- It all started with the fact that a special child was born in our family. When Alexei was 13 years old, the transitional age began, and he began to degrade. All our efforts, pedagogical work using traditional methods did not bring results. Our psychiatrist convinced me that "this is just an animal that we train." And somehow, by chance, I got to a medical and pedagogical seminar in Irkutsk. I saw their methodology, children, teachers, microclimate. It was the Scandinavian Waldorf technique. I realized that there is one more chance.
I came and gathered the guys. Then there were 17 guys around me who needed my help. I was a kindergarten teacher and I knew all the guys, because they all grew up before my eyes. I knew all their problems. It was 2000. I told my parents about this technique and convinced them that this was our chance. Everyone agreed, but then they admitted that no one believed me. My husband and I began to build a medical and pedagogical school. I worked there as a teacher. And immediately from the first, from the second month, our children began to progress.
This gave all parents so much strength that we moved mountains during the crisis years. Everything was closed. The sponsors tightened up. They were all poor. No one had faith in the future. And nevertheless, we had so much desire, so much faith that we materially "moved mountains." And then, when they were 18, over 18 They were already older than school age. What to do next? I gathered my parents and said that something else needs to be done, because the state can help disabled children up to 18 years of age. And then the state offers only a boarding school or stay at home.
We didn't want to sit, we wanted to develop, to study further. I offered them a community organization and a social therapy village. This was in 2005. There were ruins here. We had no money. And now, looking back, I say to many that, probably, I would not advise starting something similar without money. We started doing it because it was necessary! Not all parents agreed to follow me then. There were only four guys, the rest did not go. We were burning with the idea, so we could do everything, we did it. Over the summer, we repaired half of the educational building, put the stoves on and hibernated, and then gradually completed everything.
There were difficulties with personnel. First, due to inconsistent funding, and then due to the fact that many cannot bear it mentally. To work here, you need to have a kind heart and tremendous patience. Therefore, we choose out of the kindness of our hearts, as they say, for long-term care. This is a long term trial period for teachers.
Children who teach
- The meaning of curative pedagogy is not with medication, but with special exercises, special classes to bring our children to the state of normal people. Of course, we cannot completely defeat the disease. Sometimes people come to us and ask: "Where are the disabled?" The task of curative pedagogy is to socialize them as much as possible, and so that it is not visually noticeable that they are disabled.
Many parents are ashamed of their children, complex and afraid of public opinion, so they stay at home, and in the meantime their children grow up and become inadequate. We tell all parents that these are special children who have been given to us, on the contrary, in order for them to teach us something, so that they give us the opportunity to understand something. That this is not a punishment in any way, not a sin or a cross. They need to be loved as they are. Not to be shy, not to have complexes, but on the contrary, to be happy and even learn to be proud that such a special child came to me, who opened my eyes to something, taught me something. I look at the world differently, I have different values. Our children, having very difficult diagnoses, are strikingly different from the children who live in boarding schools with diagnoses, perhaps not particularly difficult.
A boarding school is a state institution, where there are a lot of prohibiting instructions. This is explained by the fact that it is for the protection of children. You cannot use forks - you can get hurt, you cannot use a knife, needle, knitting needles - they will prick. This is all very dangerous. You cannot wash dishes - this is exploitation, and even more so - to work in workshops. Lots of marasmic instructions. And employees cannot violate these instructions on pain of dismissal. Of course, there are developmental activities there. But the main priority is to feed and put to bed. People with disabilities sit or lie there a lot. A minimum of body movements.
We took three girls. When they were brought in, they could not even get down from the porch, step over the threshold, since they had very weak legs. They all have very weak legs, because the upper part of the body is well developed, and the lower muscular, bony part is physically underdeveloped. This is the result of a sedentary lifestyle. Although their diagnoses are not very difficult. Here they have a lot of walks, movements, physical labor and life experience. For example, they wash the dishes, do the cleaning. In general, they do everything like ordinary, healthy children help their parents around the house. Here, their social and everyday orientation is well developed. There is more activity here, more opportunity to explore the world by acting with this world, and not just looking out the window.
