Dreamed education for Ukraine

Dreamed Education for Ukraine

INNOCAMP PL is committed to support Ukrainians effected by Russian invasion, especially children who experienced war related anxieties. Dr Adam Jagiello-Rusilowski initiated and co-organized a series of teacher training events for volunteers empowering refugees with basic communication skills in Polish, art-based inclusive educational activities and collaboration with parents. As part of Changemakers’ certification program at University of Gdansk INNOCAMP PL advised the faculty and students’ associations on organizing help to Ukraine by co-designing all activities with Ukrainians themselves so they could contribute in the most effective and empowering way. In one of the classes Ukrainian students offered an improv exercise in which a word-by-word story was created in their language and the Polish students tried to interpret it by miming the action. If anything was “lost in translation” the storytellers adapted the narrative to the physical action their Polish friends performed. They kept improvising until they were surprised by where the story took them. After reflection, they all wished that the future for both nations was co-designed in this collaborative and creative mode. The improv exercise became the metaphor for INNOCAMP PL’s approach to (re)building education in Ukraine and Poland for both nations.

Dr Adam Jagiello-Rusilowski has contributed to numerous debates, curricula designs, policy papers, recommendations and calls for project serving with his expertise such organizations as: European Parliament, Polish Rectors’ Conference, ASHOKA programs, Times Higher Education/Impact Rankings, Finish Ministry of Interior, City of Gdansk, City of Turku, City of Gotenborg and Kalmar, City of Odessa. INNOCAMP PL promotes the strategy for twinning through co-designing educational situations.





My name is Olga Blyndu, a Ukrainian student of educational psychology who participated as an  Erasmus Plus intern in theTeachers’ Academies project by INNOCAMP PL. My mentor was dr Adam Jagiello-Rusilowski whom I met as my drama professor at University of Gdansk. I learnt how to facilitate inclusive learning during his class and service learning program with General Anders School nr 57 in Gdansk. The principal Anna Listewnik showed me how integration of Ukrainian children is possible through art-based education. I also got a lot of support from Agnieszka Salamadry who was the manager of ACIIS project on inclusive education, funded by Erasmus Plus. 

On August 01, 2023, I conducted a seminar “School of Dreams”, where we practiced drama in education, discussed how to improve the education system in Ukraine and had a great time together. I really liked the fact that all the children’s opinions were heard, absolutely everything was taken into account. It was also incredibly nice that we had guests from Washington DC representing American Friends of Gdansk Theatre Foundation and from Helsinki, representing Marked and Kukunori – organizations specializing in youth mental health and emotional education in Finland.

I personally conducted games such as the handshake game, the vampire game, using ordinary objects in an extraordinary way, creating your own story with one word from a person (first in pairs and then all together), and the slipper game, which helped both children and adults feel more free, open and ready for further cooperation. After all, the important goal of the drama is to overcome insecurities and open up to the people around us.

We also created our own story with the children about how they see the school of the future, i.e. we played our own drama in education. I was responsible for 6 Ukrainian children aged 11 to 15.  We discussed all their wishes. At the beginning of the work, the children wanted to divide into 2 groups, and the younger ones created their story in about 5 minutes. Later, I also heard suggestions from the older group. We decided to combine them, because when we combined them, our drama was unsurpassed.  And the children were even more happy that they were able to work together. 

The essence of our story was as follows: their school 

The essence of our story was as follows: their dream school is the one that gives them the opportunity to travel, compare teaching systems and taste the cuisine of different countries. We brought this to life, arranged the chairs like on an airplane, and even had a personal captain of the ship who did his job very diligently. Our stop was Paris. Some children played teachers who hosted them in France, and others played students. We walked to the Eiffel Tower (by the way, one girl served as a tower), had a lesson and tasted French food. The children got into the role, spoke with accents, wore berets and were incredibly happy. I was also happy with them because we managed to create what we had planned.

The children’s parents also had a similar task. The main goal of their drama was to show the difference in teacher’s attitudes towards students in Finland and Ukraine. The first one was Ukrainian history, where the homework was to create 3 flowers out of paper, and the student made 2 very nice ones, but one was a little different. Our teacher paid more attention to the one that was worse, showing that you did well, but you could have improved this one. The student was very upset, despite the fact that 2 were good.

In Finland, it’s the other way around. The teacher asked how the child felt, what he or she felt when creating them, and only the child himself or herself expressed criticism. That is, Finnish teachers pay more attention to children’s feelings than to their work. Because the student tried, worked, and still completed the task, they need to be supported. However, in Ukraine, it turned out a little differently. 

Parents also created another comparison story. It went like this: the lesson had started, the children were very restless after the break and were not yet in the mood for the lesson. The Ukrainian teacher invited them into the classroom, tried to calm them down, and even tried to raise his voice, but it didn’t help. But the Finnish teacher, when he called the children in, asked each of them how they felt and what their mood was. And when the children started making noise, the teacher came up and asked how he could help them so that they would not interfere with the lesson. The miniature showed the difference in attitude of these teachers very well. And the one who took into account the children’s feelings, tried to help them feel good and taught openness was definitely the best.  But I am sure that we will definitely finalize this.


Having conducted this seminar, I gained invaluable experience in working with children and using drama as an ideal tool for teaching the younger generation and will be able to use it in my work in the future.I thank INNOCAMP PL and all the representatives for the opportunity to participate and work together.This project has shown me how long the road ahead is for Ukraine and how much more needs to be improved.However, I am confident that together we can create a better world for our younger generation within the school and beyond. I am incredibly pleased with this seminar and everyone who attended it.

Inclusive schools workshop in Gdansk

Adam Jagiello-Rusiłowski, Academic Director of INNOCAMP PL led an inclusion workshop, in which SP57 students took on the roles of newcomers ( but silent as in people with mutism) and conference guests from Georgia and Ukraine played caring teachers giving tours of the school. The other participants were attentive observers. After a several-minute tour, the children and young people became experts on inclusion and talked about their impressions. From their perspective, inclusion was related to the adults’ attention and concern for giving them the space to show reciprocated feelings and, above all, show their passions and strengths. From the perspective of the tour guides, visitors to a school they didn’t really know experienced an accelerated process of building trust and getting to know newcomers from the best possible side. Observers reported an inversion of Maslow’s hierarchy during this exercise, focusing on higher needs for self-actualization, then on the need for acceptance and belonging and finally only on physical needs (e.g., restroom, cafeteria). Dr. Adam Jagiełło-Rusiłowski led a lively discussion and presented Finnish achievements in educational inclusion, including providing students with a culture of mental health. An example learned well by SP57 was the emotion wheel developed by researchers at the University of Helsinki and INNOCAMP PL partner organizations: Kukunori and Marked, also from Helsinki.