Our heroes

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“You will recognize these classical melodies any time, and you will remember all the nice memories. If you hear the name of Iván Fischer or that the Budapest Festival Orchestra, that of Berci Vári, you will know who they are because you have personally met them, and this does not happen to everyone, this will remain a memory forever. This is what makes you special, and this is very important because you have worked for this.”
Andrea Csenteri, dance teacher

Béla IV Primary School, Hejőkeresztúr

“Everyone’s good at something”

Our establishment operates as a district primary school, and has taken children from three towns since 1968.
In the last few years, the number of our students has been around 200. The majority of our students (68%) come from disadvantaged backgrounds,

and start off in life with disadvantages that are nearly impossible to overcome. Our teachers are all committed to integrated education, closing the sociocultural gap and personalised development, while making sure that the interests of the other children are also safeguarded. This is not an easy job, but the results testify to the success of our efforts!

By implementing the now nationally famed Complex Instruction Program, we can give children a sense of achievement and discover the hidden skills and talents.
We firmly believe that EVERYONE’S GOOD AT SOMETHING!

Our school offers another outstanding program: Logical Board Games (strategy games). This gives children the opportunity to master these according to their level of interest and motivation on the beginner, advanced and master levels. Our school has produced winners in several events in the region, in Hungary and also internationally, including Go, backgammon, gomoku and chess.

All of our students attend dance classes. Those who participate in dance workshops are regular contributors to various events. Most school events are concluded with a “school dance”, where students, teachers, cleaning ladies – in short, all of us – dance together, led by the students of the dance workshop. We have outstanding sports achievements in football, running, athletics and relay races. These competitions also demonstrate the team spirit and dedication to the community within our school.

“(…) We were delighted with the Dancing on the Square project, since we believe that the Festival Orchestra and the FDY have an approach very similar to ours. Our programs are characterised in particular by responsibility and respect for one another, and we raise the children to embrace them.”

Head of the establishment: Mrs. Kovács née dr. Emese Nagy
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Zsuzsa Pecsét

Boarding School of the Salgótarján Primary School

“Children gain new knowledge and make new friends”

Since it was opened in 1967, our boarding school has made it its mission to promote the socialisation, personal development, learning, life-skills teaching and talent development of its students.

Our establishment cares for disadvantaged, at risk children, as well as children with special educational needs (mental disability or speech impairment, hyperkinetic behaviour disorder or other mental development disorder) of primary school age.
Our boarding school takes children with disadvantages or multiple disadvantages, whose talents often go unnoticed due to inadequate family and financial circumstances.

“Because these are disadvantaged children, many of them had never even been to Budapest and most probably would never have gotten to visit there if it hadn’t been for the Dancing on the Square project. In addition to the love of dancing, the journey itself was a great experience and a source of new knowledge, experiences and achievements, which have contributed to their personal development, the strengthening of their confidence and the creation of a realistic self-image. The children gain new knowledge and make new friends through the Dancing on the Square project, all of which has a positive impact.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Judit Varga, Klaudia Bada, Erzsébet Virágos

Borsod Primary School, Edelény

“We simply can’t miss it”

Primary school students come from the villages of Abod, Balajt, Damak, Edelény, Ládbesenyő and Szendrőlád to attend the Borsod Primary School in Edelény. The majority of students in our classes are day-boarders, which means that in addition to classes, we also play, do sports, have meals three times a day and do the homework together.

We expect our students to be industrious, fair, humane, helpful, honest and persistent, and our results in these areas are showing promise. I deliberately neglected to mention excellent academic achievements and competitive success, even though we have our fair share of both, especially when it comes to sports. At our school, students and adults alike have the space to make mistakes and have the right to be wrong, as long as they learn from it. We add colour to school with extracurricular activities like hikes, camps, visits to theatres and cinemas, and sporting events, because without these, everyday school work would be mechanical and uninspiring. In the autumn and the winter, we open the school on Sundays as well for those of our students who want to do sports or train. Of course, we still have our share of conflicts to resolve, given there are disobedient students and biased parents, but we see it as a great accomplishment that we are arriving at the same conclusions about the school and education ever more frequently. You can say and write anything. If you would like to get to know us better, come and visit any of our school events and see for yourselves the truth in the words above.

“I remember seeing the announcement for the 2014 project and thinking ‘We simply can’t miss it!’ Dance classes once a week with a ‘real’ dance instructor, a trip to Budapest and meeting the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer? And all this without the kids having to pay anything? Naturally, I immediately thought of the class I taught back then, and it wasn’t difficult to pass on my enthusiasm to them. My entire class participated in the first Dancing on the Square project, which become more and more fun each year, with regional meetings, a two-day stay in the capital, bonus activities, sleepovers at the kids’ camp and increasingly more opportunities to meet and make friends with other kids. And no one needed to miss out just because of their families’ dire straits! Everyone looked equally nice in the uniform T-shirts they received as a gift, no matter which part of the country they came from.”

Headmaster: Mrs. Attila Hernádi
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Erzsébet Slezsák

Cogito Dr. Krepuska Géza Primary School, Somoskőújfalu

“Patience, acceptance and compassion are primary”

Somoskőújfalu is situated next to the Slovakian border and since 2007 has been home to the Dr Krepuska Géza Primary School, a member institution of the Hibó Tamás Art Foundation.

Our establishment plays an important role in the life of the town. The school, surrounded by a beautiful natural environment, with its familial atmosphere, bright and spacious classrooms and small class sizes, offers a very attractive alternative to big city schools. Dance is one of the main focuses of our establishment. Folk dancing is an optional subject available from first form, and that it is hugely popular with students is no better proven by the fact that everyone is happy to take part in the lessons. The Dancing on the Square group has 19 enthusiastic members from forms 4, 5 and 8 in the program. Nearly everyone has extracurricular activities.

