On Thursday the 24th June 2021, The Russian Education Consortium (REC), The Russian Embassy in London, and Rossotrudnichestvo came together to host the 2021 Russian Preschool Conference.
In cooperation with Russian Schools across the UK, including Znaniye UK and Germany, Skaska Russian School, EDC Lingua, Cambridge Russian School, KCOPC Scotland, Bilik Azerbaijani School and more - together we shared updates on Early Years Education (Age 5 and Under) as well as news on new books, materials and methodologies.
Also making appearances were education experts including psychologists, teachers and speech therapists.
Due to restrictions in London beginning to ease, we were able to host a small number of guests in person at Rossotrudnichestvo, with the rest joining virtually.
To start, we were welcomed by the representative of Rossotrudnichestvo in the UK, Anton Chesnokov, who organised our in-person offering, followed by a wonderful opening speech from Mr Ilya M. Erofeev, the First Secretary - Information, Press and Culture at the Russian Embassy London, who discussed the importance of Russian Education beginning in the early years of a child's life, as well as noting the updates on books created in partnership with RUDN University and Znaniye Russian School; as well as noting exciting news on the new Russian and GCSE and A Level Text Books we are creating - the first of their kind in the UK.
Following this, our host, Ms Aina Mamaeva, Founder and Director of the Russian Education Consortium and Znaniye Russian School touched on how important these early years are to build a students educational foundation, which is why we are continuously working to improve the materials available, this following on to the accountment of the release of our new books, which are now available in the UK for other Russian Schools, and families to use.
Angela Victorovna, Director of RUDN Univserities Russian Institute then walked us through the relationship and partnership they hold with Znaniye Russian School, and the developments in the preschool methodology we have worked on together in the last few years to research, create, and launch - plus, the next projects we will begin together to expand this invaluable cooperation.
Next to speak was Dr Virginia L. Lam, Senior Lecturer for the Department of Psychology, currently at the University of Roehampton, and spearheading the research project 'Growing Up Billingual.' Dr Lam walked us through updates on her research in the field of Bilingualism, national and global statistics, and how bilingualism can both affect and benefit early year students. She touched on how Znaniye and other Supplementary Schools are at the forefront of raising bilingual children, but, how this needs to be echoed in mainstream schools as well. You can find out more about her work, here: https://growingupbilingualproject.wordpress.com/
We were next joined by Evie Hill, Operations Manager at Znaniye Foundation, and project coordinator for ‘Springboard into Education: Lessons, Support, Guidance and Training for Early Years children, parents and carers to help with the first steps into academic life.' Evie went into detail about this current Early Years project they are running, which was applied for shortly after REC's First Russian Teacher Symposium at the Russian Embassy in January 2020. Through this, they are working to build confidence, emotional strength and emotional well-being, whilst at the same time recognising that all children are individuals who develop at different rates.
Our next highly esteemed speaker was Marina Kunovsky, of RUDN University - co-author of said new preschool books, titled 'Bukvograd' - the 1st of which was released in November 2020, the second launched during this evening, and the final shortly to be published, which will finalise the full set of materials. Marina kindly mentioned the easy relationship she has had with Znaniye Russian School and our team, with us bringing the practical methods, and them being able to bring years of knowledge and understanding to th