Education support foundation «NOOSFERA» was founded in 2003 and since that time has been holding socially vital educational projects on a charitable basis. The main target of the foundation is to cultivate tolerance and develop planetary conscience among children and youth. The foundation defines tolerance as sharing universal values in all spheres of life – religions, traditions, art, ecology and science. According to Noosfera’s vision, tolerance education should be conducted according to several principles:
- Universal moral, cultural and scientific values are the basis for the teaching process.
- Circular approach is a must.
- Systematic teaching of tolerance matters should be organized for all ages.
During 8 years the employees of the foundation created, approved officially and held educational projects in such areas as art, applied sciences, business, religions, foreign languages, ecology, children’s charity, ethnography, astronomy and inclusive education. The program includes arranging days of tolerance, festivals, business games, and also writing and editing teaching materials and computer games. “NOOSFERA” cooperates with specialists from the Moscow State University named after M. Lomonosov, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State Institute of Architecture named after V. Surikov, MIOO, FIRO, and also many other institutions. Financing is based on charity contributions.
“Tolerance Bag” and “Religious culture exposition”
The bag contains materials for making exposition, which demonstrates culture of five world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism. The bag houses Holy Canons of five world religions and corresponding modeling kits. Schoolchildren are recommended to paint Easter eggs, decorate a Judaic kipa, and make a mosaic Islamic ornament, write a Chinese character and others. When all handicrafts are made, they are put on display. During classes children get basic knowledge about time and place where world religions were born, the religious forefathers, holy canons, ethics and get acquainted with its related architecture, sculpture and painting.
“Traditional games of the peoples of the world”
Five national games of different cultures, such as Israel (Judaism), China (Buddhism), India (Hinduism), Azerbaijan (Islam) and Russia (Christianity) are demonstrated to kids during an hour. Eventually they know the rules of 5 games, greetings in 5 languages, 5 national dresses etc. Ultimately kids start to play these games during school breaks with their friends.
«Golden Rule» Lesson
This lesson is focused on in-depth acquaintance of junior school students with the golden rule of ethics of five major religions on our planet – Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. During the lesson the students read parables of these five religious cultures and actors contribute to the educational process with ethnic musical and dancing background.
With the help of our program one can discover an asteroid, flying towards us with a great speed and threatening our Earth; a variable star – pulsating in “agony”; an extra-solar planet, where conditions could be favorable for the creation of life, or a monstrous comet scaring our ancestors to death. This project allows young astronomy lovers to make real discoveries and to fix them officially in Harvard University.
Learning Chinese during 8 Lessons
One of the main activities of the Foundation is popularization of world cultures. Thus, this crash-course easily allows students to get basic knowledge of Chinese grammar, learn to speak about themselves and their families, as well as to start writing in Chinese. Lessons are conducted by professional teachers and are supported by an audio-disc.
Excursion «Peace lesson from clergymen»
Regularly schoolchildren together with representatives of four traditional religions of Russia (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism) gather at Poklonnaya Hill in front of the monument to soldiers-liberators. The clergymen speak to the schoolchildren about the golden rule which is indispensable to each religion and is aimed at preventing conflicts and wars. After this all participants lay flowers to the monument. The second part of the excursion is focused on the cultural sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam located in the Victory Park at Poklonnaya Hill.
Astronomic program “Quasar”
Astronomy lectures introduce children to the basics of modern astronomy and focus on three major topics ” Solar System”, “Galaxy Milky Way” and “Universe”. Color illustrations, animation and sound effects are used at the lectures. The understanding of one sky above us and one world around us makes a child less aggressive and more tolerant.
The project is an interactive game created with the purpose of fostering interest of schoolchildren to such science as comparative linguistics. Schoolchildren take a walk in an improvised forest with 10 models-trees and try to find places for tabs with the names of languages on the trees. The project is focused on genetic classification of languages based on the idea of common parent language. The general route of all languages produces a great impact on a child.
Musical on tolerance “Five beauties”
“Five beauties” is a fairy-tale written by the NOOSFERA Foundation. Characters in the performance are women of five nationalities living in five different countries and practicing five different religions. They meet to take part in a beauty contest. Desperate to win, they clash with each other. But in the face of a general trouble the rivals forget mutual insults and conflicts and show their better qualities. Thereby, they show universality of moral values.
At Moscow schools the musical is staged regularly by schoolchildren of age 15-17.
Crash-course “The World Religious Culture”
The approach of the course is to demonstrate for kids the universal values and characteristics of world religions. Kids get knowledge of founders of religions, main texts, temples and main traditions. The moment a kid reveals for himself the general core of the world religious culture, he becomes tolerant.
“Universalica” Debating Club
Schoolchildren and students monthly participate in sessions of the Debating Club. The main idea of the debate is to arouse the participants’ interest towards socially significant issues such as tolerance, xenophobia, extremism etc. As a result participants create a joint essay on tolerance with their suggestions and vision.
“UNESCO. Committee on Culture” Simulation Game
This game gives the pupils a chance to feel themselves experts on UNESCO matters. Therefore, there are no “children” in the game, but only chairmen, co-chairmen, experts, section leaders, diplomatic messengers and translators. Art material used in the project is carefully selected by professional art historians. Eventually children learn 60 art highlights and understand the role of UNESCO in the world.
Sidewalk Astronomy is a kind of amateur astronomy founded by John Dobson in the sixties. The unprofessional astronomers bring their telescopes out into the streets (that’s where the name comes from) and invite people to have a free view of sky objects, simultaneously speaking about them. “NOOSFERA” regularly organizes visits of astronomers with their telescopes to dozens of Moscow schools.
“Tolerance Team” Festival
The aim of this festival is to disclose the true meaning of “tolerance” to the children in an interactive form during a festive ethnic holiday.
Understanding tolerance as a reception of universal laws, principles and tendencies, the organizers divide the festival site into three big stations such as: “Science of the World”, “Traditions of the World” and “Art of the World”. Children develop tolerance by learning universal laws of morale, aesthetics and science.
It is rather symbolic that “Tolerance Team” Festival is held during the Day of Russia in Moscow.