“This is a very heterogeneous group. There are kids from loving, supportive family backgrounds among them, but also quite a few neglected kids, unfortunately. There are also children with integration or behavioural issues.
(…) I find it important to enable my class to develop into a community, which I’m also trying to promote by organising shared activities. Promoting patience, acceptance and compassion is a top priority for me. The programme offers a great opportunity to do just that. Here they can not only gain experiences with familiar kids in a familiar setting, but can also prove themselves among unfamiliar people in unfamiliar situations.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Éva Drexler

Dózsa György Primary School, Apátfalva

“The kids have a chance to truly shine”

Apátfalva lies in Csongrád county, next to Makó, on the banks of the Maros. Our school is the largest establishment in the village, with more than 190 children and 23 teachers.
It is a small school with forms 1 through 8 – so 8 classes in total – and it belongs to the Makó School District of the Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Centre. Nearly 40% of our students come from underprivileged backgrounds, with Roma children in the majority.

One of our most important values is providing daily art education, giving our students more arts and crafts classes which, due to their analytic, visual and creative nature, help nurture learning in other subjects. The sense of achievement is inspirational and has a positive effect on students’ personal development. In addition, we also offer music education. Apátfalva is a paradise of folk traditions, and we consider it important to preserve and pass these on to upcoming generations.

We use books from the ‘Bíbic könyvek’ series (which deals with Apátfalva’s local history) to help with teaching literature, history, singing, natural science and geography. We put an emphasis on physical education classes and sports, and have created excellent conditions for playing team and individual sports. In the 2003-2004 school year, we joined a programme designed to help close the gaps and manage the talents of disadvantaged children. We are trying to overcome the students’ cultural and educational disadvantages with personalised development sessions and novel teaching methods. Our establishment is inclusive; we consider it hugely important to teach and develop children with special education needs.

“2017 was the third year in a row that we took part in the Dancing on the Square project. In 2015, when it was launched, we felt a little bit wary – we couldn’t picture what would happen, how the children would dance to classical music, what the concert would be like and whether we would have a good time. Our initial fears were soon be forgotten, though. We returned filled with fantastic experiences. It was a long and strenuous journey, but it was worth it. It was great to see all those sparkling eyes. The concert is the kids’ chance to truly shine – perhaps it is the greatest accomplishment in their lives so far. In the first place, for some it is their first trip to Budapest. Kids who are involved in the project return as changed persons, with their horizons broadened and confidence boosted. It opens up completely new vistas, and brings them closer to classical music. Children and parents tell me that they also listen to the Dancing On The Square music (…) and wear the T-shirts when they are at home. […]”

Why is the Dancing on the Square project beneficial?

Because it offers children from disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged backgrounds experiences that will inform the rest of their lives, sometimes transform their personality for the better and help build community, not to mention teach them to accept differences. I know from teachers at the school that the kids practice during breaks, help others in their group catch up on the dance routine when they fall behind after being ill, and stand up for one another and the community. They get together in breaks and talk. In addition, I have personally seen things kids do that I wouldn’t have thought possible despite having had them in my dance group for years. For example, a quiet, reserved kid suddenly starting to take the initiative. The Dancers on the Square take pride in what they are doing, and are aware of the tremendous responsibility involved in representing the school, the town and themselves. That’s what we are all about.

Headmaster: Katalin Judit Balázs
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Nóra Csomor, Andrea Csenteri

Elementary School of Bártfa Utca, Pécs

“Children can come in closer contact with arts”

Our school, the Elementary School of Bártfa Utca in Pécs, has a history dating back to over 90 years ago, and rich traditions. Currently, we have 260 students in 11 classes in forms 1 through 8. The 7 classes in the lower and 4 in the upper forms have the maximum class size allowed by law. Our school offers integrated education and has many disadvantaged children living in difficult financial circumstances. 20% of our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and 12% have special education needs. Priority areas in our establishment’s local programme include the reinvention of education and teaching work and the implementation of alternative educational methods. We are committed to learning and implementing advanced and established best practices to help improve our students’ performance and the productivity of our own work.

Our school is a place where we teach children how to co-exist with one another, free from prejudices and in the spirit of tolerance. Over the past four years, we have implemented several child-centered programs that have fundamentally changed the way our school works and educates children. We have created a student-friendly environment with our teaching arrangements, a new, tailored approach and methodology adjusted to the educational needs and requirements of the children. Our establishment is constantly searching for opportunities and partners to help promote the effective and successful development of students.

“The Dancing on the Square project is a unique opportunity for the kids to have an experience that school cannot provide for them. They can come in closer contact with the arts and share the joy of creating something together. In the last school year, 22 students have participated in the two-day event. Every week, the children were practicing with great enthusiasm and preparing for the recital. The journey and the performance was an unforgettable memory for all. For many of the children it, was their first visit to Budapest. They were very proud to have performed with the famous Festival Orchestra and that some of them were even on the stage.”

Headmaster: Mrs. Juhász née Valéria Devecser
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Mrs. Horgas née Katalin Varga

Eötvös József Primary School and Primary Art School, Vásárosnamény

“Shared achievements feel great”

Our school is situated in one of the prettiest small towns in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, Vásárosnamény.
Our settlement is in the heart of Bereg, and for this reason has been the education centre of the region for decades.

In addition to primary school teaching, we offer various forms of art education to introduce our students to the magical word of art. We have theatre performers, puppeteers, visual artists, dancers and musicians – piano, string and guitar courses. We have approximately 700 students and a staff of 71 teachers. Nearly 40% of our students come from underprivileged backgrounds, mostly from Roma families. We are committed to helping close the gap for disadvantaged students and the introduction of novel educational methods.

