Janusz Korczak International Newsletter
N° 22 (April-May 2007)
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Amsterdam & Paris, on May 20th, 2007

Dear Korczak friends and colleagues,

To this item n° 22, we have got news from RUSSIA (Kazan, St-Petersburg), FRANCE, HOLLAND, UK and IKA.

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RUSSIA

Report of the international seminar in Kazan (Tatarstan)
Visiting the Korczak friends in Kazan

17-03-2007 : opening

It was at the end of March when Bernard Lathuillère, co-president of the French Korczak Association and Theo Cappon, chairman of the Dutch Korczak Association, visited the Kazan Pedagogical Seminar "A Child’s Happiness as the Goal of Up-Bringing".

Professor Roza Valeyeva, dean of the Psychological Faculty of the Tatar State Humanities and Education University and president of the Russian Korczak Society, together with Nastia Makhucha, organized this traditional Seminar for students and teachers.

The first day was the day of encounters. The floor was given to prof. Roza Valeyeva, Bernard Lathuillere, professor Barbara Smoliczka-Theiss and Edyta Januszewska, teachers and scientific workers at the Institute for Special Education in Warsaw (APS), both invited to the seminar as well. Roza Valeyeva made a presentation of her paper "A Child’s Happiness as the Goal of Up-Bringing in the Humanistic Pedagogy". Edyta Januszewska spoke on the topic "A Child-refugee in Polish schools based on the research". Bernard Lathuillère and Anya Savranskaya from Kursk told about their work and the Korczak activities in their country. In the evening after a very interesting excursion along the city we had a cordial meeting – the so called "svechka" (candle light) with the students – members of the Kazan Youth Korczak society "The Sun for Children". We spoke about the Korczak activities in Kazan, watched the slide-show about the work of students, sang all together wonderful songs.

18-03-2007 (sunday): visit to the orphanageThe second day was a very special one. Roza Valeyeva and the so-called ‘Korczak students’, active in the Korczak circle in Kazan, brought us to the children’s house, situated in the village Laishevo, one hour from Kazan.

Students of the Korczak group spend a lot of free time, almost every week, to give these children some happy hours (play, theatre, games, talks, etc.). The whole day we were invited to take part in different games and performances. All of us were impressed by the great enthusiasm and energy of these students.

The third and last day of the seminar was set aside for the lecture of Theo Cappon and Nastia Makhucha’s workshop. Theo explained the 4 basic needs in the process of upbringing and development, The need for belonging, the need for mastery, the need for independence (autonomy) and the need for generosity.

Workshops and meetings with the studentsNastia, immediate colleague and scientific co-worker of Roza Valeyeva, explored and discovered with the students (working in little groups) the preconditions of happiness in childhood. They presented and discussed the results.

At the end of the day we got a glimpse of the rehearsal for the yearly students presentations (Festival) of all the Kazan Faculties. Again so much involvement and enthusiasm.

Our days in Kazan were full of unexpected impressions. The concerts and ballet in the beautiful concert hall and opera house, walks in the old city with the fairy-like Kremlin with the white buildings and (still) white snow, contrasting with the colourful churches and the huge blue minarets of the mosque and last but not least, the great festive dinner in the big dacha of Roza and Agzam. Agzam, the alway energetic husband of Roza, prepared for us the unforgettable, extremely hot ‘banja’. We went to bed as little pink babies. Thanks to Roza, Agzam and Nastia and of course to all the students.

Theo Cappon

St Petersburg-Holland: a seminar for six schools

photos participantsOur colleague Micha Epshtein, director of the "Epischool" in Saint Petersburg and member of the Janusz Korczak Association in that city, invited the Dutch Janusz Korczak Association to start a project on school-reform for 5 schools, and the Jewish Centre for ‘after-school’-activities.

We had a two-days seminar with the 5 schools and the Jewish Centre to make an inventory of problems in school and education (age 11-14 years) and to find out the needs for change for the short and long term.

Two specialists in process management and team-training (Joop Berding and Henk Galenkamp, both also members of the Dutch Korczak Ass.) worked very intensive with the participants and the result was that each school and each teacher was eager to continue the process of transformation. The first step will be a mutual communication and exchange of experiences. Finally we hope to receive a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Holland (MATRA Foundation) to make a three-years project with these enthusiastic schools and the Jewish Centre in Saint Petersburg. We like to thank our hosts and friends in the cold (minus 18) but beautiful city of Saint Petersburg.

Theo Cappon

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FRANCE

A french tour in the russian JK associations

Rosa Valeyeva at desk, and with the korczakians studentsThe Russian Korczak movement is characterized by its dynamism and its vitality within the Korczak movement international. The young Korczakians are numerous, their projects and practise are very diversified, in work relation with the universities, on a long time, and always to the benefit of children and teenagers. In this vast country, each large city has its characteristic association, autonomous, with its own different activities.

Bernard Lathuillere, the co-president of the AFJK, made a visit to Korczak Associations of the towns of Kazan, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The report of his trip on the AFJK website is the fruit of its meetings with Roza Valeyeva and its students in Kazan around their international seminar, Elena Levina in Saint Petersburg with the team of the "Centre of tolerance" involved in the defence of the human rights, and Irina Demakova in Moscow with the young leaders in charge of a very korczakian summer camp.

