The youngest Tuzlans rarely have the opportunity to experience first-hand what they learn about in the classroom. Driven by the desire to educate schoolchildren about Tuzla’s rich geological past, NERDA has organised educational outings to the Tuzla Archaeological Park in cooperation with primary schools.
“There are no museums in Tuzla, kids don’t have a place where they could learn about this town’s past,” says Zlata Odobašić of the NERDA Development Agency, explaining that the only museum in Tuzla is the Museum of Eastern Bosnia, which is currently experiencing financial difficulties.
Educational outings, as well as the restoration of the Archaeological Park, are supported by the Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP. In cooperation with the City of Tuzla, practical and quality education for the youngest citizens about the geo-historical heritage of Tuzla has been recognised as one of the priorities in this local community.
The aim of the educational outings to the Archaeological Park is to introduce youngsters to the historical heritage of their town so that they can help reclaim it and save it from oblivion. With the help of the lecturer Senad Begović youngsters learned about the first dwellings, old salt production methods, and production of jewellery and tools. In addition, they learned about Tuzla’s recent history and artists from this town.
When asked how he liked the outing to the Archaeological Park, ten-year-old Emir said: “I really like it here! I love past, history, puzzles, space...” – “That’s why they call him Emir – the Space Boy,” his friend Tarik chimed in jokingly, but Emir continued excitedly: “Most of what I heard about jewellery production was unknown to me.”
Their schoolmate Merjem says she likes to watch documentaries and finds it interesting to learn about her town’s past: “At school we learned that there used to be the Pannonian Sea here. At the workshop I also learned how our planet had been formed, as well as about the history of Tuzla and local painters. I will tell all my friends to come here!”
Her peers Mersad and Harun recounted what a salting pan is used for: “You place lumps of rock salt here, light a fire underneath, and then it evaporates and what remains is what we use as salt.”
Teacher from the Primary School “Centre” Jasmina Mehmedović says that outdoor classes are always good, and what children learn here is “knowledge that has practical value.”
“What we’ve heard here is something that we learn about as part of the school subject My Environment – about the Pannonian Sea, salting pans, etc. It is important to plan classes around topics. Children will not master a lesson if things are presented to them in fragments, but rather when they are organised around a particular topic. Today we have agreed that our next outdoor class will be an art class in front of the pile dwellings,” adds Mehmedović.
The youngsters donated the drawings they had made during the outing to the Archaeological Park, asking the park staff to exhibit them for future visitors.