Modern children, as products of consumer society, are difficult to handle and educate. Most parents are frustrated about their upbringing methods which do not work. Media, social networks and computer games seem to have taken over the role of family and school. The education became a rat race. Everyone speaks about the crisis of the education system. Desperate parents in many countries set up private schools or switch to homeschooling. What is the best option for the future?
As a mother of a little girl I started asking myself about the proper school for her. We live in Austria where one can find a range of state schools, classical private or alternative schools, as well as homeschooling. However my understanding of education was not covered by any of these. Something essential was missing in all of them.
One year ago I learned about one outstanding boarding school in Russia which seemed to fulfill my ideal and this year, together with my husband we went there to check it out.
The School lies on the shore of the Black sea in the very South of Russia. We came in July and found the School full of children studying as if it was not a holidays time. „We take holidays whenever we want“ – was the reply of a student. Besides, we have met many children who came for the entry selection. We asked one mother, why her daughter wanted to study in the School. The answer was: „To become a true human being“. That was the answer I was looking for!
(NOTE to images: ALL buildings are constructed and decorated by the school students alone)
But we will come back to that later. First some hard facts and first impressions:
- It’s a boarding school for he children of 12-18 years, one can start at any age of this period.
- After the first year of studies many children pass secondary school graduation exams (standard Russian Federation state exams), some after two years, depending on their abilities.
- Normally after that many children choose to stay in the school and continue with distant studies in some of russian Universities or colleges. By the age of 18 a teenager has one or two University degrees.
- The day starts at 5.30 and ends at 9 p.m. In between they study, built houses, do artistic painting and handicrafts, sing a capella in 8 voices, do martial arts and dance professionally folks dances, cook their meals, do administrative work and write their own text books. In the evening they always take one hour to reflect on the day and their relationships with each other and with the world.
- All the school facilities including study spaces, auditorium, administrative office, cooking facilities, dining room, toilets, shower rooms, boarding rooms and all others are designed and built by the students. Above all, their works are full of grace and beauty reflecting the inner nature and outer skills of the students and the excellent quality of the school activities.
- Once in a week they have politics as a subject where they watch important news, analyse and discuss all what is happening in the world.
- Children do have smartphones at school, which they use for getting quick information on the subjects they are working on. For TV and games there is neither desire no time.
- All the students have amazingly straight and dignified posture, and impress with their beautiful Russian language. Their communication with eath other and school guests is admirable: so full of friendliness and respect as one rare can find in modern teenagers. They are attentive and caring.
- The way of studying needs another article, it’s a fascinating and huge topic. I can only note that the core principles are Systematisation and Integration of all subjects. A child learns how to get the essence of a subject, how to find the interconnections with another subjects and how to see the world as a complex interdependent System. They learn how to discover the macrocosm in microcosm. They learn how to see the Oneness.
- Another thing which strikes is the combination of discipline and flexibility – to the extent I have never experienced anywhere. Again, it’s a topic for another big article.
- Dress code: The girls choose themselves not to wear short skirts or cosmetics. Knee-long-skirts and dresses are main female wear. No jeans, sport trousers only for sports. Boys mostly wear shirts. Military style for martial arts.
- The children are keen on studying at any time of a day! I gave some German classes at 7 p.m. and their attention and interest was still fresh (think that they get up at 5.30 a.m.).
- Delivering such amazing results the children remain very humble.
- The lycee school comes under the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Education. It charges no tuition fees. Even though the school does not advertise itself, it has no vacancies.
- There are some students at the school from various nations or with different religious backgrounds.
- While in the school the students are highly concentrated in the study of school subjects and it is also clearly observed that their minds are being developed keenly and no less than that, their spirits are cultivated cleanly and their bodies are being well trained by various physical exercises. Here, Mind-Body-Spirit Synthesis and Cultivation is being fulfilled beautifully. Human Evolution -Past, Present and Future are being investigated deeply at the school and the students are fully willing to contribute to the human evolution towards the future.