Eastern Michigan University has opened up its doors to the Polish Language Center of Ann Arbor, Polska Szkola, also known to many as The Polish School.
The Polish School began classes at EMU this past September and meets on the second floor of the Alexander Music Building.
The Polish School was founded in 2011 by parents who wanted to encourage their children to learn the Polish language. Board members Ildi Porter-Szucs and Basia Alvarez have reached out to the surrounding Polish community and met many dedicated volunteers and passionate people who have helped to create this unique program.
They have moved around many times since being founded, but the situation changed this fall when EMU’s World Language Department welcomed them here. Porter-Szucs and Alvarez both stated that the supportive welcome has made it feel like they now have a home.
They aim to teach the Polish language, history, geography, Polish traditions and culture to anyone interested. This is a diverse community with people coming from all ages and backgrounds. The teachers and board shape the classes around what needs the community expresses, therefore, they have classes for children ages three and up and have now begun an adult class.
In the class they learn language through fun activities, music, and songs that help them with memorization. The classrooms in Alexander have allowed them to create smaller classes geared towards the different skill levels. The children are excited to be there and comfortable in their surroundings. The classes are very interactive and allow the students to engage in the language and culture while studying hard.
They also now have a library of Polish books and teaching materials, which they are able to store courtesy of EMU’s World Language Department. They have gathered materials from all over, including Poland. The students and the community are very excited about their useful and fun library.
The future for the Polish School is bright and the community is excited to see what happens as they continue to grow. There is the possibility of collaborating on future dual enrollment high school courses and hosting small campus events.
One of the teachers said that she is happy to see the community grow and would love to offer even more. The Polish School now teaches 25 children and is inviting the EMU community to join them for a visit.
Many of the people currently involved have Polish heritage or backgrounds, and some speak fluent Polish having lived in Poland.
Poland has gained more recognition in the global community and is becoming a bigger global presence. Porter-Szucs shared that some people are interested in Poland because their career may take them there or cross paths with Polish influence. This is a great opportunity to learn more here on EMU’s campus.
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