The Center for European Studies has carried out an increasing number of K-12 educational activities in the past few years. “Teach Europe ,” a program aimed at high school teachers of languages, social studies, and art, has been hosted by the Center since 2004. Together with the Rutgers University Language Institute, the Center organizes a daylong conference with 3 or 4 breakout sessions on different themes plus a panel or keynote speaker. The teachers earn continuing education credits. Attendance has ranged from 45-60. The programs are organized in conjunction with several European consulates, who also provide financial support. Similar programs are held at Columbia and Yale.
The Center also has begun to offer “A Day of European Culture,” a program organized for second graders each year from several local New Jersey schools. The children come to the Center accompanied by their teachers and chaperones; they play games, color maps, sing songs in several European languages, watch brief animated features, and enjoy pizza at the end. Since the program began, over 200 students from 7 schools have visited the Center.
In 2007-08 the Center took “The European Village” as a theme for its activities. Undergraduate honors students visited a number of European villages and shot films and interviewed inhabitants. This footage was later edited into a series of short films on the individual villages. The Center then organized a lecture/lunch series focused on several of the villages. Some of these sessions attracted high school classes and teachers.
The Center is also building K-12 outreach components into its external grant funding. Ro example, a Department of State-funded program of academic exchanges between Rutgers and Kazan State University in Kazan, Russia, featured workshops aimed at high school social studies teachers interested in Russia, offering them continuing education credits.