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Round Table Projects: Methodology and coordination projects
Information-Coordination Center for Orthodox Education in Russia
Consulting Service for Orthodox Pre-school Education

Information-Coordination Center for Orthodox Education in Russia

THE PROBLEM: Today we can already speak about the emergence of a system of Christian education in Russia. The rapid development of a network of Orthodox educational institutions has often been far ahead of the development of curricula in primary and secondary Orthodox schools. Many educators do not know what is to be taught and in what forms. This is especially true for humanitarian and natural science disciplines and courses. The need has become ever more urgent for information about guides, statistics and methodologies. The growing flow of information has to be systematized and communicated through ecclesiastical, national and international channels.

The aim of the project:

to build an information service for educational work in the Russian Orthodox Church

The Center is engaged in compiling information from dioceses in order to create church-wide data bases on the following three subjects:

  • Orthodox educational institutions;
  • Orthodox educators, scholars and specialists;
  • Bibliography of Orthodox literature and methodological resources.
At present the project commands information on 657 educational organizations and 600 specialists. The Center has regularly up-dated its data banks. With the support of the church authorities, the Center has initiated departments of religious education in each diocese to supervise over the entire religious educational activity on the local level.

The Center has set up a telephone inquiry office. It has issued a bimonthly Information Letter on Orthodox education in Russia. It has also issued information sheets with surveys on pedagogical books, articles and reference publications reviewing the best pedagogical works on Orthodox education.

The Center has a methodology information desk. It consults 7-10 people a week. It gives visitors a choice of 200 individual teachers' programs to be adapted and tested, as well as methods of teaching various subjects and materials preparing a teacher for lessons. This desk is a unique center in the Russian Orthodox Church which compiles educational and methodological resources to be then systematized, edited and communicated.

The Center has maintained close cooperation with the Russian State Library to publish together a catalogue of Russian Orthodox religious authors of the 19th century. It has begun work to set up methodological desks in dioceses. It has held catechetical issue seminars twice a month. Slavonic Language teachers have gathered once a week, while catechists in junior classes once a month. Some 120 teachers have participated in these seminars on a regular basis. The Center will soon open a seminar for natural sciences teachers.

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Consulting Service for Orthodox Pre-school Education

THE PROBLEM: The last three years have seen a rapid emergence of Orthodox kindergartens. They have been opened at churches, parishes, brotherhoods and in state pre-school institutions. At present there are over 72 Orthodox kindergartens in Russia. These newly opened kindergartens are standing in a great need of methodological information and coordination.

The aim of the project:

to develop a methodological support for Orthodox pre-school education.

A methodological office for Orthodox pre-school education was set up under the project at Kindergarten No. 1525 in 1992 in Moscow. It was provide with all the necessary equipment and qualified staff.

The Methodological Office has the following functions:

  • to study, summarize and spread the experience gained by Orthodox pre-school institutions;
  • to organize advanced courses for personnel working at Orthodox kindergartens and groups;
  • to hold seminars, consultations, open-door days and other forms of methodological work with pre-school teachers;
  • to work out and publish legal, methodological and practical materials for kindergarten personnel.
The office has worked out a package of legal documents regulating the activity of Orthodox pre-school institutions. It has also developed a draft Statute of the Orthodox Kindergarten, a model fasting diet for pre-school institutions and a curriculum for an advanced training course for Orthodox educators. The Center is working out programs of religious, aesthetic and physical development of children to serve as guides for those who work in kindergartens and with groups. Working under the project, the Center has also developed methodological recommendations for children's Christian education. A special attention has been paid to the selection of materials for conducting church celebrations at kindergartens. In cooperation with the Institute of Pedagogical Advanced Studies at the Russian Ministry of Education, the Center conducted advanced training courses for kindergarten teachers from various regions in Russia. It also held seminars for leaders, educators and catechists from various dioceses in Russia. The methodological office has held weekly consultations for all kinds of personnel working at pre-school institutions. In total there have been over 100 consultations of this kind. The methodological office is also working to study, adapt and introduce the experience of foreign pre-school Christian institutions in the USA, Germany and Czechia and to translate works by foreign educators.

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