In addition to schoolwork, we offer a range of extracurricular activities to students, such as sports events, theatre and cinema visits, hikes and camps to make their lives richer. We believe that shared joy can positively affect the development of children’s personalities. Reducing the number of hours for teaching skill-based subjects in schools has a negative impact on the education of children. Holding 1-hour singing classes per week cannot replace the magic that classical music can work on the soul. This is why we are eager to take every opportunity to change the status quo. Our school is joining the programme now.

“We are delighted with this marvellous opportunity for our children to experience how great shared achievements can be, and how much perseverance and hard work goes into this happy feeling. (…) This is a particularly inspiring experience for me because we live very far from the capital, where the programs and events with real artistic merit take place. From our small town, Vásárosnamény, we can only rarely get to visit a great theatre performance, the Opera House, the National Gallery or the Museum of Fine Arts. Many of my students have never even been to Heroes’ Square, let alone participate in such a meaningful and valuable program. In addition to the distance, adversity also plays a role in marginalisation.”

Headmaster: Zoltán Szabó
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Mrs. László Kovács

Experience Repository School / With The Power of Humanity Foundation

“It opened up new vistas for or kids”

The Experience Repository School has children at the heart of everything it does. It is our fundamental principle to treat children as equal partners and familiarize them with democratic values. We encourage them to be accountable for their actions and raise awareness about the importance of making achievements through their own efforts.

Our school has been founded with the goal of giving children who start school at a learning disadvantage a chance. With that in mind, we created a community space years before our school was founded where children from the neighbourhood living in extreme poverty and their better-off peers can come in and have a good time together, participating in games and development activities. This is the Safe Place Community House that houses the Experience Repository School.

By launching the school, we have made a commitment to increase our efforts to provide a more structured and more carefully thought-out daily care to the children entrusted to our care. We want to maximise the sense of achievement for our children, both at and outside of school, to help boost their confidence and self-esteem.

Most kids have families that are too poor to pay for extra courses and extracurricular activities for the kids, and we are working to address this unmet need. Leisure activities for families are also scarce, leaving them with little opportunity to get out of their everyday environments. That is why our goals include giving children as many leisure experiences as possible to help broaden their horizons.

Though our school is mostly attended by children living in extreme poverty, we also have kids whose families who don’t have a daily struggle to make ends meet, but who are attached to us because of the mentors and the great community experience. We take no small pleasure from this, because we want poorer and more well-to-do, more and less capable, Roma and non-Roma children to form a community together, demonstrating that integration is not just an unattainable, distant vision. The areas surrounding the school (Gyárváros) are quite heterogeneous in terms of socio-economic background – the relatively prosperous neighbourhood is dotted with smaller segregated districts and settlements. Our school is attended mostly by primary school children. The few secondary school students we have support our work as mentors instead.

“We were already glad for the opportunity to take part in the Dancing on the Square project last year because we have a group of teenage girls who we knew we could successfully involve in such a large-scale, musical dance event. In the beginning, all that they understood from the whole thing was that there will be many dance rehearsals followed by a grand recital in Budapest that will also be screened on national TV and watched on the site by many. (…) The regular rehearsals had the power to build teams and reinforce the community. (…) Children found themselves in unfamiliar situations, prompting them to look for new solutions and utilise new-found skills, and making a wealth of new connections and friendships along the way. Without exaggeration, Dancing on the Square opened up new vistas for our children, with many new opportunities.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Emese Pintér

Ferenc Rákóczi II Hungarian-English Bilingual Baptist Primary School and Primary Art School, Téglás

“We are delighted to have been able to take students who had never been to Budapest before”

Our school is situated in Téglás in Hajdú-Bihar county. It is the only primary school institution in the town of nearly 6,500 people. Education is provided at two sites. The school has 633 students – 320 boys and 313 girls.

The students come from highly diverse social backgrounds. We have a large number of disadvantaged students (136), and 83 students with multiple disadvantages. Attending the school are 82 students from neighbouring towns and villages.

There is no ethnic minority in our town, and only a small number of Roma students. They mostly come to us from the two group homes located in our town. A growing number of the local inhabitants volunteer for foster parenting. Some of the children that they care for and have been removed from their families are also of Roma origin. We employ a staff of 58.

Our motto is “The law of the wise is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 13:14). “In accordance with our mission, we are committed to promoting the maximum development of children entrusted to our care and unlocking their full God-given potential. We want to lead by example and provide guidance to the management and the staff, using an approach that is in conformity with the teachings of the Bible.” We have the means and resources to make all this happen, and are glad to work for an establishment whose management is open to new initiatives to enable our students to get the most diverse and effective education possible.

In the upper forms, children study in proper classrooms. In lower forms, IT classes are held in a special classroom which is also used for conversing with foreign children and athletes in English using Skype. This course is provided at the initiative of the English language work group of the upper forms under the ERASMUS+ programme with the participation of five countries.
Nothing shows better what a great job they have done than their previous participation with 6 countries under the COMENIUS program. Every two years, we host students from our twin towns in Poland and Germany, and in the alternate years, our children go visit these countries to relax, build relationships and practice the language.

For many years, we have been conducting development work in line with the Integrative Education Model, both in the lower and upper forms. We have visited several schools to observe best practices and once also hosted other schools to help with this. Each year, we organise several projects for the participation of disadvantaged children. We have established workshops including maths, puppeteering, theatre, ballet, arts and crafts, eco, Powerpuff Girls traffic skills and, for the upper forms, the Safe 4Cycle cycling club.

