27 October 2023 – On Wednesday, 25 October 2023, the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia, in collaboration with partners from the Heritage School for the New Generations project, funded by the Norway Grants, organized a full-day workshop at the learning laboratory in Škofja Loka. The workshop aimed to promote the integration of cultural heritage into primary school subjects.
The event featured lectures and practical demonstrations by representatives from the National Education Institute Slovenia, Faculty of Education of the University of Ljubljana, the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Center for Vocational Education, and the Ivan Grohar Elementary School. School principals, teachers, and guidance counselors from fourteen primary schools across Slovenia attended the workshop.
In addition to valuable insights and examples of incorporating cultural heritage into primary education, participants had the opportunity to experience and explore the restoration story of Rotovž, the old town hall in Škofja Loka, where the workshop took place. The workshop primarily focused on architectural heritage, professions, and skills related to preserving our heritage.
One surprising revelation for participants was the existence of 25 professional qualifications that can be certified through the National Vocational Qualifications system, such as dry stone waller, which can be promoted in primary schools to guide students towards future careers. Furthermore, during a practical workshop for students about natural materials, their properties, and applications, air itself proved to be the most surprising insulator.
The most important conclusion of the workshop was the necessity of providing students with experiential exposure to cultural heritage through all their senses and educating them to the point where they can recognize and appreciate all forms of our cultural heritage.
Participants expressed satisfaction with the emerging educational practices of the Heritage School for the New Generationsproject, which includes training, lesson preparations, textbooks, and teaching aids. This project equips educators with the knowledge and tools for effectively and professionally integrating cultural heritage into primary school subjects.
Dr. Irena Hergan, Faculty of Education at the University of Ljubljana, noted, “Children perceive and interpret their environment in more detail and in a more personal way than adults, so it’s essential to provide them with the opportunity to express themselves.”
Dr. Jasna Fakin Bajec, head of the Research Station Nova Gorica at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, emphasized, “Heritage theory is built on emotions, so it’s crucial for children to engage in creative activities.”
Nataša Ülen from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, part of the Heritage School for the New Generations project, added, “Through students, we aim to reach parents and contribute to a vision of cultural landscape with respect for our living heritage, without rose-colored or fluorescent green shades.”
The Heritage School for the New Generations project involves the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia as the project promoter, and project partners the University of Primorska, nstitute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, Elementary School Ivan Grohar, Škofja Loka Municipality, Škofja Loka School Center, and MAGMA Geopark AS from Norway. You are cordially invited to follow the project’s achievements on the Heritage School for the New Generations project website.