At KAZAN, Tatarstan, the students of Roza animate a university association, The Kazan Youth Korczak Society, which received the price 2005 of the youth association the most appreciated in the country. In addition to the regular organization of training seminars about the thought of Korczak which attracts students of all Russia, most remarkable is undoubtedly its collaboration activates with two orphanages. The students are strongly involved and the project is mutually enriching through their Sunday monthly visit as a festive group, as so as their personal relations and their listening of the children.

At SAINT PETERSBURG, Korczak Association is organized in two parallel branches and complementary: - The one of Michaël Epshteinm which is centred on the pedagogical heritage of Korczak (see higher the report of its recent seminar with the Dutch colleagues); - And that of Elena Levina, the president founder of the association in 1990, now reprocessed, which opened an Cultural centre and data processing, the "Centre of Tolerance", centred on the formation with non-violence and the fight against the extremists and fascists ideas in dialogue with ONGs and humane associations.

At MOSCOW, association is represented by Irina Demakova, professor of pedagogy at the University which organizes regularly training seminars to teachers, like on last December 14, and the training seminars of the "Nash Dom" summer camp organizers. At the beginning of the creation of association in 1992, Irina and his students decided to create a summer korczakian camp on the edges of the Black Sea with handicapped children and children of various social conditions mixed, in the integrationist framework of a small korczakian republic. Since 14 years, with the  active partnership of the Dutch Korczak Association, the summer camp "Nash Dom" became a model project, now certainly one of the more new beautiful modern Korczak institutions ever created at the international level.

Bernard Lathuillere,
See the complete six pages report about the russian Korczak's associations

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THE NEDERLANDS

The 25th Dutch Janusz Korczak Association's birthday

The Korczak Association in the Netherlands celebrates her 25th anniversary on the 21th of April. It has been a meeting for all the Korczak friends and others interested people. The opening-lecture was presented by Prof. Luc Stevens, retired ortho-pedagogue of the University of Utrecht; he stressed the basic pedagogical paradigm: `Führen oder Wachsen Lassen` and Korczak`s answer to this dilemma. Kees Waaldijk, the first president and one of the founders of the Dutch Korczak Association brought an answer to the question the question: `Would you start a new Korczak Association at the beginning of the 21st century?`.

During the day three workshops or round-tables were presented:

  1. Reading Korczak`s texts
  2. How to tell stories to children?
  3. Cooperative learning in primary schools

The day ends with gipsy-music and a tasty buffet

Look at the picture on korczak.nl

Cooperation with the Alliance for childhood European Network

Logo EU Alliance Network

Since September 2006, there is a strong Cooperation between the Dutch Korczak Association and this European Network. We discussed the possibility to link the Janusz Korczak International Society and the Alliance for childhood European Network Group in Brussels. It can be an important way to bring notice of Janusz Korczak’s ideas to the European Parliament.

See the document in attachment call "summary-alliance.pdf" (or just clik on the link to get a 2 p. PDF 45 Ko), a short presentation of the project and its strategy, by Theo Cappon.

During the International Korczak Meeting in Mannheim, in October 2007, we will give a first report to all colleagues of our activities in the Alliance. During that meeting we can decide to continue this Cooperation.

More: The Alliance European Network Group site

News about our Korczak seminary project for Youth

The Dutch friends repeat their call for the Janusz Korczak International Youth Meeting 2007. Remember you can find information and the pre-inscription form on the newsletter n° 21 (i.e just by clicking here).

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ENGLAND

Prince Charles discovered Korczak visiting the exhibition in London

The Jewish Museum entranceOn 13th February 2007, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Jewish Museum in London today to celebrate the organisation’s 75th birthday. Their Royal Highnesses listened intently as Sandra Joseph (a member of the UK-Korczak Group) talked them through the 'Champion of the Child - Janusz Korczak' exhibition which tells the inspiring story of a pioneering Polish Jewish doctor, writer and educator who was a leading advocate for children’s rights and devoted himself to their needs and plight, regardless of nationality and religion, as it is excellently described on the site of these majestic visitors.

The exhibition had been presented at the London public between on December 5 and on April 8. Joop Berding and his daughter have seen it for us, as you could read it in the preceding one newsletter.

More: The Prince of Wales complete report!

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News about IKA and calendar

Mrs. Batia Gilad, the new president of IKA, begins her consultations about the project of refoundation. She made a seven days trip in Warsaw where she met some key persons and sent a first report and questions to the all the Korczak associations. The drafting of new statutes, the address of the new registered office, the future of the historical institutions, such Nasz Dom in Warsaw, the problems of financing and organization are currently under discussion. A precise census of associations members and their activities were engaged for the first time.

On the level of the Korczakian activities, the calendar is as follows, the worldwide Korczak’s events calendar is as follows:

2008 will be the 30th anniversary of the IKA and the 130th anniversary of Korczak’s birth. Batia Gilad suggests to inform her about various events which could be organized here or there, with an aim of trying to synchronize them and facilitate their publicity with the help of the website.

 

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Photos © AFJK, JKSN and Timur Valeyeva (students and children pictures)

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