ORT Russia Expands Out of the Classroom

Photo by Anna Bubel

ORT Russia has partnered with J-Camp, a leading Jewish Summer camp in the Moscow region, founded and supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group. Together they opened the first ORT Robotics Lab in one of their summer camps. Throughout the duration of J-Camp, kids aged 6-10 who have chosen to work in the lab learned how to construct and program their own robots and solve basic and advanced robotics exercises, under the direction of Mikhail Dichenko (ORT Moscow Technology School’s Robotics Teacher.)

Photo by Anna Bubel

“One of the main ideas of J-Camp is the concept of freedom of choice, to enable every child the opportunity to find their place in the world and do things they love. Even modern children of today don’t always know how to make their own choices, and so we’ve developed a special atmosphere at J-camp where young children can chose what to eat, what projects to participate in, and what workshop to go to, which is why collaborating with ORT has opened new horizons for us. We already had activities such as musicals, theatre, arts and sports however, robotics is not only very innovative but also extremely popular at our camps. This is due to a combination of the very attractive and interesting STEM education as well as the freedom of creativity which is a basic value of J-Camp,” said Elena Zakharova said, J-Camp Director.

ORT operates 16 Jewish day schools in the FSU, with over 8,000 students enrolled. The educational focus is on STEM education, covering a huge spectrum of classes and projects, as well as both general education and Jewish subjects.

According to Mikhail Libkin, ORT Russia’s National Director, “ORT schools offer students the best educational opportunities within the region, but because of that we have a problem accepting all the families who want to come. For example in Moscow and Kiev, we have three times as many applications for first grade places than we can accept. It’s because of this that we decided to use our innovative educational model in Jewish summer camps and brought the idea to our friend and partner J-camp, the leading Jewish summer camp in the region. We think that it’s unfair to limit access to our robotics and STEM curriculum to only ORT school students.”