Once Upon a Time: a Fairy Tale in my Library
The concepts of active citizenship and civic participation are still not ingrained in the value system of Armenian society. Most people do not view themselves as agents of social change. The most vulnerable groups of the population are especially left out from the decision-making processes. Moreover, there has been a general decline in interest in reading among the young generation. The above-mentioned facts result in having blurred national identity, lack of civil responsibility and acknowledgement of being a change-maker within the young generation. The issue is especially urgent in regions of Armenia among socially vulnerable groups. According to the official data, 34% of children in Armenia do not participate in community events. Additionally, 89% of children in poor families do not attend any type of after-school activities. In 2014, Global Shapers Yerevan Hub launched “Once Upon A Time” storytelling project for children between the ages of 7 to 12 coming from socially vulnerable families. The project idea was based on the mentioned social transformations in Armenia that bring to identity distortion. The issue is even more vivid within socially vulnerable groups. First time the project was piloted in Yerevan engaging 10 kids, which was later scaled up in partnership with the Orange Armenia Foundation. In the framework of the project, a separate room was renovated in the regional library of Tavush region located in Ijevan city. Ijevan is far from the high-quality education providers and creative development hubs, thus both learners and educators, have limited access to new and advanced alternative education techniques, which boost the development targeted particularly to primary school students. The renovated room was furnished and equipped with all the necessary items needed for calm reading, having enjoyable rest and organizing developing group-works. After the renovation, a training was organized for 15 local primary school teachers, sharing non-formal education methods to enrich their personal bank of educational tools for working with children and to show them how to use fairy tales to develop a child’s personality, self-esteem and creative thinking. Afterwards, these teachers were motivated to share their knowledge and skills with colleagues from other schools by assuring the scalability and sustainability of the project. A demonstrative 3-day training program for children was also implemented driven to boost their personality development through acquiring self-presentation skills, critical thinking, and courage creating interest towards reading. As a result of the project a creative space for children in the regional library was created giving access of books, as well as new digital and creative content to more than 2000 children all over the region. More than 55 children received opportunity to be engaged in non-formal education with increased self-confidence, more understanding and love towards books and reading. At the first year after the opening of the renovated room around 20 events were organized, and more than 200 children were engaged. Additionally, the 15 trained teachers initiated different out of class activities for their students by using the provided capacities.
- Enhance the development of children’s personality and moral system through stories and fairy tales, strengthening the national identity through understanding of universal values as a globalized civilian.
- Boost children’s interest towards books and reading through fairy tales, as well as increase access to non-formal and creative education for the children.
- Establish a creative space for children in the library, through which the flow of primary school children to the library will increase, and therefore the interest towards books will increase.
- Implement specially designed training module for children to boost their personality development by acquiring self-presentation skills, critical thinking, and courage, sparking interest towards reading.
- Share non-formal education methods with the teachers to enrich their personal bank of educational tools for working with children and to show them how to use fairy tales to develop a child’s personality, self-esteem, and creative thinking.
- 55 children trained in non-formal education with increased self-confidence, more understanding and love towards books and reading
- New creative space for the children in the regional library giving access to books, new digital and creative content to more than 2000 children all over the region
- 20 events organized in the space and more than 200 children were engaged during the first year of opening
- 15 teachers trained with new non-formal education methodology
Organizations and Stakeholders:
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State
Orange Armenia Foundation
Ministry of Education and Science