"They won't betray each other"
- Our calendar year is scheduled for months, and months for weeks and days. We live according to a clear daily routine. Our children work five days a week. Saturday, Sunday - day off. We have several creative workshops. This is basket weaving, woodworking workshop, production of woven rugs, accessories, using the technique of dry and wet felting we create clothes and toys, we sew Waldorf dolls.
We take raw materials for workshops from environmentally friendly materials, besides, they are much cheaper. For example, for weaving workshops, we collect old things that people bring us. We make woven tracks from them. We ourselves collect tree scraps and make wooden crafts from them.
For the basket weaving workshop, we collect willow branches that grow in our neighborhood. We harvest willow from November to March. In April, the sap flow will begin, and we will no longer harvest it. The willow must grow up, so you can't do this atrociously to her.
For the dry and wet felting workshop, we shear our sheep. Divide the wool in half. We send one for spinning and wet felting, and the second, washed wool, for dry felting, for making a Waldorf doll. Bayar is engaged in combing wool.
All work on the farm and garden is distributed among the guys. Dima and Andrey take care of the animals. They clean the flock, watch the lamb (sheep give birth), feed and water the calves. Igor and Sasha work in the garden and in the garden.
In addition to work, our children are engaged in drawing, singing, painting, and also stage performances.
Our educational process is subject to the usual schedule: for the New Year, May holidays - they have a rest, but the rest is always active. Summer begins on June 1: we hang out flags, make a holiday. This means a lot of sports, a lot of walks, hikes, trips. Some pupils go on vacation to their parents.
Despite the fact that our guys are of different ages, they all help each other. They have a very high degree of mutual assistance! If one is blind, then the other leads him by the hand. If one cannot count, it will be done by one who can count. They will not betray each other. And you won't even notice it.
We have created such an organization that, accepting a child, we take a parent here, maybe all his relatives. And we immediately warn the parents that this is not the same as in the boarding school: I gave up the child and washed my hands. Yes, he is with us 24 by 7, we work with him as specialists. But the parents are still morally, remotely, but with us. They come here, help, and can take the child home for family events. Also, my parents and I conduct seminars where they undergo psychological attitudes. Everything that we give the children, we pass it through the parents. Unfortunately, at home, parents cannot create such an environment, they do not succeed, therefore conscientious parents do not abuse home visits.
Their independent life
- We are currently implementing a new project. We are building studio apartments for adults, for those who can already live independently, not in a common house. But on the socially protected territory of the "Otradny Garden" and, of course, under the supervision of an employee, although we are not talking about this point to the guys. They know they will live alone. No one will wake them up to work in the morning, no one will wash the toilet bowl or the dishes. This will be their independent life. They really want it. Are willing to try this self-reliance.
Currently, five apartments are planned. These houses are being built at the expense of the parents. We are building for Igor and Alina, because we took them from the boarding school as guardians, like dad and mom to them. Alina has changed a lot over the year, learned a lot. So far, four parents have found money, but, perhaps, Bayar and Ira will also move on to an independent life. Each of them will have their own front garden, vegetable garden, and their own garden. This is the next step in their development - to live like healthy adults.
We want to have a lot of villages like ours all over the country. More and more children with special needs are born. It is necessary to reduce the number of boarding students. After all, children in boarding schools are shackled and do not have elementary motor freedom. Let special people live as normal, so that they do not drag out their existence, but live this life happily and fully.
Let us differ from state institutions in that we are poorer, simpler. But on the other hand, our children are alive. When we look at the children now, we see how much they can do with their hands. They are talented. They walk freely in the village, the village guys come to us, and they communicate equally. The villagers do not notice their shortcomings. Healthy guys respect their peculiarities, do not tease, do not run away from them, but on the contrary, play together. Our guys go to the village to the store, graze the cows, no one offends or deceives them. For a decade, we have educated the surrounding population. Many villagers work for us and help us. When our tractor broke down, they helped with haymaking. We didn't even have fences before. Our children do not run away - why, because this is their home.