Our school applies for a lot of useful tenders, and as a result, our classrooms have become increasingly prettier, better equipped, more cheerful and more child-oriented. Each is equipped with computers and has Internet access to make learning more efficient and exciting for students. Thanks to the Social Infrastructure Operative Program, we also have 14 interactive whiteboards. Classrooms without one of those use very functional projectors.

“In preparation for the ECO SCHOOL tender, our eco group was created in September 2010 to coordinate activities related to sustainability and environmental awareness. We are committed to shaping student’s environmental awareness and promoting a responsible and proactive attitude toward the environment.” At the initiative of one of our staff, our school has also been awarded the “Bird-Friendly School” title.

One of the strongest suits of our school is talent development, and we have received accreditation as an accredited excellent talent point for the outstanding achievements of our English language, drawing and the Powerpuff Girls traffic workshop. Currently, the maths workshop is on the way to earning the same distinction. In 2017 we also received the “National Talent Point School” title.

Students in art classes participate successfully in concerts and talent competitions as well as in county, national and international drawing contests. They are in contact and organise regular activities with the Szatmárnémeti Art School. For 25 years now, we have been organising the “Jack and the Beanstalk” folktale-telling competition that has grown from a county contest into a national event.

“We are delighted to have been able to take students who had never been to Budapest, or seen the Danube and the bridges across the river before, or who only knew of Heroes’ Square from hearsay. Many of them had never heard about Csillebérc. The children liked the leisure and skills-development group activities very much.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Ildikó Iván

Ferenc Rákóczi II Primary, Secondary and Vocational School, Szécsény

“This event has become a part of our school life”

Our school is located in Nógrád county, in the city of Szécsény. Szécsény is a beautiful small town with pretty and unique buildings – the Forgách palace and the crooked Fire Tower, or the Catholic church where Rákóczi himself used to pray, speak for themselves. Our institution was named after him.
Our school has a friendly, family atmosphere. We offer interesting extracurricular study groups to introduce students to the likes of lace-making, arts and crafts, basketball, floorball, football, modern dance, swimming, choral singing, recorder playing, and board games such as draughts, Nine Men’s Morris, chess, mancala and reversi.

The school provides a variety of both outdoor and indoor activities, such as theatre, opera, zoo visits, a horse-riding course, scavenger hunts, scientific presentations, intra-school competitions, student-teacher games, paper collection and ‘Haunted School’. We try to take every opportunity to create as many different activity programmes as possible.

“Our school has been a participant in the Dancing on the Square project right from the start. This event and the preceding preparations have become a part of our school life. It is our experience that children also take the preparation increasingly seriously and are looking forward to the event. Ours being a disadvantaged region, you can imagine what a tremendous experience participation in a nation-wide event and being hosted during their stay in Budapest is for students joining the program. In addition to the experiences, I would also like to point out the educational merit of the event. It provides sufficient motivation to learn to dance, even for those who are otherwise not interested in this activity. It also promotes tolerance and communication. The preparation and the recital requires discipline and appreciation of the work.”

Headmaster: Gergely Pancsovai
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Péter Pásztor

Hétvezér Baptist Primary School, Kindergarten and Primary Art School

“A dream come true”

Hétvezér Baptist Primary School, Kindergarten and Primary Art School has been operating since 1 September 2014. Our school did not previously offer an arts education, although we did house two art schools to provide our students with a broader educational spectrum.

Tiszaszalka is located in the Bereg region of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, close to the Ukrainian border. There’s just one kindergarten and one school in the town. Since 2007, the school has been operating as an association in which seven local municipalities (Lónya, Mátyus, Tiszaadony, Tiszavid, Barabás, Vámosatya and Tiszaszalka) agree upon how to operate the schools. At that time, primary education had stopped completely in Vámosatya, and 5th-8th form education disappeared from Tiszaadony and Lónya. School buses take the children from these villages to the central school in Tiszaszalka.

The villagers care about the establishments, since every Christmas we give a performance in every town and we also commemorate every holiday in our school with performances open to all. Thanks to Hungarian Baptist Aid, we also try and help out socially. Every December, children receive a shoe box of presents, and every year we make donations of clothing and food packages to every family. We also have a Dutch project, where every summer 30-40 volunteers arrive for two weeks to help families in need with painting, repair work, cleaning, and also with donating clothes, furniture and other things. Our region badly needs these, since a scarcity of job vacancies combined with a poorly-educated population mean the unemployment rate is extremely high.

Not only do our school’s staff fulfil their required workloads, but they are also part parent, part health care specialist; if required they help families with administrative work and if needed they even wash and iron the student’s clothes or make sure the children have breakfast (so they have a chance to eat). This is what our school is like, but we love it a lot!

“(…) The internationally renowned Festival Orchestra offers children in a disadvantaged region the opportunity to experience the sunny side of life. It’s a dream come true! They can listen from close up to sophisticated works of music played by wonderful people on fabulous instruments.”

Headmaster: Kornélia Csató
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: György Auksz

Hunyadi Mátyás Primary School and Primary Art School

“Dance, as a community experience, is a very important enabler of cohesion”

True to the words of Albert Szent-Györgyi, our staff is dedicated to raising young people inspired by regular studying, thirst for knowledge, the pleasure of a job well done, the joy of creation and the pleasure of sports to deliver their very best.

For the personality development of our students it’s imperative that they develop a set of values and motives that will guide them along the way to progress and prosperity.

Our top priorities include

  • providing each student at our organization with optimal development adjusted to their skills and capabilities and helping them master basic skills and learning techniques;
  • providing advanced-level education with an increased number of class hours for gifted students to help them gain more extensive and in-depth knowledge;
  • ensuring that the school’s function of providing equal opportunities is given top priority;
  • preparing our students for further education and the challenges of an information society;
  • providing them with moral points of references.

