Baltic in Kashubian – „Kaszëbë na walë”

Project: „Kaszëbë na walë”

Coordinator: NMFRI Gdynia Aquarium

The NMFRI Gdynia Aquarium leads the marine biology clasess in the Kashubian language for three years now. Kashubian in Poland is considered a separate language and is used by 108,000 Kashubians. Baltic Sea is related to the Kashubian traditions, as well as coexistence with marine nature. A strong regional identity has contributed to the preservation of the language, therefore since 2004 the school students have the opportunity to study the Kashubian language in parallel with mathematics, biology or other standard subjects. Already almost 17,000 students in 300 schools develop their language skills in this direction.

Classes are co-financed by the Ministry of Administration and Digitization. The program provides space for about 1,500 students in 50 groups of 30 participants each year. The aim of the project is to develop knowledge on the Baltic flora and fauna protection.

The program consists of two parts, each of which is dedicated to a different age group. The “Capito hens Diôbeł and kaszëbsczé bùrczibasë” (trans. Captain Shorthorn Sculpin and the Kashubian burczybases) is addressed to the youngest participants, that is, for children aged 4 to 6 years. Classes are conducted in the form of education through play, which offers durable and quick assimilation of the new knowledge. The hero of the course is Captain Shorthorn Sculpin (the name comes from the Baltic fish that produces sounds), which takes participants on his ship. The signal to start of classes is the sound of Burczybas (Kashubian folk instrument). During the ‘trip’, the children perform tasks to get familiar with the residents of the Baltic Sea and its extraordinary natural beauty.

The second part, „Bôłt pòd kaszëbską banderą” (trans. Baltic Sea in northern flag), is designed for children aged 8 to 11 years. Classes use modern multimedia techniques and consist of a short presentation of the characteristics of the Baltic Sea and laboratory  part, during which children see the animals under a microscope. Classes are taught entirely in Kashubian and therefore are led by both sea biologists and teachers of the Kashubian language. Participants have the opportunity to get to know with the inhabitants of the seas and oceans of other regions of the world, while touring the Gdynia Aquarium exhibition.

The entire project is supported by the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association, which disseminates information about the project. The project enjoys great popularity. The applications from schools are accepted a year before it starts.

Author: Joanna Chęcińska