A REVIEW OF THE EDUCATIONAL APPROACH WITH CHILDREN IN ZASCHITA - LOVE'S BRIDGE
A student called Roman, from the Psychological faculty of the Perm State University, did an internship in our organization. He wrote a wonderful review about this experience and we decided to share it with you.
Written by Roman: “The first thing I would like to bring to your attention in my review is the professionalism of the staff in the center, their skills and tact with the children. I was very surprised by their ability to transform teenage aggression into constructive activism. I can definitely say that I have much to learn from the pedagogues of Zaschita! In this article I will try to tell you in details about these methods when working with teenage aggression and children at risk.
The foundation demonstrates successful work with teenagers since many years. Their methods of analysis, individual approach and organizing events for teenage rehabilitation show impressive results. Considering the fact that every child has their own personality traits, the work of the center is based exactly on the analysis of the problem that the child faces. However, the main program is prepared advance.
I had the opportunity to attend team meetings and take part in the lessons with children. Each lesson is usually divided into several parts: greetings, warm-up in the form of a game, a short lecture carried out by the pedagogue on a certain topic, group work and then individual tasks. Then, there is a tea party where all the participants say what they liked or disliked. This way of organizing the lesson is very effective and shows a good results in social skills development.
The next meeting, I visited was a bit different. It’s another format. Children organize the main activities by themselves. They play games to warm up, they run the meeting and group discussions. What surprised for me during this lesson was the desire of children to help the teachers and other staff. At the end of these meetings children write notes with questions that they have and put them into a bowl. In a circle the child in charge takes a note and begins the discussion where everyone can express their own opinion. Questions can be very complicated, covering topics that are not normally discussed in society. That is why the first thing that the pedagogues showed me is the example of openness and total honesty in answering these questions.
Apart from these meetings in the center, the staff of Zaschita organizes trips and outings together with the kids and their parents. These outside events are always welcomed by children with admiration. They often make their suggestions about what to do for the next trip.
I took part in one of these outings and was very impressed! We visited Polasna, a tourist center. Children, parents, staff and volunteers we were provided with a bus for this outing. The tourist center’s staff helped with organising the visit. There was a place for picnic, excursions, entertainment events, training with the parents where they could ask questions and also have a warm dinner. Then everybody went home with the same bus. Everything was very well organized and the trip left only positive impressions!
The main aim of the center is to bring children necessary social skills for life: good relations and friendship within the family, behavioral rules among peers, relations with the opposite sex, the ability to accept themselves, to respect each other, the value of their words, how harmful bad habits can be and the planning of their free time. The pedagogues teach how to cope with insecurities and shyness, to be polite and try to be self-sufficient and well-educated. Even basic skills of greeting and farewell usually need to be explained to the children! Here the staff pays special attention to social skills that are often forgotten in our everyday life, but are extremely necessary, especially for teenagers.
In conclusion I would say that in general, Zaschita showed me the essence of working with children at risk. The discussion of lesson planning taught me to pay attention to details when organizing meetings with children. And of course, their work methods – an individual approach and an attentive attitude to the group – were very important for me to observe!
Above I described the positive aspects of the work of center. Now I would like to comment on the negative ones.
Due to the fact that the majority of children live without their fathers, they don’t have certain social skills, and, unfortunately, they aren’t able to obtain them. The staff of the center have only women and it doesn’t fully correspond to the requirements of working with children. Also, I paid attention to the equipment of the center: in the main room there is no furniture of high quality and no stationery. Sometimes, there are problems with the hot water supply that cause difficulties in organizing lessons.
After having visited the center, I have kept a good impression. I am grateful for the opportunity of taking part and to have taught lessons as a volunteer. I hope that I will visit again soon!