Hunyadi Mátyás school opened in 1975. Over the past 4 decades, our school has stood for high standards of education, excellent sports and academic achievements, quality events and meaningful traditions. The name and structure of our establishment has changed many times over the years.

Advanced PE classes offered from the start gave many celebrities to our city. Though these classes have lost some of their popularity, we continue to have outstanding sports achievements. This school year, we have 442 students.

Advanced English classes started in 2013. Five weekly classes of English allow for intensive language learning. The advanced drama and dance classes, offered since two years ago, are designed to ensure the mental and social development of children.

The management and staff are committed to talent development. On 11 October 2014, we received the “ACCREDITED EXCELLENT TALENT POINT” title in a ceremony.
We provide development and remedial sessions to children with learning issues in accordance with statutory regulations. Integrated sessions for students with special education needs are supported by special education teachers, speech therapists and psychologists.

We provide our students with a range of exercise and sports opportunities in the form of sports clubs and workshops, as well as DSE sports groups. Our establishment can boast a choir and exciting activities for children organised by the Student Council.

Our work is supported by the “For Our Children” Foundation of the Hunyadi Mátyás School. The annual “Hunyadi Carnival” has strong traditions at our establishment and involves the performance of dance recitals. By learning the dance routines, our students can experience the joy and power of shared creation.

Dance – as a community experience – is a very important enabler of cohesion and can help promote values such as acceptance, tolerance and cooperation. A group of former students made their debut at the Debrecen Flower Carnival and won a special prize, then later represented Hungary at the Eurogym in Finland.

Head of the establishment: Csaba Hok
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Mrs. Markovics née Enikő Szabó
Team leader teacher: Mrs. Komlós née Mária Oláh

Igazgyöngy Foundation, Berettyóújfalu

“The Dancing on the Square project is one of our most important extracurricular activities”

Our establishment is a primary art school for six villages in the district of Berettyóújfalu, with around 550 students every year. The majority (70%) of our students come from underprivileged circumstances, and more than 300 children, mostly Roma, have multiple disadvantages. Igazgyöngy’s profile is about education through arts and crafts. Our craft workshop is internationally-recognised; it brings in over 500 prizes a year from Hungarian and international fine arts competitions. Our educational methods have sparked interest in Hungary and beyond. It should also be noted that the foundation that runs the school is developing a model for integration through a complex and coordinated intervention plan for education. Based on the results, this up-coming model looks promising.

“This will be the third time that our children get to show themselves in Budapest. The Dancing on the Square project is one of our most important extracurricular activities and the children are already looking forward to it. Unfortunately, there are very few school-related workshops or activities that involve classical music, and children’s knowledge about music and instruments is also extremely limited. (…) During dance classes children can learn a number of tolerant and cooperative behaviours.”

Head of school: Nóra L. Ritók
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Tamás Veress

InDaHouse Hungary Program (Social Innovation Foundation)

“Helping them see the world in more colour”

The InDaHouse Hungary programme of the Social Innovation Foundation has nearly 120 volunteers dedicated to ensuring that children living in Ináncs, Hernádszentandrás, Pere and Hernádbűd – four tiny villages in Borsod county – can lead full and happy lives. This is done through skills development, education and empowerment to gain various experiences. The children live in poor families, in villages of a couple of hundred inhabitants, at a distance of about 10 kilometres from the nearest city. Everyone is trying to escape from this neighbourhood, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who finished high school or any higher education.

This is one of the reasons why it makes such a big difference that our volunteers visit these places each weekend to spend time with the kids. Kids between the ages of 0 and 6 are visited by early childhood development experts at their homes to help with the engagement of parents and older siblings. We hold individual and group sessions for school children and organise camps over the summer breaks. Long-term commitment is one of our core values. We can only do meaningful work by staying with them until they complete their studies. Children participating in our programme show a strong interest in music and dance. The dance camp has been one of our most popular regular camps.

“The Dancing on the Square project offer the ideal opportunity for them to meet children coming from different backgrounds, see the world in more colour, and see a new and unfamiliar segment of life.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Fruzsina Benkő

Kölcsey Ferenc Primary School and Primary Art School, Sajószöged

“A new perspective on community building”

Sajószöged, where our school is situated, lies between Miskolc and Tiszaújváros, and performs district education. As a district school, it provides general knowledge and art education to children within the district as its core tasks. Our establishment has eight forms, with one class per form, 200 students and one member school in Muhi. At our member school, children in forms 1 through 4 attend mixed classes before they go on to study in Sajószöged. Education is provided in the form of whole-day care to ensure a more even distribution of daily workload for the children.

Considering the town’s location, there are relatively few students who, in the absence of the right family background, demonstrate all the shortcomings of today’s social reality in Hungary. They require even more attention, care, patience and love than the average. Our school also needs to address this problem, and the staff is committed to exploring and unlocking children’s full potential, despite undesirable environmental impacts and unfavourable personality traits, through their pedagogical skills and empathy.

At our institution, we spend more time than ever on skill-building and realising and managing talent. We offer a great variety of options, and provide our students the opportunity to try their hands in several areas, according to their interests. Our disciplines include theatre, football, majorette, choir, swimming, as well as English and German languages.

The core competence of our establishment is to provide basic art education including musical education, with string, keyboard and wind courses at the preparatory, basic and advanced levels, as well as dance education. Dance education integrated into daily P.E. lessons adds to the general knowledge base of students and gives them the opportunity to participate at various events and competitions. This, school year we have three groups that have won a gold medal at dance contests.

