Since 2007, 'Linguists' have worked with the Centre for Children without Parental Care 'Bjelave' on providing the children with additional English language lessons, a project financed by 'Centar' Municipality. Every year, since 2007, the children have fun learning English - the younger ones during a summer course, and the older ones during the school term. Since 2012, we’ve also been giving German lessons.
We believe learning foreign languages is crucial to achieving success in school, at work and life in general. English is irreplaceable in modern-day communication and learning foreign languages has been proven to enhance communication and is a good way to get to know oneself as well as other people. Children find it easier and more entertaining to learn languages in smaller groups, outside of the classroom, because formal education is constrained by school materials and teaching methods.
While working with the children, we realized they also needed help with other subjects. So in 2011, we implemented the project Facilitated Learning: extra-curriculum classes for the children from Bjelave Centre, financed by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in BiH. Children aged 6-10 attended lessons in mathematics, physics, chemistry, BCS language, English, German.
The primary long-term aim of the project is to raise children's awareness on the importance of knowledge and the opportunities that lie before them. We wish to encourage the children and motivate them to think about their future. The idea was to help them cover the material they learn at school and then encourage them to look at the process of acquiring knowledge from a different point of view. We wanted them to realize the importance of questioning things and looking for answers. Facilitated learning should be an integral part of their growing up and getting to know the world around them.
We tried to provide a certain level of safety and assistance in learning that children usually get at home from their parents and/or brothers and sisters.
Funds from the project also enabled us to buy basic classroom equipment, such as a large table and chairs suitable for more informal tutoring. We also provided a computer and a projector which helped us maintain children's attention and interest.
Another important component of the project is giving young teachers the opportunity to get job experience. Following an open call, we selected twelve teachers. Most of them had no prior experience, so working with children from Bjelave turned out to be an excellent and challenging start to their teaching careers.
We continued the project in 2013/2014 thanks to funds provided by the United States Embassy in BiH. Children aged 10-14 attended classes in their mother tongue, English, German, mathematics and physics. In addition to helping them go over their school, the aim of the project was to motivate children to read more. So we set up a library at the Centre.