2018 International Conference on Education (Korczak inspired)
August 22-25, 2018 – Seattle Pacific University will be the sight of the first ever Korczak inspired International Conference on Education in the USA.
Prof. Tatyana Spady is working with the Seattle Pacific University and Korczak Association of the USA to bring together educators from US, Europe and Far East. The title for the conference is: Education for Excellence, Diversity, and Respect: Transformative 21st Century Innovations. Click here to read more.
2017 International Korczak Association (IKA) Conference
Joyce Reilly, Marcia Talmage Schneider, Efrat Efron, Tatyana Tsyrulina, and Mariola Strahlberg attended a very special congress/conference at the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland, September 13-16, 2017.
Here is what Marcia wanted to share with you about it:
Mostly it was amazing! I was blown away at the number of persons who attended The 8th International Korczak Conference/The 3rd International Congress of Children’s Rights, and the numerous and varied lectures. Everybody was interested in Janusz Korczak! There were simultaneous translation of English and Polish for all the lectures and individual translations at the workshops. The event was held in the Polin Museum of Warsaw, Poland. This new museum is commemorating the thousand year history of Jews in Poland. About 670 people attended, coming from many corners of the world, among them from Poland, Canada, United States, Israel, Ukraine, Kazan, Switzerland, Australia, to name just a few. The International Korczak Association has now 17 countries, the newest being Tunisia, which was represented by two delegates, and was voted into the organization on September 16th. Most of the people at the conference are involved in education/pedagogy, Korczak’s methodology, and children’s rights. There were few ombudsmen, among then one from the Polish Parliament, Canada, Lithuania, Hungary, and Belgium, who represented Children’s Rights, something that Korczak wrote about and held very high in 1920’s. The representatives from the UN and the European Parliament were also present. Many young leaders from Poland came as well, the next generation, who work daily to promote participation of young people in the adults’ world in the spirit of Korczak. The office of the Ombudsman of Children’s Rights in Poland spent a good deal of money on this conference as they hold Korczak to be one of their national heroes. We were wined and dined and treated to a plethora of lectures and workshops given during the four days: Children’s Rights; Philosophy, Pedagogy, and Practice; History and Remembrance; and The Rights of the Child; a future perspective. Our own Mariola Strahlberg, Efrat Efron, and Tatyana Tsyrulina gave talks during the workshops, and their talks were well received. What a thrill to meet in person those Facebook friends, who are part of the Korczak Internet group, and sons and daughters of orphans from Orphans Home and Our Home. The guided tour in the footsteps of Korczak around Warsaw and the visit to Polin Museum added to the already rich experience. It was very special to interact on a personal basis with so many people who love Korczak, his ideas, and ways with children! Indeed many who truly believe in Korczak’s words: “You cannot leave the world as it is.”
Mariola Strahlberg’s Presentation at the IKA Conference, 2017
Mariola Strahlberg presented a paper about Shining Mountain’s Enrichment Program at the International Korczak Association Conference on September 15, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland entitled: “Enriching Lives of Immigrant Children in the Spirit of Janusz Korczak”. Click here to read the article.
Exhibit: Life and Work of Dr. Janusz Korczak, 2017
Exhibit of 14 posters, depicting Life and Work of Dr. Janusz Korczak, was on view at the Finkelstein Library in Spring Valley, NY, June 12 – August 24, 2017. Mariola Strahlberg gave a talk about Dr. Korczak and his pedagogical ideas that very needed in our times. She was joined by Irving Roth, the head of the Holocaust Center of Temple Judea of Manhasset, Long Island, NY. The center has a separate exhibit about life and sacrifice of Janusz Korczak. Mr. Roth is also the sculptor of a large outdoor sculpture of Korczak and His Children.
Click on the image to see a beautiful introduction video.
Shining Mountain Enrichment Program, 2017
From September 2016 to May 2017, we ran our after school Enrichment program, in the spirit of Janusz Korczak, for children pre-K through middle school. The program provides reading and math skill enhancements, arts and crafts, culture, educational games, movement etc. Currently, we are up to 10 regular volunteers, and have received many wonderful donations of school supplies, books, art supplies, and educational games. Each day the children can’t wait to come up to our room, which is warm and inviting and filled with such beautiful materials. We also provide healthy snacks that the volunteers do on their own, because we noticed in the beginning that many of the children were hungry.
Some favorite activities are finger knitting, lacing, pick up sticks, checkers, connect 4, dominos, blocks, and, of course, each week we have an art or cultural project based on a holiday or season. Some favorites were gingerbread men, Chinese lanterns, cutout snowflakes, bath salts, Ukranian Pysanky egg decorating.