We try to take every opportunity to ensure that students can participate in as many activities as possible, which is why we particularly welcomed the Dancing on the Square project. The dance group consists of students from various forms (4 through 6) who look forward to the upcoming new and unfamiliar event with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm.
In 2012, weekly dance lessons were introduced as part of the daily P.E. classes. This uplifting system has provided each child the opportunity to gain an insight into the world of dancing.

We are committed to naturally instilling a love of and familiarity with art into each child and to helping them discover their competitive dance talents. Our establishment has participated in several qualifying contests, winning gold and silver medals.

“In addition to regular school dance recitals, the Dancing on the Square project provides our students with additional added value, which not only enhances their dance skills, but also gives a new perspective on community building.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Mrs. Katlan née Andrea Jakab

Kölcsey Ferenc Primary School, Pap

“All of the 4th formers signed up”

Our school, Kölcsey Ferenc Primary School in Pap, was created as an association of schools from four villages (Aranyosapáti, Lövőpetri, Nyírlövő, Pap) in the North-East. These villages are situated in a disadvantaged region of Hungary. This year, our establishment has 131 students.

The disadvantaged status of our village is chiefly the result of the high rate of unemployment. Our school is looking to overcome the existing shortcomings and raise children to be intelligent and creative. To this end, we organise a large number of extracurricular activities for our students and do our best to expose them to as many experiences as possible to broaden their horizons. This is why several years ago we introduced music, arts and dance education to help students explore and cultivate these forms of art locally. At our school, music and dance go hand in hand and have been a source of joy for a great many children, and their families throughout the years.

Thanks to talent development and remedial sessions, 100% of 8th-formers go on to study at a local secondary school. We take pride in having many former students who later obtain college or university degrees.

Nearly all of our students receive some form of art education. They enjoy these classes. When the opportunity arose to take part in the Dancing on the Square project for 2018, every single 4th-former all signed up for the rehearsals. They have been attending these with great enthusiasm ever since and they will hopefully continue to do so. Knowing the dedication of Angéla Majoros, the teacher in charge of induction, there’s no doubt in my mind.

“In the last school year, I was delighted to learn that our member school in Nyírlövő joined the Dancing on the Square project through Angéla Majoros’s initiative. It gave me a wonderful feeling to see the excitement demonstrated by my students during their preparations and following the successful performance.”

Headmaster and contact for the Dancing on the Square project: András Barta

Molnár Ferenc Bilingual Primary School, Budapest, District 9

“It was extraordinary to see how this experience shaped the attitude of my students toward one another and themselves”

Molnár Ferenc Bilingual Primary School is located in the middle of the 9th district, in the busy, central part of Ferencváros, at Mester u. 19. It was built in 1902 and can boast having the great Hungarian poet Attila József as a former student.

Currently, we have 609 children attending our school. Our approach is characterised by inclusivity, with students of various nationalities including Egypt, Syria, Turkey, China, Ghana, France, Russia and the Czech Republic. In addition to nationality, there’s also a great variety of different financial and cultural backgrounds. Our students include children both from optimal socio-cultural backgrounds and those with multiple disadvantages. It is our goal to raise the children to be open to different cultures, ways of life, customs and religions in society. We are working toward our students becoming grounded, creative, tolerant adults with good interpersonal skills.

“As a head teacher, it was extraordinary to see how the experience of having dance rehearsals together, the regional meeting and the two-day event in Budapest shaped the attitude of my students to one another and themselves. The kids’ approach to Dancing on the Square has come a long way.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Zsuzsanna Gál

Nagykun Reformed Primary School, Karcag

“They were all given a sense of achievement”

The oldest and most illustrious school building in the city was built by the Reformed church in 1813-18 under Kálvin út 2. Despite its long history of Christian values, it has a fresh and modern approach to scientific education. The spirit of love and togetherness guides or everyday activities. We help raise children in cooperation with the parents, by instilling Christian values. Each year, we take a number of new students. Currently, we have 474 students. We employ modern education methods, as reflected in the furnishing of our classrooms and special subject rooms.

In addition to the basic curriculum, we provide foreign language, maths and computing fundamentals classes in the lower primary forms. Other special features include swimming courses, advanced math classes, religion and ethics education and folk dance classes. Students in upper primary forms can attend advanced English classes, the preparatory course for the basic-level language exam, pre-secondary school preparatory course, sports workshops and the choir. We also have various talent workshops. Our school has maintained its accreditation as an Accredited Excellent Talent Point for its fifth year. The key concept of our programme is TALENT. Talent is managed under a complex program.

The accomplishments of our students at local, regional and national competitions testify to our school’s effectiveness in teaching and educating. Our students score far higher at national reading comprehension and mathematics competence tests than the national average. Of our students, 98% go on to study at secondary schools, with 70% at high schools and vocational schools, and 2% at specialised trade schools. We embrace the educational values of environmental awareness and sustainability. We are the holder of the ETERNAL ECO SCHOOL title.

Our folk tradition preservation programme offers children a wide variety of activities. Our approach involves a lot of age-specific features, we play a lot of games, employ theatre pedagogy methods and learning methodology.

The description of our Class 4

Students have appropriate social backgrounds. Their families live comfortably and their parents take good care of them. Parents can be relied on, are cooperative and support the school’s work. Students are proactive, and most of them like learning. Their conduct is good and they are respectful of adults.
Nearly half of the class participate in some extracurricular activity, including sports training (basketball, wrestling, swimming, riding, football, chess) and music lessons. They also enjoy exercise and hiking. They are open to new things and experiences. Last year, they took part in the Dancing on the Square activities as second and third formers.

