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The winner of the Child of the Czech Republic poll: I want schools to learn differently and for children to have fun

Seventeen-year-old Kristýna Kedrová from Český Krumlov won among more than two hundred talented and active children in the Child of the Czech Republic 2023 survey organized by UNICEF CR. A learning game for listed words that she created. to surprise her younger brother and help him with his studies, she also impressed the jury. For Kristýna, it was encouragement for further work. She would like to push for a different, more interesting and fun way to learn in schools. “It seems that education is stuck in the past for several decades,” says the 3rd year grammar school student.

Kristýna Kedrová, winner of the Child of the Czech Republic 2023 poll.

| Photo: with the permission of Kristýna Sluková

According to Kristýna, winning the Child of the Czech Republic poll and especially what followed after that definitely changed her life. “I realized that my work has a real meaning. That even my educational game for children can show that learning can be done in other ways than memorizing. Maybe it will help motivate parents to want to make their children’s education more enjoyable and adapt it to current needs,” hopes Kristýna Kedrová.

The talented student is clear about her future direction.

“From a young age, I was fascinated by the human brain and the way different individuals react to the same situations. During an internship within the Open Sciences program at the Psychological Institute of the Academy of Sciences, I verified that psychology could be the right path for me,” says Kristýna Kedrová.

Child of the Czech Republic 2023 survey

When the jury declared Kristýna the winner of the Child of the Czech Republic 2023 poll for girls, it was incredible for her, as she says, and she sees it as a huge honor. What stuck with her the most from the ceremony was the atmosphere full of support.


UNICEF announced Children of the Czech Republic for the year 2023.

Helping students and teaching in Minecraft: The jury chose the winner of the Child of the Czech Republic poll

“It was beautiful to see how the organizers and judges tried to make every child feel special and appreciated. Their care for the finalists and their families did not end even after the announcement of the results, when they patiently took pictures with them long after,” recalls Kristýna.

Kristýna’s mother signed up for the poll. She saw a call on the city’s website before the closing of applications and was intrigued that it was not just a classic competition. She was impressed that the poll was organized by UNICEF.

“I, too, am of the opinion that the main goal of Dítě Česka is to find new talents who unselfishly do something for others and show them that it has meaning,” Kristýna agrees. At the time, she was going through a bit of a crisis and it looked like she was going to give up on her dreams. Mom wanted to help her so much. Instead of comparing herself to other children, she always guided her to focus on her own development, satisfaction and personal goals.

Jurors of the Child of the Czech Republic 2023 survey:

Source: Youtube

Visiting the President

As part of the Child of the Czech Republic 2023 survey, Kristýna Kedrová, together with the second winner of the survey, Matěj Pavliš, also had the opportunity to see Prague Castle and meet President Petr Pavl.

She was not very interested in politics until then, but as she says, her views changed considerably after she had the opportunity to meet Mr. President.

“During that meeting I realized how important, responsible and even interesting this function is. I admired how precisely the entire team at the Castle handled their duties. You could feel from them that they are fully aware of their responsibility and that everyone is trying to do their job as well as possible,” Kristýna describes her feelings.

Kristýna saved the reward of 15 thousand crowns, which she received for her victory, in her savings account. Considering that studying at university is financially demanding, according to her, it is good to prepare at least a little in advance.

She wanted to help her brother

First of all, Kristýna wanted to surprise her brother with an original game that she would not turn her nose up at and would finally learn the listed words. She wanted him to remember them in a fun way.

A word learning game she created in Minecraft Education is the story of a prehistoric boy who is injured while hunting mammoths. Only a child who knows the listed words can save him.

“The story was quite easy, but since all I knew about Minecraft was that it involves working with blocks (laughs), programming was more of a challenge. I spent hours watching videos in English and Slovak, listening to lectures and trying to connect these elements in a fun way in the game,” Kristýna describes her work.

Her brother is a fan of Minecraft and was already a pretty decent programmer at the time, so she had a pretty high bar if she wanted to surprise him with something in the game.

“My brother is an extremely smart boy, but he has a diagnosis of dyslexia, dysgraphia and dysorthography, which limits him quite a bit in his education. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to manage school well. Educational games, audiobooks, writing on a tablet or computer can help,” explains Kristýna.

Kristýna Kedrová from Český Krumlov is studying in the 3rd year of grammar school.  They are trying to push for a different way of learning in schools.Kristýna Kedrová from Český Krumlov is studying in the 3rd year of grammar school. They are trying to push for a different way of learning in schools.Source: with the consent of Kristýna Kedrová

But as he says, there are currently few of those materials in Czech and he mostly doesn’t enjoy them. Her motivation is therefore to try to create more teaching materials not only in Czech for children with similar educational difficulties. But she would like to graduate from college first, so that she can create games that are better adapted to the pedagogical and psychological needs of children.

