Kiev was the second stop on the pre-mission for ORT’s historic 70-for-70 delegation before it reached Israel.
The 70-for-70 mission, in celebration of the Israel’s 70th anniversary, sees ORT’s largest-ever group of supporters, friends and major donors, visiting the country to see first-hand examples of how the education network is placing the future in the hands of the next generation.
The two-day stop in the Ukrainian capital provided an opportunity to view the recently renovated buildings of the secondary and primary schools at the Simcha complex.
The secondary school building accommodates more than 330 pupils from grades five to 11 in state-of-the-art facilities featuring computer rooms, physics and chemistry labs, a sports arena, music hall, playground and kosher canteen.
During Wednesday’s tour, the group visited ORT Primary School Simcha for some of the youngest pupils, aged three and above. Lessons included computer science, a Lego session and Hebrew and English classes.
Ihor Khalemskiy, Principal of ORT Primary School Simcha, said: “We hope that our guests saw not only beautiful, modern equipment rooms, kindergarten groups and additional facilities, but most importantly happy, smiling, talented, cheerful, creative children.”
At the Simcha senior school, maths, history, Ukrainian literature and robotics were on display, while senior students acted as translators for the guests.
Lena Zakharenko, an 11th grade student, said: “We showed the delegation the junior school. They were delighted with the little kids and were impressed by the performance of the group from kindergarten, especially when they spoke Hebrew in chorus.
“Our guests were interested in my hobbies and interests and asked various questions about my future profession, what university I plan to attend and in what country.
“We discussed our extra-curricular activities, how we spend Jewish holidays, and about Jewish organisations in Kiev attended by our students.
“They liked our system of education and said it was very cool that our school gives us the opportunity to spread Jewish culture.”
During the previous day’s visit to Kiev’s ORT Educational Complex #141, the delegation toured the kindergarten, including observing the Lego room and a games session in the playground.
Igor Bulaev, head of the kindergarten, explained how staff and children had family-like relationships in the caring setting.
At the secondary school, the visitors spent time in Hebrew lessons and saw a robotics lab. Students presented examples of robots they had constructed. At the Cisco Lab, the work created on 3D printers was displayed, before a session on history and Jewish traditions.
Irina Fridman, whose work was acknowledged at a national teacher conference, presented her students’ innovative projects. The tour culminated with the pre-mission members discussing school life with senior students over lunch.
In addition to the school visits, the touring group travelled to Babi Yar, the site of the single biggest massacre of the Holocaust. The group also visited the city’s Podol and Brodsky Synagogues before moving on to the full 70-for-70 mission in Israel.