LITOMYSL JOURNAL (in Finnish)
I had the pleasure and honour to visit a school called Higher Professional School of Education and Teachers’ Training School in Litomysl, Czech Republic in February 11-14, 2013. I obtained a Comenius grant for this visit and the objective was to lay the groundwork for a Comenius project, which we had already been planning with our long-time Hungarian partner school Baktay Ervin Gimnázium. It was planned that a teacher from Hungary would also join this visit but something came up at the last minute and this didn’t happen. We used a Skype connection to stay in contact during the negotiations.
The objective for my visit was reached. We finished a plan for the contents and schedule of the project. The idea is to organize a week’s camp school in each country during which the students and teachers create a work of art in the surroundings of the school. We will work in cooperation with local professional artist or art community and use sustainable means to create a work of art from natural or recycled materials Apart from art education, the aim is to get an insight into a sustainable way of life and the ecological principles connected to it. The work of art will eventually return to nature in the same way as everything else does, including us humans. In between the camps, the students will stay in touch on the Internet and cooperate to plan the camp programs.
An important goal for us is also to develop Ii Upper Secondary School as an institute for international art. We seek to find new ways to utilize art in teaching even other subjects than the traditional art subjects, and on the other hand, why couldn’t we introduce e.g. mathematics or chemistry in art lessons? Students could find new motivation in new working methods which transcend the traditional subject boundaries.
Litomysl is a charming little town about 160 km south-east of Prague. The town boasts numerous old buildings dating as far back as the Renaissance, and its city square has a resemblance to that in Venice. There are about 10 000 inhabitants as well as a great number of tourists, especially in the summertime. Litomysl has numerous museums and galleries as well as an old castle which is on the UNESCO world Heritage list. Bedrich Smetana was born here and there is an annual Smetana festival and he is celebrated throughout the year in various events related to his music. The castle is being restored and there seemed to be a general sense of reverence to the memory of the artists, writers, sculptors etc. born and active in the town. I really appreciated the cleanliness of the town and the friendliness of the people there. I was taken from museum to museum and exhibition to exhibition, which you can get an idea of through the modest presentation I put together on our corridor wall.
The school I visited had a clear focus on art and music. In addition to the general program preparing students for university and other higher education, it is also possible to get trained as a nursery school teacher and various types of leisure time instructor. There are about a thousand students, most of which come from other parts of the Czech Republic because of the attractive qualities of this school. The school has their own newly renovated dormitory which accommodates most of the students. There is a choir with international reputation and, for instance, each classroom has a piano and each student in the higher grades has an instrument, private or owned by the school, which they practise to play.
During my visit I got along wonderfully with the local teachers and students. In addition to everything else in the program, I gave four lessons about Finland and Ii and the project we are planning. I was met with friendliness and there was an enthusiastic feeling in the negotiations. We decided together that we would do our best to achieve Comenius funding for our future project. The application must be submitted in February 2013 and the decision should come in June. The plan is to organise the first camp in Litomysl in September/October 2013, the next one in Dunaharaszti in April 2014 and the final one in Ii in September 2014.
Information about Litomysl:
Photo gallery from Litomysl
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