Mother taught them at home

Kristýna was educated individually at home as part of elementary school. “My mother decided to teach me and my brother at home, for which I am grateful. Thanks to this, I was able to educate myself in a modern and interactive way,” says Kristýna.

She spent the afternoon at various clubs. For several years she rode horses, went to art classes, creative writing, 3D graphics, tennis and swimming. She had the opportunity to try many interesting activities.

“In the 4th grade, I started attending optional online classes at my elementary school ZŠ Březová, where the atmosphere was very friendly and I managed to cover a lot of material in a much shorter time than usual. The teachers at Březová are very innovative, and I can see it even today in my brother’s online lessons, that they are not afraid of any modern procedures or technologies,” praises teacher Kristýna.

Meeting with the Minister of Education

Kristýna’s victory in the poll also allowed her to meet the Minister of Education and his colleagues and talk about ways to improve the current school system.


Competition

QUIZ: How would you succeed in the Do you want to be a millionaire?

“My expectations when I went to the ministry were not very high. I concluded that “the fish stinks from the head” (laughs). However, I was surprised at the meeting with the Minister of Education and his colleagues that they basically agreed with our proposals. They were very well oriented in the issue of education and were actively looking for solutions. You could see that they knew very well about basically everything I talked about and we even agreed on a lot. At the ministry, I realized that the real problem is not that schools and teachers don’t have the opportunity to make changes, but that they simply don’t do it,” Kristýna is clear.

“What I tried to assert was also reflected in my speech, which Matěj and I both gave as winners of the poll. I thought about the points I emphasized for a long time. I didn’t want them to be just criticisms, but for them to be experiences, constructive suggestions for changes, which I knew from home school made sense and are commonly applied abroad,” Kristýna describes her performance.

UNICEF announced Children of the Czech Republic for the year 2023.UNICEF announced Children of the Czech Republic for the year 2023.Source: with the consent of UNICEF CR

He considers it necessary to teach differently in schools. Nowadays, according to her, it no longer makes sense to memorize all the information when it is easily found on the Internet. According to her, it is more important to emphasize critical thinking and the ability to deduce which information is valid and which is not.

She didn’t need grades to learn

According to Kristýna, changing the attitude of teachers towards pupils would also help a lot. “It’s hard to learn anything in a stressful environment. In short, the nervous system won’t allow him to, because he’s thinking about where to run (laughter). That’s why it was easy for me to remember everything from my mother even in class, because no one threatened me with punishment, even if it’s only a number – a grade – if I don’t remember anything,” explains Kristýna Kedrová.


The winning trio (from left): II.  vice-miss Kateřina Matušková, Miss OK Estel Gregorová and 1st vice-miss Karolína Jelínková.

The most beautiful high school girl is from Brno. Indescribable, the new Miss OK said excitedly

She was also accustomed to using modern technology from home school.

“Just the feeling of holding a tablet with a pencil in my hand made learning more fun than learning with just a textbook and a notebook. In addition, mom was always looking for new and practical ways to give me the material in a simple and fun way. For example, I studied history mainly by watching films and documentaries and reading books, for example the historical series by Veronika Válková. Mom always came and just summarized it or added information. So I had everything in context and we discussed everything together, I could ask questions,” Kristýna describes the advantages of home schooling.

She was used to learning one subject until she and her mother had covered a whole subject. In history specifically, they were able to cover World War II for a whole week at a time because it was an important topic and there was a lot to cover.

“I understand that this is not entirely possible at school, but I personally believe that two-hour blocks would make sense. Not only is attention not distracted, which leads to better memorization of the subject matter, but it also leaves more time for the students to do some work. Then they don’t have to think about the other six subjects that they can write a test on that day,” high school student Kristýna Kedrová gives another practical tip on how to improve teaching.

They said about the Child of the Czech Republic 2023 survey:

Vít Nantl, CEO of Vltava Labe Media, is also a judge in the Child of the Czech Republic competition.  In the photo, Pavla Gomba, director of the Czech branch of UNICEF.Vít Nantl, CEO of Vltava Labe Media, is also a judge in the Child of the Czech Republic competition. On the picture Pavla Gomba, director of the Czech branch of UNICEF.Source: courtesy of Unicef

“The Child of the Czech Republic poll should not be about one-time big actions, but rather about children’s long-term activity and specific results. We wanted clever children to be known, to be publicly recognized for their activities, to inspire others. The Child of the Czech Republic wants to say that it makes sense to work on yourself and do something for others,” she said Executive Director of UNICEF CR Pavla Gomba.

“I am extremely impressed by this poll, whose Deník media partner it’s been three years, it’s fun. Every year I look forward to the new nominations, because they are very inspiring stories. I believe that in this way we are able to give children the opportunity to show that we are here today a very clever young generation and we don’t have to be afraid of what awaits us in the future,” he stated Vít Nantl, CEO of Vltava Labe Media.

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