My name is Ksenia and during this year I was volunteering in Pottenbrunn (Lower Austria). It was a private Montessori school - Lernwerkstatt, situated in a beautiful ancient castle with a lake and swans behind.
It wasn’t my first volunteering experience. Before Austria I was volunteering in the Museum of Russian Impressionism (Moscow), in auction houses and just before Austria I spent two amazing months in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice).
One of the reasons why I chose Montessori school is my experience working with children. I conduct painting workshops, art history lectures and so on. It’s important for me to share experience and get feedback from kids and parents.
I always promote volunteering among my friends because such activities are mutually beneficial cooperation for me, which sometimes gives me more than I give myself. It is generally accepted that volunteers receive nothing in return for their help, but I know for sure that this is not true. Years of volunteering gave me experience, friends, emotions, language improvement. Volunteering developed valuable qualities which help me in my career - self-organization, flexibility, leadership, project management and many others.
Lernwerkstatt is an unusual school. It does not have the classic lessons like in public schools. During the day, children could manage their time and choose what they want to do by themselves. They read books, explore the alphabet, mathematics and foreign languages , make sculptures, paint pictures, do sports. They also don't use phones and tablets. It’s strictly prohibited in school.
I noticed that children could concentrate longer, they were not distracted. Teachers support them in their interests and try to create a friendly, cozy atmosphere in school. I think that in such a favorable environment, children could better understand themselves and find hidden talents.
Throughout the year, I have prepared various creative workshops for children. We studied the culture of ancient Egypt and painted Cleopatra and Egyptian pottery. Inspired by the cave paintings we created our own cave art using charcoal pencils and natural shades of paint. We were plein airing and painted landscapes, sea and flowers.
I prepared an exhibition about my home country in February. Kids explored pictures of the Moscow metro, the famous Bolshoi Theater, Russian ballerinas and theatre costumes, they were inspired by images of traditional Russian dolls - Matryoshka, and then came up with their own Matryoshkas.
I hope this year was fulfilling and eventful not only for me, but also for the children. I would like them to remember our workshops, acquired knowledges and bright creative paintings.
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