“As a newly appointed form master, I got the impression last school year that they were looking forward to developments about the dance very much. After we applied to participate in the program, they were preparing for the rehearsals and were eager to see the new choreography. Since we videotaped each rehearsal, kids who missed it could watch and practice the routine, and the others helped them. They have become more helpful and tolerant and knew they could count on one another. Music, dancing and the time spent together helped forge a stronger bond between the kids. (…) Week by week, they could feel the improvement, becoming better and better. Those who were less skilled were encouraged by the others, who also shared in the joy over their successes. They were all given a sense of achievement, buoying their self-esteem.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Mrs. Takács née Anikó Csikós

Premontrean Daycare, Zsámbék

“Here, everyone wants to be good”

This school was established for those whose families find themselves in financial difficulties and cannot afford to enrol their children in a Budapest or other, more distant, secondary school. We want to give everybody the chance for a secondary education. We would like there to be no neglected children and young people in and around Zsámbék.

While we do not expect our students to be practising Christians, theology is still mandatory to make them at least aware of how a Christian sees the world and why they live according to God’s orders.
Our students’ performance varies widely based on their origins and family backgrounds, so we set differentiated standards for all. The more talented can acquire vocational certificates. Those who do poorly, however, study in a specialised way in which we give their own progress the value and respect it deserves.

“Dancing on the Square project is highly beneficial for the children, because we can include disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to participate in organised community activities like the Dancing on the Square rehearsals. For these disadvantaged kids, Dancing on the Square rehearsals are like paid workshops, giving them the opportunity to practice moving in sync to the music. A similar paid session would cost a small fortune that most families simply can’t afford. Each rehearsal brings disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children together, breaking down the walls that had separated them before, and acting as a strong community building power. Rehearsals are like long-lasting and regular teambuilding trainings. The programme provides children with the motive to practice and learn the routine if they don’t want to embarrass themselves. It also teaches them responsibility by impressing on the kids that children from all over the country will be coming to perform together in front of a large audience. They need to learn to be focused to perfect dancing to the music in harmony with them through the rehearsals and practicing. This is a great experience and does them a great deal of good, because it brings out the good in them. And here, everyone wants to be good. Next, they have the dance camp to look forward to, which brings new excitement, expectations, joy, happiness and learning. Friendships are made, memories are created, shaping their worldview, giving them a set of values and inspiring deeper thinking. At school and at after-school day-care they can talk about their experiences. What more do you need?”

Head of the establishment: Katalin Juhász
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Krisztina Vasvári

Széchenyi István Primary School, Szigethalom

“Everyone here is working for one and the same goal, and with pleasure”

Our school is situated in Pest county, about 25 kilometres from Budapest. We have 509 students in classes of 25. After classes, kids can stay with one of the seven after-school care groups or one study hall group. In addition to the curriculum, there are also various workshops for the children such as English, drawing, dance, floorball and football. We also offer remedial and talent development sessions in Hungarian language, mathematics, English language, drawing, music and P.E. Our chief goal is to provide a solid knowledge base to our students tailored to their individual capabilities,

using a variety of methods and activities. Our pedagogical approach is characterised by an activity focus. Since 2004, we have provides integrated education to students with special education needs and integration, learning and behavioural issues. For years, we have been organising school, district and county competitions for our students to put their skills to the test. The fact that we won the Flower School, Eternally Eco School and, most recently, the Happy School titles testifies to our dedication. Keeping existing school traditions and creating new ones is also important for us; we have the Advent market, the Széchenyi week, the Gala and project days just to name a few.

“Some of our little dancers wavered every once in a while and repeatedly needed to be encouraged not to let their hard work go to waste. In this situation, the regional meeting in Zsámbék came in handy. In addition to the professional organisation and hospitality, the board game session should be noted, which our little group enjoyed the most. Even the most withdrawn kid soon relaxed … everyone here is working for one and the same goal, and with pleasure.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Orsolya Bognár

The Bükkösd Member Primary School of the Szentlőrinc Primary School

“Every time they can get out of the village is a great experience for them”

Our school in Bükkösd teaches German as a minority language. The school’s educational spirit is inspired by the acceptance of multiculturalism. The Bükkösd school was the first school in Hungary to adopt and successfully realise the Comenius 2000 quality assurance programme.

The school plays a decisive role in the public education and cultural life of its district. Children, and the towns, eagerly await the many events the school puts on each year. The school considers it important to preserve and care for these traditions. The 4H Club has been operating at the school since 1994. Its members engage in tradition-preserving workshops and gaming afternoons, and its income is used to support the winners of its competitions.

The class participating in the Dancing on the Square project has 19 students, 13 of them with multiple disadvantages. Most of them live in very difficult circumstances and have unemployed parents who try make ends meet using social benefits. Sometimes the parents manage to get a job, but only in a more remote town. As their form master, I am trying to come up with various activities and trips for them.

“Every time they can get out of the village, spend two full days together, sleep in a camp and not at home is a great experience for them. The programme offers an excellent opportunity for them to form a more closely-knit community, to make new friends, and to get to know famous works of music.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Mrs. Kuti née Diána Lang

The Member School in Nyírlövő of the Kölcsey Ferenc Primary School in Pap

“A chance for a life-changing experience”

There are 8 classes for the 2017/2018 school year. Students in forms 1 through 4 attend the establishment in Lövőpetri, while students in forms 5 through 8 to the one in Nyírlövő. Students in the lower forms travel to the next town, then return at noon together with the day-boarders from the Lövőpetri school for the day-school sessions. We also have several children from Aranyosapáti.

