November 8, 2019

Educational outreach in Slovakia coming to a close

ESJF’s educational projects in Slovakia are wrapping up. The projects, carried out with secondary school students in seven eastern Slovakian schools, have piloted ESJF’s educational activity in the country, serving as the basis for future heritage education. They reached almost 200 students from different schools across the country.

Dr. Ján Hlavinka and Michala Lônčíková, experienced educators from the Holocaust Documentation Center in Bratislava, which is affiliated with ESJF’s Slovak partner UZZNO – the Jewish Community of Slovakia, gave lectures on the Jewish history of the region. Students learned about the Jewish life cycle and how to read dates in Hebrew, allowing them to engage with Jewish cemeteries themselves. This was followed by guided visits to the cemetery. A specially created worksheet encouraged participatory learning, allowing the students to explore the site on their own.

Almost 200 students participated in the ESJF educational projects, which took place across seven schools in Hummené, Medzilaborce, Snina, Bardejov, and Prešov. A teacher training seminar held in mid-September gave educators a greater understanding of the methodological and pedagogical foundations of Jewish-related education. Participants will now be able to tailor these resources to their individual teaching styles.

ESJF education projects are integrated as much as possible with local institutions and structures. In Humenné, a representative of the Jewish community joined the group of students, sharing his first-hand experience of Jewish life in the town. By cooperating with teachers, ESJF’s educational projects are linked to the curriculum and are built around the knowledge and interests of the students, in order to facilitate engagement and consolidate learning outcomes.

The cemeteries visited by the students can differ significantly in their accessibility, condition, and features. This means that the ESJF must take the characteristics of each region into account when designing the outreach projects, in order to ensure the information is imparted constructively. Now that the initial projects in Slovakia have come to an end, ESJF is evaluating feedback from teachers and students, with the aim of improving our educational strategy and more effectively encouraging the next generation to preserve their cultural heritage.

Photos: educational projects in Prešov, Bardejov and Snina.

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