Korczak Day at Columbia University in New York City
The Columbia University East Central European Center, the Polish Cultural Institute, and Janusz Korczak Association of USA organized a whole day Korczak event at Columbia University on November 9th, 2018. This event coincided with the publication of a new, two-volume edition of Janusz Korczak’s works in English. For more information visit the Harriman Institute website by clicking here.
First time in the USA:
A Korczak-Inspired Conference for Educators in Seattle, WA
2018 International Conference on Education for Excellence, Diversity, and Respect, inspired by Janusz Korczak took place on August 22-25, 2018, at Seattle Pacific University. 130+ people attended the conference and we listened close to 100 presenters from all continents. To learn more about the conference, click here.
At the conference, we celebrated old and new friends who have contributed to the work of Korczak in the world. To learn who received an award, click here.
At the opening of the conference, Mariola Strahlberg honored the people who inspired and were involved in the creation of the Korczak USA with a presentation Past, Present, Future. To see the PowerPoint version of her presentation, click here.
Brian Hull, the master puppeteer, with 3 other puppeteers brought to us a wonderful show Kaytek the Wizard (a highlight of the conference for many of us). To read about Brian’s experience at the conference, click here.
Michał Kozień from the Korczakowo Camp in Poland presented the wonderful activities from the camp, and encouraged us to bring the teenagers from the U.S. to the camp next summer. To learn what Michał Kozień had to say about his experience at the conference, click here.
Mariola Spoke at the AERO Conference, Long Island University, NY
For the second time, Mariola Strahlberg was invited to speak at the AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) conference at the Long Island University Post Campus on June 29, 2018. This year’s conference, celebrating the AERO’s 30 years of service, was titled “Back to Our Roots: The Spectrum of Democratic Education”. For the first time in the U.S., we met Henry Readhead, a teacher at Summerhill in England, a graduate of Summerhill, and a grandson of its founder A.S. Neill. His mother, Zoe is the current Headmaster of the school, which will be celebrating its centennial next year. We also listened to live stream from Sir Ken Robinson, a renowned author, educator, and speaker, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, and many other great speakers.
I presented a talk entitled “Mind-Body-Spirit Youth Health Janusz Korczak’s Way”. Using Mind-Body-Spirit in my title was risky but paid off greatly. Few people told me before the talk that they are coming specifically because of seeing the title. Through Korczak’s life story, and steps in his personal development that lead to 30 years of co-directorship of two democratic orphanages in Warsaw, Poland, attendees learned about his progressive ideas. I informed them where in the world and how these ideas are alive for the past 75 years, and how through my book Five Star Program® they are giving voice to children in their classrooms and homes.
Here is what two of the attendees wrote to me after attending my talk:
“Thank you so much for your workshop and for the book! I really appreciate what you are doing and can’t wait to implement your program in our school!!” ~Bethany S.
“It’s an honor to meet you. Your presentation moved me. When I come back to China, I will introduce this wonderful man to my students. I like the sentence “Know yourself so that you do not take advantage of a defenseless child”. The more information I read, the more I love him. The Brain Gym® also inspired me. I never thought to bring the movement into class as a routine. Thanks for your sharing.” ~ Yan
To listen to Mariola’s presentation, click here.
Mikhail Epstein’s Book Salon in NYC
On April 21, 2018, Mikhail Epstein organized in New York City a Book Salon of the King Matt for 40 schoolchildren and their favorite adults. Everybody got acquainted with Korczak’s books, and together with their heroes allowed themselves to dream a little. At the College of Staten Island School of Education, Epstein organized an exhibit titled “Yearning for a Better Life” with photos by Galina Zernina, based on “Letters to Eretz Israel by Janusz Korczak”, and paintings by Itzchar Belfer.
Five Star Program® Presented at the Special Education Department of the East Ramapo School District Rockland County, NY
In the spring, Mariola Strahlberg introduced Five Star Program® (based on Korczak’s ideas) to the Special Education Department (35+ teachers and aids) at the East Ramapo School District Rockland County, NY. She also observed and provided individual instructions to six special education classes. Both teachers and students loved the program, and would like to continue the program in the next school year.
Korczak’s play 10 Matchboxes at the Hackensack Polish School, NJ
Together with Cesare Ciaglo, Mariola performed Korczak’s play 10 Matchboxes in Polish at the Hackensack Polish School in New Jersey. The play was followed by the discussion about the children’s rights and responsibilities. Each of the 75 students committed to one new home or school responsibility, wrote about it, and informed others about it by leaving it on a new bulletin board in one of the corridors.
Nature Day Camp at the Harriman Outdoor Center in Haverstraw, NY
During the summer, over 170 campers from the Nature Day Camp from Chestnut Ridge, NY, came in groups to the Harriman Outdoor Center in Haverstraw, NY, walked 2.1 miles long orienteering trail around Breakneck Pond, and learned about the children’s rights.
Korczak-inspired Poetry by Eighth Graders in Spokane, WA
Julie Scott, the advanced Grade Eight language arts teacher in Spokane, WA, had another successful year teaching Holocaust block using Korczak’s biography. Here is one of the poems from this year’s collection.
Korczak Spirit Award at the Religious School at Temple Emanuel, Cherry Hill, NJ
As has been their tradition for many years, Dr. Kurt Bomze and his wife Nadine, presented the Korczak Spirit Award to a graduating senior from the Religious School at Temple Emanuel, Cherry Hill, NJ, who best exemplifies Janusz Korczak’s spirit in his/her endeavors to volunteer with the younger children in the school. Seniors are also required to write a short essay–after reading Sandra Joseph’s book How to Love a Child–on how Korczak has influenced them. This year’s winner was Hailey Weinberger.
Kurt is handing Hailey a copy of Sandra Joseph’s book with a cash award. His wife Nadine is second from the right.