The program ended with a beautiful celebration on May 24th for the children, their parents, library staff, and Shining Mountain volunteers. We were honored by the visit from two Rockland County officials, honorable Ed Day and Alden Wolfe. Children delighted in the musical entertainment with Paul Finbow and a magic show with Cesare Ciaglo.
On May 9, 2017, Mariola Strahlberg was invited to give a keynote address at the Siegelbaum Competition Award Ceremony at the Rockland County’s Holocaust Center honoring the outstanding art and literary submission by this year’s 15 competition winners. The 2017 competition’s theme was “The Power of the Immigrant Story”. Over 170 students from 30 NY/NJ middle schools and high schools participated in the event.
Our Korczak Program in the Mahwah Polish School ended in April 2017 with two sessions for high school students and 4th – 5th graders. At the lower school, Mariola used Blumka’s Diary (Pamiętnik Blumki). Children chose one orphan from the book and wrote letters to them after learning the story about each orphan.
In April 2017, we concluded our presentations to the two 3rd grade classes at the Hamilton Elementary School in Glen Rock, NJ. Children used the Five Star Program® during the 2016-2017 school year. Here is what the principal shared with us: After using the Five Star Program®, the children and teachers have found value in taking time every day for mindful moments and brain breaks. Teachers continue to use the strategies they’ve learned with Mariola with their new classes and find that students benefit from spending a few minutes each day for this work. Students approach difficult tasks using a growth mindset and are able to manage stress levels better using the strategies from this program.”
Marcia Talmage Schneider Honored by Ansche Hesed in Manhattan
On February 4, 2017, Marcia was honored at her synagogue, Ansche Hesed on Upper Westside of Manhattan, where she has been an active member for 24 years. She taught Hebrew reading to adults for several years, co-chaired education committee, was involved in the summer program of “Scribblers on the Roof” where authors gave book talks and read from their new works, and together with her husband volunteered at the Homeless Shelter housed at the synagogue.
But her claim to fame is that she is the “Sticker Lady”: she is handing out stickers, she buys in Israel, to children who attend the services. The children are delighted, and it almost seems that they grow a few inches with happiness from this. Marcia loves children, just as Korczak. In her speech, she said: “I wrote my book, Janusz Korczak: Sculptor of Children’s Souls, in the hope that we can all learn from Korczak’s magical humanism and fulfill his dream of making a BETTER WORLD with LOVE AND RESPECT by being true Ansche Chesed, pursuers of truth and justice”.
Enriching Lives of Children in Florida
Dr. Bomze presented Korczak’s life and teachings to principals of the Education Council of Jewish Schools in the Greater Palm Beaches. According to the Senior Director, Lynn Lieberman, the talks inspired the educators to develop programs for their schools. He also showed Wajda’s film “Korczak” in its entirety to an audience attending the Academy for Continuing Education at the JCC in Boynton Beach. This program included pre- and post-film discussions. At the Baldwin Prep, a charter school in North Palm Beach, Dr. Bomze and his wife, Nadine, did a program with reading to the children a story about Janusz Korczak, discussing children’s rights, and then making kites, that were decorated with each child’s favorite rights. Under the direction of Eileen Shapiro, the former director of Holocaust education of the Palm Beach School System, the pupils were able to fly the kites in the courtyard.
2016 International Korczak Association (IKA) Conference
This year’s annual conference took place in Holland, October 12-October 15. The title of the conference was “Trust as the Foundation of Emotional Safety”. Tatyana Tsyrlina-Spady, Board Member of the Korczak Association USA attended the conference, and can share with you the materials. Read her article in the Spring Summer 2017 issue of our newsletter.
2016 International Brain Gym® Conference
This year’s annual conference took place June 23-June 26 in Portland, Maine. The title for the 2016 conference was Port of Potential. Mariola gave a talk on “How to Love a Child”. The Take a Break Area from the Five Star Program® was of great interest to many international attendees. To learn more visit the Educational Kinesiology Foundation website at http://www.edukconference.org.
Board Member writes Essay, 2016
In 2016, Professor Sara Efrat Efron, wrote an essay about Dr. Korczak for the PRISM Journal. PRISM is an interdisciplinary peer reviewed journal for Holocaust educators. Her essay, pages 18-23, titled Janusz Korczak Educator: Teaching Humanity in the Face of Evil, contains illustrations from Tomek Bogacki’s Champion of Children book and Daniel Berek’s private Dr. Korczak’s collection.
