Perestroika in Russia many new innovative educational programs
came into being. The grand daughter of L. S. Vygotsky (Dr. Elena
Kravtsova), and her laboratory of 23 people established one
of these new programs. The purpose of the Golden
Key part1 & part 2 (requires RealMedia to view)
curriculum is to break down the traditional alienation children
find in many schools and in many families of post-Soviet Russia.
Using the tenets of both L. S. Vygotsky, and Elena
(requires RealMedia to view)and
Gennadi Kravtsov, over 30 Golden Key schools have been
established around Russia since 1989, and there are plans to
expand this curriculum to higher levels of education, including
the coordination of a hospital clinic. The inclusion of medical
attention will not only involve children with physical illnesses,
but also children with learning disabilities, and family problems.
methods that are used, the overall understanding of the process
of interaction is implemented within the Zone of Proximal
Development by placing children in families instead of
classes. Therefore, each family has between 15 to 25 children
between the ages of 3 and 10. There is a feel of an extended
family, having its own home instead of a classroom.
Teachers attend in-service training in order to learn to enhance
a community of learning, and parents are active in school
events, often participating as historical figures, or helping
to sew costumes, or sing or recite poetry. The children meet
in their families every school day to discuss problems
and to learn to solve problems. Since there are children of
different ages, the older children can learn to model more
competent peer behavior, as well as support the younger children.
(requires RealMedia to view)
are a source of the core concept of the Golden Key
schools. These happenings are based around historical events,
seasons of the year, and personal events. There are weekly
events and monthly happenings.
is the description of one such happening in Belaya Kalytva part 1 & part 2 (requires RealMedia to view)
(on the outskirts of Moscow) related to the study of the world,
and in this case, Australia. One day, when everyone was gathered
in their families, a woman dressed in a traditional
Russian costume came to each family and told the children
(3-10 years old) that a young boy from Australia had lost
his way and asked if the children could help. All of the children
promptly took the hands of the adults and everyone went to
the schools museum where the young boy was dressed in
an aborigine costume with a dirty face (from being lost).
The young boy (pretended that he) could not speak Russian,
and was very sad, actually in tears. The various families
were asked if they could help and were then divided into age
groups. Each group (led by a teacher) helped to guide the
children with ideas to solve the problem. One group of very
small children made presents for the boy to take home, while
an older group wrote a telegram to his parents in Australia
(leaning about the differences between writing letters and
telegrams, as well as learning Russian grammar). Another group
figured out where Australia was located and how far it was
from Moscow by drawing maps and using math skills. Another
group worked on finding out about the animals in Australia,
which incorporated exercises in math as well. It was then
announced that the boy would be able to fly home to Australia,
to his family, but first there would be a happening
(which takes place once or twice a month, with the children
and parents preparing for it weeks in advance). The
children (requires RealMedia to
view) brought the boy into a special room that was
decorated, and they told him that they wanted to have a party
and share Russian culture with him. They wanted him to be
able to share his adventures in Russia with other children
in Australia. The children were now in mixed age groups, and
again in a special room where they were singing Russian songs
in costumes, dancing, and reciting poetry the children had
written themselves, etc. There was over an hour of entertainment,
always with piano music and other instruments being played
by the staff. After the festivities, a man (Gennadi Kravtsov)
came with a car to take the boy to the airport, and all of
the children, parents, and staff waved to him from the window
as he got in the car and drove off.
felt that the boy was actually going home to Australia, it
was so real. After the happening, refreshments were
served to all. During the afternoon, there was further work
on Australia, including music, history, dance, geography,
the study of climate, animals, etc.
The following videos include Azov1 and Avoz2 (2004), and Belaya Kalytva (2006). (requires Windows Media to view) Please note, these videos are in Russian.
importance of this curriculum cannot be overstated, as most
of the Golden Key schools receive very little funding
from the government, and these schools are open to all children.
The methods used are innovative and new, and can become a
model of education in other parts of the world. View the Golden Key Workshop. (requires Windows Media to view)
few moments and take
a Photo Tour of some Golden Key Schools.
material, please see the chapter on the Golden Key schools
in: Schools for growth: Radical alternatives to current
educational models. Lois Holzman. Mahwah, N.J: L.
Erlbaum Associates, 1997.
information, please feel free to contact
me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.