Let our lives speak

£2.50

Spring 2007 No 20 – 01/04/2007

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Author: Natalie Fedorchenko

Document Code: WJ20

Description: This is the story of the transformation of a private school in Electrostal, a town on the outskirts of Moscow. Natalie Fedorchenko arrived at Woodbrooke as the Eva Koch Scholar following her dream; to build a school in Russia on Quaker principles and with the ethos of a Quaker school. She already had the school building but she wanted to create a community based on Quaker values in a place where she was one of a very few Quakers.

With this vision she was able to read about Quaker education but also visit one of the Quaker schools and talk to both teachers and pupils and learn more from their experiences. She also made contact with people working in Peace Education as well as Religious Education and found their resource libraries overwhelming. There was too much to take in. She discovered very practical books on peer mediation and conflict resolution as well as those on the development of children’s spirituality. These treasures were an affirmation; other people shared her vision and provided ways and means of realising them in a variety of new ways.

By the time of her second visit during her school’s summer holiday she had already begun to plan how to introduce additions to the RE syllabus as well as new ways of maintaining discipline within the school using Quaker principles. Thinking about school rules, a charter for teachers and pupils as well as how to recruit teachers willing to work in this way was helped by the many books available here, but not in Russia. She was able to plan how she would introduce her vision so that the whole school, as well as parents, shared it.

The story has not ended as Natalie continues her work, but this article is an account of her action research project in her own school.

Judith Jenner

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