Schoolchildren in the neighbourhood come from various social, cultural and financial backgrounds, and the teaching and education provided by our establishment is adjusted to reflect this. We are dedicated to helping close the gap for disadvantaged students, both in and outside the classroom, and also focus on the development of their talents. In order to reduce the drop-out rates of children with multiple disadvantages we provide help, remedial sessions and afternoon assistance sessions for each subject. The development of children with integration, learning or behavioural issues are undertaken by primary school teachers and specialised teachers.

In addition to sharing basic information, the teachers are also responsible for applying a differentiated, personalised equal opportunity educational approach involvingthe development of key competencies, supporting talented students, the communication of different cultures, the understanding, appreciation and love of local characteristics, traditions and values.

The atmosphere and methodological diversity of the teaching and educational work help create a success-oriented approach and enable students to meet our consistently high standards.

In order to address the issues of disadvantaged children, we have excellent relations with child protection specialists and local government workers.

Leisure activity sessions, school projects (School Week, Carnival, Children’s Day), school tradition events (Health Day, Santa Claus day, Christmas party, Student Day) and joint events with art schools offer an optimal opportunity for the personal development of the children.

Responsibilities related to helping students with career choices are included in the plans for the form master and the curricula for the subjects. Pre-high school preparatory sessions in Hungarian language and literature and mathematics represent key priorities when planning the school year. From the 5th form up, children participate in career orientation programs.

Our establishment has joined the Happiness Class programme of the World is a Better Place with You Foundation. We would like to hold such sessions, designed to help children overcome challenges, develop problem-solution skills and improve mental and physical health, both in the lower and upper forms.

“Participation in a Dancing on the Square concert can be a life-changing experience and goes a long way toward fulfilling children’s wishes.”

Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Mrs. Kovács née Kovács Tímea

The Sényő Member Institution of the Ibrányi Árpád Fejedelem Primary School

“The programme helps boost the children’s self confidence”

Our town Sényő is situated in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, 13 km from Nyíregyháza.
Our village boasts many charming, flowery courtyards. The area is famous for its vibrant community life. There are many activities organised by local institutions here to enrich the lives of the locals. Children and senior citizens are a top priority for the town administration.

In addition to the events and activities, the town also boasts a fabulous dance group. Football (county-level first league) also has a special place in the life of the town and, from the youngest to the oldest, men, women and children all come to cheer for the games. From kindergarten age up, there are practices and games all year round as part of the Bozsik program. The primary school, kindergarten and nursery are all housed in the same building, which has recently undergone a complete renovation.

The primary school and the Integrated Community and Service Space function as the centres of community life.
Our parent school being the Ibrányi Árpád Fejedelem Primary School, together with schools in other towns we belong to the Nyíregyház School District of the Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Centre.

We are a small school with 104 students, forms 1 through 8, and 13 teachers. We implement the Complex Instruction Program for all forms. Ours is a school with a familial atmosphere where children can feel safe and happy while they keep adding to their knowledge. There is a strong focus on upholding traditions. We offer a number of activities and events to brighten the school year (St Michael’s Day celebrations, St Martin’s Day celebrations, Santa Clause eve, Christmas festivities, visits to senior people, a carnival with quality performances, open school afternoons for kindergarteners, swimming, health week, lego programming workshop, mass sports, handball, sponge handball, folk dancing, drawing, choir, modern dancing, paper collection, day trips, summer camps, football, national holiday, etc.). Through the town’s dance group, many children have had the opportunity to come in contact with modern and folk dance.

“I firmly believe that this programme boosts kids’ confidence, gives them a sense of achievement, which is essential for their personal development, and takes them to places where otherwise they would not be able to go. It also brings classical music much closer to the students. This was further reinforced by the hospitality given by the Budapest Festival Orchestra in Budapest and the regional rehearsal in Téglás. Moreover, the opportunity to try the instruments was a unique experience for them.”

Head of the member institution: Mrs. László Pataki
Contact for the Dancing on the Square project: Mrs. Mikulás née Tímea Bakos

Van Helyed (You Have a Place) Foundation, Ózd

“Incredible energies have been unleashed in our children”

For four years, 70 participants – from 16 classes and from five schools – have been regularly visiting the Van Helyed Studio every day after school and during school breaks. They are provided with personalised development in education, culture, sports, talent development, music and creative art modules, as well as services that neither their schools nor their families could give them. These services enable and prepare them to perform better at school, and prepare them for continuing their studies at the most appropriate kind of primary, secondary or special vocational school that is best suited to their skills.

Both the children and the adults in the families are engaged. For siblings, we offer development sessions and meaningful leisure activities and, for the parents, free school interactive lectures and counselling. At the schools, we are in daily contact with the teachers to follow and promote the children’s progress.

As a result, all our students of eligible age are admitted to high schools, producing a further education rate of 100%. The compared grade point averages of students at our Studio consistently exceed that of segregated schools. Integration into the secondary school of choice and closing the gap is successful even for our students in the six plus six forms. There are no year repetitions and there is a trend towards improvement in their grades.

We are from Ózd, one of Hungary’s poorest and most segregated towns. Last year, around 10 of our students participated in the Dancing on the Square project. Our group consisted mostly of girls aged 13 and 14, with only one boy. Although they come from different schools and classes, everyone knows each other well, since they had time to bond over the activities and sessions we have organised.

“The conclusions from last year’s Dancing on the Square concert, the great deal of experiences, new relationships and the shared moments, all prompt us to participate again. (…) The weekly dance rehearsals, the great atmosphere of the camp, the recital itself and the summer camp in Hollókő all energised our kids to no end. Moreover, it was not just the children that benefitted from this, but us, the teachers, and other members of the staff as well.”

Contacts for the Dancing on the Square project: András Ruszó, Mrs. András Ruszó, Viktória Antal