cooperates with a Czech design studio Court of Moravia, which draws on design thinking, human-centred design, and game design.

Junior Facilitator

Dominika Majewska

Industrial Design/ Speculative Design

Dominika is a designer, researcher and social innovator based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She works at the intersection of social design and environmental transitions, focusing on creating balanced connections between human-made and natural systems. User experience researcher passionate about psychology. Explorer, looking for connections between the urban and rural tomorrows.


Zuzana Sojková


Zuzka is alumni of the leadership program Teach for Slovakia, she has cooperated with the Slovak Research Institute of Child Psychology and Pathopsychology and she is the founder of Naše školstvo - NGO that works on creating a development network of BBSK elementary schools.


Melanie Berry

Senior Specialist, Innovator Supports

As Senior Specialist of Innovator Supports at the Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, Melanie oversees the ongoing development of the Center’s innovator support offerings including the IDEAS Impact Framework and ScienceXDesign. Melanie brings extensive experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs to support young children and families facing adversity, and she’s passionate about helping innovators in the early childhood field use information and data to achieve better outcomes. She holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium.


Julcsi Péterfi

special education teacher, 'tanoda' teacher at the Real Pearl Foundation

Julcsi has worked in the model village of the Foundation, in Told for 6 years. She joined at the very beginning of the Tanoda program during her university years as a volunteer. She now works with children from the age of 3 to 18, but her focus area is early childhood development, especially preschool programs and motor skill development.


Dorottya Marosváry

Head of the Kindergarten Club at the Real Pearl Foundation's "tanoda" program

Dorottya works as a teacher, mentor and communication specialist for non-governmental organizations working for Roma inclusion and equal opportunities in Hungary. Her main areas of expertise are reading motivation, mother tongue development, she currently works mainly with the 3-4- year-old age group. She strongly believes that the for-profit and non-profit sectors could learn a lot from each other.


Stanislav Daniel


Stano Daniel is an expert on social inclusion with primary focus on inclusive education and support in early childhood. As a programme manager at Porticus Vienna he focuses on education in Central and Eastern Europe. His preceding international experience includes networking of civil society organisations working with disadvantaged children at European level, research of human rights in education, migration, health, housing. Along with his job he also is a member of the board of directors of Trnava University and the Roma Education Fund.


Peter Strážik


Peter is the headmaster of a school in Spišský Hrhov, Slovakia. Peter was one of the first headmasters in Slovakia to introduce an inclusive school curriculum. He works as a senior expert for community programmes at Škola dokorán - Wide Open School, n.o. He has participated in many projects in the field of inclusive education and in the care and education of preschool children.


Roland Harwood

Compulsive Connector

Roland Harwood is a compulsive connector of people and ideas. As a successful serial entrepreneur, he is currently Founder and Director of Liminal, a new venture currently in development. Prior to that he was Co-Founder and Managing Director at 100%Open, the multi award-winning open innovation agency that works with the likes of LEGO, Ford, UBS, Oxfam and in 25+ countries around the world to co-innovate with their partners.


Hover me!
Product design
Bálint Eckhardt
London, UK
UX Designer
Karina Rachwał
Wrocław, Poland
Service Systems Design
Simona Mancusi
Copenhagen, Denmark
Design student
Jarmila Martinková
Ede, Netherlands
Social Design
Lesley-Ann Donnell
Copenhagen, Denmark
Service designer
Mishell Orta
Milan, Italy
Fine Arts
Sarah El-Haddad
Cairo, Egypt
Service Design
Amber Francis
Savannah, GA, USA
Strategic Service Designer
Mani I
London, UK
Graphic Designer
Panna Júlia Petró
Budapest, Hungary
Production Coordinator
Katarzyna Witkowska
Katowice, Poland
Digital Design
Miriam Loos
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Creative Direction
Sandra Dernbach
Cologne, Germany

Partners & Sponsors