Let's Get off the Ground; Let's give New Impetus and Lightness to our Actions, our Movement

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Ashot Bleyan

Educomplex director's diary blog

I am thankful to my elder brother. As far as I remember I always had a bicycle in our yard in Yerevan. I spent my childhood on bicycles... The bicycle has always been for Armenian children not for adults. I grew up and in senior classes, when I was 16-17, I was deprived of my “light-mindedness” and I became a plain pedestrian. In the 1960-70s rolling skates, skate boards, scooters could be obtained either abroad “beyond the iron curtains” or they could be self-made. I made rode and broke numerous wooden scooters.

I regained a bicycle at the age of 25 when my fellow students and I arranged to present bicycles to each other, and we formed our cyclists' club. What a glorious initiative! But, alas, it lasted a very short time. And now, some 30-35 years later, I am again riding a bicycle, and I think it will be an integral part of mine… The bicycle may be changed; it is a tool, an individual means of transport, it will be more and more convenient-appropriate, but it will always be with me.

You should have seen the unusual feeling Davit Bleyan experienced. Speaking frankly I also had the same feeling: father and son on bicycles, side by side. Cycling together may have a uniting character; it may fill our lives with an air of solidarity, festivity and cheerfulness; it is another state of mobility, a new equipage; it is not a one-time event. I enviously watch people skating rolling-skates, skate-boards and various scooters. I feel well at the thought that Shushan Bleyan is using a scooter in the streets of Vienna, and I will live to see Davit ride on other wheels.... Now the utmost share of mine is the bicycle.

I myself stimulated this process, Sebastatsies of all ages, at home or at school, I am the director, aren't I?: In most cases I am managing the Educomplex in this way, with my own example, implementation of initiatives and actions.

I hate administrative manners, orders, instructions and other obligations however inseparable they are from my duties. Isn’t my prestige based on example and actions enough to head and lead? I know that Sebastatsies of all ages in the Facebook, blogs, diaries, cell phones are speaking and struggling to obtain all kinds of wheels to wobble skate and ride... I know and see that families make expenses, buy, repair, exchange, obtain or fabricate themselves. It is not a mere undertaking. A child, a learner at each age should have a convenient means of wheeled transport. I know that this educational project “The South-West District of Yerevan on the Wheels” is sure to cause extra worries. But I am taking it up, I am precipitating: you should join in, help each other, correct, empower this initiative with your own example, Sebastatsies of all ages wherever you are. The conception of prevailing state pedagogy presupposes children’s divided lives: the school doesn’t have to worry about an individual’s life in all its formations: swimming, riding… The school deals with only teaching lessons.

The learners and teachers on the wheels should appear to be clients, beneficiaries, users so that we should need new infrastructure and appropriate educational environment. Yes we should be able to view our school yards in compliance with the needs of people on the wheels and give cheap-appropriate solutions. In our pre-school groups all the 2-6-year-old children should have their own bicycles as an unchangeable term in the educational contract.

Our partner, dean of the architectural faculty of the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia Sargis Tovmasyan's telephone call was the most expected for the next step of the “The South-West District of Yerevan on the Wheels” project   implementation initiated by Armine Topchyan and friends. We should plan our interschool  cycling road and realize it step by step. The initiators of the cycling road will be the clients but the actual designing should be done by specialists. The students of the architecture faculty with their young teacher will visit us to study the initiative closely and begin designing.

The number of non-Armenian children, mostly Molokans and Russians,  in our pre-schools has increased. I appreciate that; it's a good indicator. Yesterday when I was reproaching our  pre-school teachers Lilit and Olya for not having aired the group room, there was an interesting development: before the teachers could reach the windows three non-Armenian children managed to be the first to do that...

“Can't you see that they need fresh air? Why don't you open the windows?”

I was delighted by these three children's rusticity, cheerfulness, agility, independence. Here we deal with a different family upbringing. Why do Armenian parents have so much sensitiveness to cold? What is this unnecessary fear for since the day of their children’s birth? They are constantly repeating to themselves: “My kid will catch a cold; my kid will catch a cold. Close the windows and doors. Look out, he will fall down.” Cautiousness is an honor and demand for all parents or for any adult who happens to be nearby, but my dear compatriots, you mustn't deprive your children of healthy and fresh environment, vigorous bodies, independence and agility. Our pre-school teachers and parents should be able to get rid of this rooted approach which has become a stereotype. The corridors, classrooms, group rooms, kitchens and any school area should always be freshly aired. In the result of our upbringing we should have spontaneous, dynamic children with maximum independence. Any restrictions of movements, going out or coming in, should be abolished. We should create an always healthy and bracing physical environment inside and outside the school keeping maximum security measures. These two are not contradicting or mutually exclusive: being spontaneous, independent and keeping self-hygiene is part of our educational program, and it presupposes a safe, interesting, hygienic environment inside or outside the school. Here is a new educational tool which becomes compulsory for every Sebastatsi, for both learners and teachers. We already have a new view, a new situation, a new way of organizing education on the wheels.

I will inevitably become a grandfather some day; I mean grand-grandfather for my grandchildren’s children. I also hope to become the grandfather for my Davit’s children… Yesterday, when I was cycling with children of different ages, I felt as if I was one of their peers. What a great feeling it was! I didn’t care about my age, my position… It was a real cycling race of peers. I was impressed so much! We discussed tens of small and big problems while cycling.                             

  

 

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