The cornerstone of the Folktale Centre's work is storytelling, which is complemented by various educational methods using art as their basis. Our goal with this approach is to reach as many children as possible and give them a real chance of leading fulfilling and happy lives. We believe that every child is born a fairytale hero, but in order to "complete their mission" as set out in the teachings of folk tales, they must find the hidden "golden strand of hair" that awakens their inner powers. But their quest does not end there. In order to reach their goal, they must muster all their strength and successfully pass every test in their path. In reality, this is often ... read more The cornerstone of the Folktale Centre's work is storytelling, which is complemented by various educational methods using art as their basis. Our goal with this approach is to reach as many children as possible and give them a real chance of leading fulfilling and happy lives. We believe that every child is born a fairytale hero, but in order to "complete their mission" as set out in the teachings of folk tales, they must find the hidden "golden strand of hair" that awakens their inner powers. But their quest does not end there. In order to reach their goal, they must muster all their strength and successfully pass every test in their path. In reality, this is often a long process spanning years or even decades. Folklore is built on thousands of years of knowledge and experience. We can all gain access to this treasure trove by listening to stories. This is why we tell stories to little ones and adults alike, and both to those in state care and to children living with families. In January 2014, our Foundation, through the joint efforts of many stakeholders, set out to create a special safety net to help children in state care. This net includes work such as spending quality time with the children, ensuring the continuous presence of caregivers, providing specialist expertise and one-to-one attention, cultivating meaningful human connections, and establishing relationships founded on trust. The Folktale Centre works closely with foster care workers, childcare experts, volunteers and university students to make this a reality. Our volunteers go to children's homes on a weekly basis to tell stories. Storytelling is always improvised and takes place by candlelight at nightfall when the children or teenagers are already dressed for bed. The elements of the ritual are constant, which helps strengthen the bond between the storyteller and the children. The Folktale Foundation's volunteer storytellers are fully dedicated to the children and are trained in storytelling and fairytale pedagogy. Based on the experience drawn from our first three years of operation, we are convinced the Foundation can only make a lasting impact and provide effective help to children in need if we extend our work beyond our summer programs by becoming a part of their day-to-day lives and helping them ease many of the burdens they carry around. We believe we will be able to do this by involving the professionals who work with the children all year round. Our work isn't confined to the Folktale Centre in Paloznak, we frequently meet children in foster homes at the development programmes we facilitate, and at storytelling and community-building events held as an extension of the summer camps in our Folktale Centre Office in Budapest. The Folktale Centre Foundation offers a wide range of options for university students to receive practical training. Arriving from university faculties such as ELTE PPK, ELTE TOK and the NYME Elek Benedek Teacher Training Faculty, they support our efforts as volunteers. Our training programmes aim to provide good examples of how to make foster care homes much more liveable and to promote the vision and practice of storytelling and Fairytale Pedagogy in family homes, nurseries, kindergartens and schools. We invite students to assist with storytelling work in Paloznak and Budapest, as well as helping out in the everyday life in homes. They also participate in our workshops, book release events, family story days and training courses. Since 2014, all of our programs are long-term and last 3-5, 7-10 years, and sometimes even more. They are based on creating and maintaining continuous relationships primarily between the children and their guardians or foster parents, whether they live in family homes, children's homes or with foster parents in Budapest or Pest, Veszprem and Borsod counties. We consider authentic, carefully planned integration to be of the utmost importance, so some of our camps, family storytimes and development and talent programmes are open to children from families as well as those in child protection programmes. Our training courses are aimed at parents, childcare professionals and more generally anyone interested in Fairytale Pedagogy/foster care both at home and abroad. (More information is available in the Training section of our site.) Our programmes and colleagues all aim to provide unforgettable memories filled with moments of liberation and joy, as well as total physical and emotional security, one-on-one attention and close, unified communities for all children in foster care. We believe that, if we can deliver on these points, many more youths will have a chance of transitioning smoothly to adulthood and living full and happy lives.
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