On Friday, 29th July, the first series of the JUST DILIJAN IT! educational summer programme wrapped up on the UWC Dilijan college campus.
“The first pilot programme of innovative educational courses went very well. Our experimental interdisciplinary programmes offered something unique for everybody, and brought together children of different ages, social groups and countries,” said Andrey Khodzhikyan, project director. “Edutainment and the chance for children to choose something that suited them from a wide variety of activities were what made JUST DILIJAN IT! Special.”
Almost 200 participants, aged 10-17, from Armenia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the USA took part in the programmes. They had lessons with experienced teachers and facilitators, as well as received master-classes from well-known experts and international programme designers.
A number of participants were able to attend the summer programmes thanks to available grants. Twelve children from Armenia and Artsakh received grants from the Scholae Mundi Armenia (SMA) and the Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) foundations. Three additional grants were provided to children from Masis, Armenia, by the Adibekyan Family Foundation for Advancement (AFFA) and the Foundation for the Development of Masis.
“We wanted to create an atmosphere where the children really enjoyed what was going on, and were able to make their own choices, whether in group sessions, project work or creative workshops. This offered the chance to unlock the full potential of the kids. We are delighted that both the children and their parents enjoyed JUST DILIJAN IT!,” said program director Oleg Dremov.
The summer series consisted of the following educational programmes:
“Sherlock Holmes and the Guardians of the Planet” was led by Alina Koliovska, ecologist and director of the Centre for Resource Conservation in Moscow. “The Ancient Greek Theatre” was directed by Galina Yuzefovich, co-founder of the ArtWeekend children’s educational project, art and design teacher Natalia Shevchenko, and Vahan Badalyan, founder and director of Yerevan’s “Small” Theatre. “The City and Its Citizens” was organized by Petr Mazaev, director of the Laboratory of Cultural Projects and author Linor Goralik. There were also the “Sports Academy” and the “Design the World” programmes, organised in conjunction with TUMO, as well as the “UWC Summer Academy” programme in collaboration with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. The children were fascinated by the master-classes held by science populariser Ilya Kolmanovsky, director of the biology laboratory at the Polytechnic Museum Moscow, called “Why don’t birds fall out of the sky?” and “Animal Superpowers”.
Over the six weeks of the JUST DILIJAN IT! summer programme, thanks to the excellent coordination of the experienced facilitators, the children improved their swimming, football, tennis and chess, mastered different drawing techniques and crafting from recycled materials (such as wire, foil and paper), made films and cartoons, learned about the art of photography and even learned basic circus skills.
The children put together skits and dances, sewed costumes and dresses, and took part in musical theatre, where they used everyday objects to make music. They studied English and Armenian, and attended expert lectures on urban studies, fashion, and the world around us.
“The Ancient Greek Theatre” ended with a performance of the Greek tragedy “Antigone”, and the participants of the “The City and Its Citizens” program organised a festival about urban studies called “Impulse” for the residents of Dilijan. Dilijan’s inhabitants were also entertained by the robots, dancing, soap bubbles and games, which allowed the citizens to become engaged in the urban planning and life of their own city.
JUST DILIJAN IT! is a series of innovative educational programmes for groups of children and teenagers aged 10-13 and 14-17, based on original and creative teaching methods. The programmes are organised by Scholae Mundi Armenia, which also founded the UWC Dilijan College.
The winter series of JUST DILIJAN IT! educational programmes will take place over the New Year and Christmas holidays.