Community development, Education and research

Democratic education partnership

Support for the establishing, networking and know-how sharing of democratic educational communities.


Who is behind this?

Juraj Mazák

Ťahanovská záhrada


Who is joining forces?

Lipana n.o. (not-for-profit n.g.o.)


Donum Felix School

Czech Republic

Jezek Bez Klece Primary School INESS o.Z. (C.S.O.) - data analytics Stará Hôra o.z. (c.s.o.) - educational community Vráťme deti prírode o.z. (Lets Return Children to Nature c.s.o.) - educ. comm.


Idea pitch

Since 2017 our inclusive community garden inspires informal education communities all around Slovakia. We have set up a free democratic, inclusive school. We raise awareness about alternative education in Slovakia and plan to create a ‘franchising packet’ sharing our experiences. Current education crisis with distance education led to quick grow of small community so-called schools aiming at socialization, soft-skills, cooperation,ecology, self-regulation; not frontal work and memorization.

Where will your project idea take place?

Kosice, East Slovakia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

For younsters to stay as the main challenge we see to create an environment for selfrealization, selfassertion and selfdevelopment for all the people, especially those young. The conditions and social setting are not good, but our school will teach self-regulation, personal responsibility, empowerment, volunteering, inclusion bound to the local community by guiding and educating young people, we can create a generation of courage, and motivation to combat it - with the backup of us, old(er) pioneers. We want young people to participate in local society. Low level of professional discussion (analyses, comparisons, data) and networking leaves lonely wolves in their Sizyfa effort to cope with society social prejudices, reluctance to try new ways and passivity inherited by communist rearing.

Who are you doing it for?

We are doing it for all children of preschool and school-age (approx. 3-16 years), the teachers in Košice region, for parents (who will be involved, as in ordinary schools they do not have the right to comment on the teaching process or other decisions), and all small initiatives around Slovakia & CEE that are interested in this direction of democratic education. We also want to invite the Public Administration (the local administration and government), as they are the ones directly responsible for forming and implementing education methods in public schools in our region and we want to be an example for them. We do this for future generations, who need empowered self-confident purpose-full leaders as hope and good example.

How do you plan to get there?

We are working with Czech democratic schools that will be providing us with the cultural and experiential know-how needed for such a project as ours. We have legislative experience ourselves and plan to communicate with the local administration (municipalities) personally. We will be communicating with the public and teachers/parents through already existing organizations and SKAV. We already own property with a community garden and buildings suitable. We will be organizing conferences and seminars for teachers, parents, volunteers, children, activists on a local scale to raise awareness about what we are doing and the type of education our society needs. We will be networking with our partner organizations, Lipana n.o. (SKAV), Vráťme deti prírode o.z. (Let’s Return Children to Nature c.s.o.), Stará Hôra o.z. and INESS o.z.
Implementation would start with gathering all knowledge from partners in SKAV, Czechia and Slovak educational communities. We add legal background for different cases, recommendations for management, finances, teachers and leaders training recources and contacts, ideas for building relationships with municipalities and other actors. Summarization would be in form of website and/or PDF document freely available for anybody, in Slovak and English.

What are the expected results?

A year from now, we offer a franchising packet – a manual handbook/website with detailed instructions on how to establish a community garden, work with the local community, gain peoples’ trust, and eventually set up a free democratic education school within the state’s legal and economic/financial requirements. We will pass this packet to Stará Hôra o.z. and Vráťme Deti Prírode o.z., who shall try to set up schools in their regions. When approached by interested parties, we offer our packet and provide support/mentoring. Other results are: seminars, Local Administration’s acceptance of alternative/new ideas, a rise in awareness and understanding, people more accepting the idea that children are partners in their education, dozens of children with a deeply embedded experience with democracy

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Franklin D. Roosevelt said this: ‘’Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.’’ The model of democratic education we are following began in England 100 years ago and has since continued in the US and other places. Over me, most of the students that completed it were shown to be more free-thinking, independent, had a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of how democracy functions from a much earlier age and moved on into becoming successful people). We believe that educated, participatory people are a necessity for society to function correctly and we have a sustainable method of "engraving" democracy in these children.

Why is this idea important to you?

Behind this idea are Juraj Mazák and his wife Lenka, parents of three sons.
Lenka is an special education and practice teacher of a kindergarten, primary school for the 1st - 4th year and a special pedagogue focused on the correction of learning and behavioral disorders. Juraj is a computer science engineer, he has additional pedagogical studies and 5 years of pedagogical experience; He is involved in education in many projects, he is a member of the local parliament and also a member of the commission for education of the city of Košice, more on Other members of the team are psychologist Lenka Lengvarská, manager and montessori pedagogue Nika Kavečanská and preschool/assistant teachers Zuzka Lengyelová, Katarína Vassová and Eva Dzurjaninová.

€ 51000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

35000 personell costs (2 full time workers for 14 months – project managers,
emplyees/self-employment; 2*14*1250eur=35000eur, 1250eur per month is a low-to-average labour cost of a teacher in Slovakia)
2000 education & economy background data analysis
3000 travel & accomodation expenses
6000 online marketing, website, graphics, programming, DTP, public relations
3000 local meetings, seminars, conferences, speakers
2000 small office expenses (not the lease/rent, we have our own space)

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Ever heard about democratic education or Summerhill? Starting with community garden in 2017, our educational community turned into regular primary school. Interested to help others with democracy growing since early childhood? Read more, share, network or come and visit us in Kosice, Slovakia.



Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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