International Children’s Day is a day that honors children and promotes their welfare. Today it is observed worldwide in nearly 80 countries, including the United States. While nations vary on how and when they celebrate the holiday, Slovakia and many other countries ordinarily mark International Children’s Day on June 1.
This year, the Lutheran Academy decided to commemorate International Children’s Day with a special celebration Saturday, June 13.
In Slovakia as in the United States, one could argue that most children today already enjoy an abundance of “stuff”—including toys and treats throughout the year. At the Lutheran Academy, we asked ourselves, what could we do that would be original, memorable, and beautiful? In the face of the abundance they already have, what might our children appreciate? The answer? A special experience.
Thus, the Academy partnered with the Center for Christian Education and Zdravá Turčianska Záhradka (a health-and-welfare organization dedicated to improving and protecting the health and wellness of residents of Slovakia’s Turiec region) to organize a special Children’s Day event. Held in Martin’s Memorandum Square and welcoming Academy students, families, staff and leadership, and the general public, the event attracted a crowd of 400 people.
Children’s Day in Martin included music, attractions, sports competitions, food, and fellowship. Children enjoyed water football, a bouncy castle and trampoline, face painting, and more. Zdravá Turčianska Záhradka supplied nutritious beverages and arranged for a variety of popular attractions, such as an artisan market of craftsmen, beekeepers, and farmers selling their wares; a medieval sword fight demonstration; folk artists; and folklorist performances. The agency also sponsored an historic wooden carousel and pony-and-carriage rides that ferried passengers around the city center.
Refreshments included ice cream, Kofola (Slovakia’s popular cola-flavored soft drink), and a tasty stew served up by school Lutheran Academy principal Jozef Sopoliga. Guests were treated to performances by the band DeArt, and a roving clown entertained the crowd.
What did the Lutheran Academy students enjoy about the event? Some responses:
“Plenty of activities and super water football”
“I’ll be able to get a tan because the sun is finally shining”
“After being ill, I can eat ice cream again and be with my friends”
The real benefit, of course, were the joyful faces of the children—testimony to the Lutheran Academy’s educational philosophy: While games and treats are fun, spending time with children and encouraging them are key to helping them become healthy, productive individuals.
Along with providing a top-quality educational experience, the Lutheran Academy builds community, a welcoming environment, and spiritual wholeness. When Christian values take root in the lives of our students, they become missionaries to their parents and extended family, most of whom grew up under communism. The impact on families can be transformative.
Yet, school tuition represents a significant expense for families, particularly those with more than one child in the school. The Center for Christian Education’s Family Fund helps families manage the costs. Would you like to help a family invest in their children’s education and faith formation with a gift to the Family Fund? Contact Jozef Sopoliga, principal of the Lutheran Academy, at email@example.com.
International Children's Day 2015