Leipzig is one of the two biggest cities in the state of Saxony, Germany, and the location for today’s field trip.
The first stop was to visit a Federal Programme working to help bring education to all in the city. With Leipzig becoming an attractive place for people to move to, the city is having to reconsider the options it has on offer. For example, young families are moving here to pursue careers, while immigrants are often sent to the East of the city to set up home. This results in a lot of displaced children who require education facilities to be put in place.
The programme works to support families, continue people’s lifelong learning, encourage cultural learning, and monitor data in the city to ensure work is done where it is most needed. The group was told that often, while good non-formal facilities are in place, work is needed to publicise these options so that all sub-groups participate. Work is also done to ensure the options are known by all groups, so literature is printed in e.g. Russian, and an easy-to-read version for people with less education. The group were very interested in the work done here, (the status of the immigrants, in particular how they are reached and what their prospects are, was the most intriguing topic for the participants,) asking questions right up until the bus arrived to take us to the next location.
The second visit was to see a new library in the center of Leipzig, only opened in October.
The participants were introduced to a network based here, that collaborates and opens communications between 80 educational counselling centers in Leipzig. The purpose of this is to ensure that anyone looking for help is eventually sent to the correct institution, and that councilors around the city can learn from each other. Everyone was impressed with the building and the services provided here, a great resource for such a growing city – Most of the books were missing when we visited as the new facility had been such a success!
While not usually education themed, lunch today was situated in a new restaurant, based around children. The aim of the restaurant is to work with children, helping them to learn about food, ingredients, healthy eating & sourcing, while also creating a safe environment for children to visit and eat well.
The group was unusual in that they did not bring any children, but were welcomed regardless and enjoyed the food and atmosphere created here.
The final visit for the group was to see a Youth Centre in action in Leipzig, essentially a place for young people to come after school to keep them amused and off the streets.
The centre accommodated both young children, with additional supervision, and older teenagers, who are welcome to play ping pong, billiards & to use the cafe. The green surroundings made for a great atmosphere for kids, which the participants also made use of after their day of sight-seeing.