Real Pearl’s art schools have been running since 2000 in six villages and towns in eastern Hungary: Berettyoujfalu, Komádi, Magyarhomorog, Körösszakál, Körösszegapáti and Biharkeresztes.

Students number around 550-600, with a high proportion of disadvantaged, mainly Roma students, some seriously disadvantaged, (70% , or around 300 persons).

The art schools teach fine and applied arts in afternoon school, and include graphics,  painting, ceramics and sculpture. The teaching has a specific methodology that has been gradually developed over the years. Initially, it was characterized by the development of a child-centred methodology in visual education. The emphasis was on developing self-expression and increased self-esteem, and the aim was to develop creative technical solutions. Later, as we began to create textbooks and methodological material, we tried to extend our successful  methods by giving in-service teacher training. In the area of children’s art education, we began to gain an international reputation, with our students winning more than 500 awards every academic year in a variety of domestic and international children’s art competitions.

At the beginning much of our work centred on overcoming the disadvantages that the children brought with them.  Eventually, a system of tasks was developed for the relative age groups which combine physical coordination, visual memory, concentration, attention, logical thinking skills, as well as the visualization tasks associated with other subjects such as biology, history, literature, English language, etc. These are intimately linked to the development of visual communication.

The development of social skills has been added, as we found that in many cases these were missing, especially in the case of disadvantaged children. The development of  self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, and identity, as well as social skills such as cooperation, tolerance, and solidarity fit easily into creative development. This Triple-Focus visual education is now includes visual communication, self development, and the development of social skills. Each of the three focuses are embedded in all lessons and tasks. We are hoping to incorporate this model into public education.

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