Projects in Central/Eastern Europe
The Village Project Inc. is a US registered non-profit NGO. The directors of the organization, Amy Shuffelton and Noah Sobe, first began our work in Poland in 1994 and spent 18 months running after school Village programs with children in Krakow, where we also worked in the schools as full-time teachers. Our project grew out of a Village summer camp in New Hampshire; we were curious, after observing New Hampshire children elect selectpeople and run orderly town meetings summer after summer, what children from a very different culture would do with Village. In Kraków, we discovered, children wanted little to do with government. They wanted to build their houses and make money in Village businesses, leaving civic matters for someone else, a finding that Polish adults were unhappy with as we were, though less surprised by. After looking for non-authoritarian ways to engage children in the government of their towns (the one decision we found ourselves unwilling to accept was their decision to make no decisions), we finally found that children would make laws to protect their property at Village, and government stemmed from that.
This interested Polish educators looking for ways to democratize schools and schooling. The current structure of the public education system, of schools, the culture of classrooms, and teaching methods all contribute to children thinking that civic life is best avoided. The Educational Society for Malopolska, a local NGO based in the town of Nowy Sacz, asked us to offer a training workshop for teachers, and we began with a workshop in August 1996, which was made possible by funding from the Open Society Institute and several Polish foundations. Since 1996 we have regularly offered workshops for teachers in Poland or Slovakia. The results, for both teachers and students, are impressive. Students are exploring complex issues of self-government through a project they feel ownership over. School principals are following the programs with interest, and Village is attracting the attention of local education ministry officials. An exciting momentum is building as the teachers that we have worked with are now taking the initiative to get media coverage and expand Village in their schools. With these successes we began expanding into other areas of Eastern/Central Europe.
in Central/Eastern Europe
Activities at Present
|For more information please contact
Noah W. Sobe, President or Amy B. Shuffelton, Vice-President.
The Village Project Inc.
Telephone +1 773-262-4551
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Page Last Updated January 20, 2006