“It is important for children to feel their own culture”

Kata Balaton is smiling in every photo. His voice smiles, the sentences described. After the time spent with him, the children, the adults, smile and play liberatedly. What’s the secret? It is worth getting to know the folk dance teacher, the researcher of educational sciences, and Do It! the dreamer and activity of the program. One of the secrets is certainly the amazing momentum that drives him and always motivates him to do something, to try something new. Already as a child he was surrounded by the world of play, dance, songs. It also takes advantage of this in its pedagogical method, which every educator should be familiar with and apply.

The basic pillars of Kata Balatoni’s method are the principles of Zoltán Kodály, the theorems of experiential pedagogy and the tradition-preserving approach. He considers the sincere experience important, because he who experiences it will pass it on. It has been operating since 2010 a program, in which he develops the children ‘s mobility skills in a playful way, learning about traditional folk games, while also mastering the basics of Hungarian folk dance. Meanwhile, movement coordination, play skills, rhythmics, musical hearing develop, but it also affects social skills. In the course of understanding, accepting, living and applying the approach, both the teacher and the child gain experiences, experiences and knowledge that are integrated into their daily lives almost unnoticed. It helps them in inner development, self-knowledge, provides the opportunity to experience emotions through self-expression.

“As a person of today’s age, in the age of the rapid flow of information, it is very important that our identity, traditions and roots are preserved,” says Kata Balatoni.

– That’s how you put it! it also complies with traditional values ​​and state-of-the-art pedagogical principles. I didn’t want to make a big dream come true. I simply planted a few tulip bulbs and grew into a flowered world where space is given to the educator, the child, the parent, the college student – today I can truly say that all over the world. Thanks to the program, culture and pedagogy will be given a new space in teacher training, in the lives of practicing teachers, in the field of children’s sessions through our further trainings, conferences, programs or even our publications and tools, said the folk dance teacher.

“I started dealing with Ovis and primary school students twenty years ago,” says Kata Balatoni, when asked how the program started to develop. – The smaller they are, the more receptive they are. I believe what Kodály also said: “Music education begins in the womb.” I got my first degree at the Hungarian College of Dance. I danced, sang, played, taught with instinct for a long time, but I constantly found myself facing issues that aroused a desire to raise my own and pedagogical experiences to the level of awareness. I am very interested in every detail of what I have experienced in my work. I started to analyze what happens to children, what processes take place in them in addition to mastering our own culture and dancing. I felt like there was something here, said Kata Balaton.

Kata Balaton: It is not the production that matters, but the fact that the children feel their own culture Photo: Máté Bach

He then went on to study and began to study education. He realized that in recent decades, in institutional systems, folk dance has become a production-oriented genre. This method — that is, its own method — broke with the production-oriented approach.

– It is not the production that matters, but to feel for themselves what is happening there, their culture, their identity. Have the children sing, play for their own pleasure, and develop. It is very important to teach children to play, to communicate with each other. The essence of the program is that through Hungarian culture, folk games, folk songs and folk dance, educators can have tools that they can use effectively together with general pedagogy in the processes of skill and ability development, or even in the process of specific knowledge transfer, he explained. who is the folk dance teacher.

Kata Balatoni started working with adults eleven years ago. You can work with thousands of educators each year, which means you can reach tens of thousands of children with the approach it conveys. In parallel, he also deals with children, which he considers important because he can learn a lot from them.

From Kata Balaton, adults get a new approach, because there is no scenario, no limit. Each game is a tool spiced with experiences.

In addition, he says that his knowledge can be integrated into all subjects, and the repository of skills development is also very rich. Most well-known rhymes and games can be good for developing mathematical concepts, but they can teach in environmental lessons, maybe improve vocabulary, improve memory. Responsible games are perfect communication training exercises; and with motion-tool games, they help develop logical and strategic thinking. Community and social competencies can also be strengthened during games.

Kata Balatoni recently received the Apáczai Csere János Award and the Women for Hungary Award. The reasoning of the latter included that he carried out his activities not only in Hungary, but also provided online content for the education of children to Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin and even the whole world.
– Indeed, in the Advent period, the connection of the world of Hungarian culture and pedagogy in the online space started with great success. More than a thousand registered for an in-service training that covered the Advent period on how to present our traditional culture in kindergartens, schools, and in Hungarian institutions and communities around the world.

From Buenos Aires to Mezőpanit, Hungarian teachers worked together with more than a thousand participants.

In cooperation with the Rákóczi Association, we organized free programs for foreign teachers. On January 15, I selected from the games of the Carpathian Basin, this time the games of the Highlands, Transcarpathia, Transylvania and Vojvodina were performed – Kata Balatoni introduced me to the great performance.

He last held a course on January 29, attended by two thousand foreign educators. In the program, they could learn about the customs, games and songs of the spring festival from carnival to Pentecost. The folk dance teacher is also planning additional trainings, which will not only be available free of charge to foreign teachers.

– The goal of my life is to be able to give as much as possible to Hungarian education, and not only in Hungary, but also among Hungarians abroad. If we want strong communities, a strong nation, our identity is the key to that. It is important that as a child, there are experiences in the culture of our own nation that will be our roots and handrails, says Kata Balatoni.

Source: Magyar Nemzet by magyarnemzet.hu.

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