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.

Experienced educators Dr. Ján Hlavinka and Michala Loníčková from the Holocaust Documentation Center Bratislava, affiliated with ESJF’s Slovak partner UZZNO – the Jewish Community of Slovakia, gave lectures on Jewish history of the region. Students learned about the Jewish life cycle, reading dates in Hebrew, allowing them to engage with Jewish cemeteries themselves. Guided visits to the cemetery sites followed. A specially created worksheet guided the students to explore the site on their own and in groups through participatory learning.

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

ESJF education projects are integrated as much as possible within 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 students’ knowledge and interests, in order to fortify the learning outcomes and facilitate engagement. .

The cemeteries visited by the students can differ significantly in their accessibility, physical condition, and features. This means that ESJF educational projects must take into account regional specificities for effective educational outreach. Following the conclusion of the educational projects in Slovakia, ESJF is now evaluating feedback from teachers and students  in order to improve our educational strategy, encouraging the next generation to preserve their cultural heritage.

Photos: educational projects in Prešov, Bardejov and Snina.

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