Our Founder’s book gets Published, 2016
“The Five Star Program®-A Step-by-Step Teacher’s Guide to Innovative Classroom Strategies that Awaken Students’ Unique Potential” has been published and is available at Createspace and Amazon. Our founder, Mariola Strahlberg created a simple five-step process to help students improve their academic performance, manage stress, and foster a positive attitude towards learning. The program has been used for many years in local schools, summer camps, after school programs and in Mariola’s private practice. To learn more visit Five Star Program®.
Korczak USA involved in Polish Saturday School, 2016
Since April 2015, Mariola has been working with a Polish Saturday School in Mahwah, NJ to introduce children to the teachings of Korczak, life in the orphanage, the idea of children’s rights and the Five-Star Program. Click here to read more.
Polish Consulate in NYC involved in Korczak, 2015
In July 2015, Mariola met with the Consul General Urszula Gacek and Vice Consul Alicja Tunk at the Polish Consulate in NYC and together they developed a plan for future collaborations. Click here to read more.
CATS Conference, Caux, Switzerland, July 27-August 2, 2015
In 2015, Mariola brought along Erin Schirm and Nick VanSant to participate and present at the CATS conference. Both of them have been long time supporters of JKA-USA and have been working with youth in their professional lives. Click here to read more.
Bergen County Jewish Community Center Training, 2015
In June 2015, Mariola held a training session for the summer camp staff on the Five Star Program™ at the JCC in Washington Township NJ. For the past 7 years she has been bringing her five star ideas to the staff who works with autistic children. The counselors found cross lateral movements, PACE music and relaxation exercises helpful for calming the participants.
Five Star Program® helps Children, 2015
In May 2015, Mariola and 6 volunteers completed their involvement in the after school homework help program at the Spring Valley Public Library of NY for the 2014/15 school year. Click here to read more.
2015 Marcia Talmage Schneider’s Book is out!
On June 9th 2015, the publication of her book Janusz Korczak: Sculptor of Children’s Souls was celebrated at Congregation of Ansche Chesed in New York City. Members of our board attended. Click here to read more and see this article.
Alexander Hamilton Elementary School Donates to our Cause, 2015
In June 2015 – The Hamilton Elementary School in Glen Rock, NJ held a fundraiser to collect materials needed for the Homework Help program in Spring Valley NY. They collected much needed basic school supplies, educational games, books and many other wonderful items to benefit the children of the East Ramapo NY School District who participate in the program. Click here to read more.
“Lacing up for Freedom Walkathon”, 2015
In May 2015 we participated in a walkathon at Ridgewood Duck Pond for Durga Tree International, Inc. They are a NJ based non-profit who raise money for several grassroots organizations working to end modern day slavery of children. Click here to read more or visit them at Durgatreeinternational.com.
Exhibit: Janusz Korczak Educational Moments, 2014
During March and April of 2014, Finkelstein Library in Spring Valley, NY, hosted the Korczak USA exhibit entitled “Janusz Korczak – Educational Moments”. This exhibit contains 14 posters depicting the life in the orphanage and the story of Janusz Korczak and Stefa Wilczynska . The exhibit closed on Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 27, and was marked by several special activities. Click here to read more…
Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2014
On April 27, 2014, JKA-USA staff held a ceremony at the Finkelstein Library in Spring Valley, NY in cooperation with Library personnel. The event was well attended by more than 50 people. Activities included a reading of Korczak story, an art project for children, prayers and music. Click here to read more.
Tribute To Korczakowo Camp Founder Jerzy Zgodzinski, 2014
Jerzy Zgodzinski, the founder of Korczakowo and beloved “Chief” to his students who called themselves “Korczakians”, died on June 22 just one week before the 2014 Camp’s opening. The camp, located in an unpolluted forest in Poland, is based on the teachings of Korczak. Click here to read more.
Butterfly Memorial for Korczak and Zgodzinski, 2014
In August 2014, during the Korczakowo Camp session, one day was dedicated to creating butterflies symbolizing peace, love and children’s rights. The butterflies were displayed to pay tribute to Korczak and the camp’s founder, Jerzy Zgodzinski who died suddenly just before the camp was to begin. Click here to read more.
Summer at Korczakowo and CATS Conference, 2013
Shining Mountain Center for Peaceful Childhood, the Janusz Korczak Association of the USA and many generous donors, sponsored a wonderful summer experience for four young Americans to attend Korczakowo Camp in Poland and the International CATS youth conference in Caux, Switzerland…. Click here to read more.