The official news service of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist church



19 November 2020 | Podkowa Leśna, Poland [TED Communications]  

Forty kilometres south-west of Warsaw, Poland, lies the commuter town of Podkowa Leśna. This small city is surrounded by forest on three sides from the east, south and north. Since 1959, it has been home to the Polish College of Theology and Humanities (PCTH), and more recently the School of Foreign Languages – the only Adventist school in a country of 38 million people.

school activity outdoors[Photos: courtesy of the PCTH]“For decades Adventist parents have dreamt about the possibility of being able to send their child to an Adventist school,” says Dorothy Porawski-Orzechowska the first director of the thriving grades 1-3 “Son-light” Kindergarten, located on the college campus since 2015. With the current enrolment of 10 Adventist children, and 5 from the wider Podkowa Leśna community, the pre-school started out as a centre teaching English language, but in 2018 widened the curriculum. The kindergarten is at maximum capacity and must put on a waiting list for all of the remaining potential families who regularly express interest in attending.

podkowa lesna schoolEven at an early age, “Adventist education is a combination of the development of social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual capabilities of each child,” says Mirosława Grześkowiak the current kindergarten director and a champion of Adventist education. Such values are also shared by the local Podkowa Leśna congregation. Already committed to supporting Adventist education at the tertiary level, in 2014 they determined to find a way to start a primary school. They recognised the challenge, “Where do we send our children once they’ve outgrown kindergarten, and what will they be taught?”

group activity“From the beginning, I felt that starting a kindergarten and now a primary school, was a step in the right direction. They are not focused on financial profits only, but on human contact with other people. We took a risk, we entered the ‘Jordan river’ with confidence in God's help in this matter, and now we can see the positive result,” says Anna Słonecka-Połok, the rector of PCTH.

As a result of collaboration between the Polish Union Conference, the college (PCTH), ASI Poland and the Trans-European Division (TED), a primary school teacher is to be employed starting in December of the current school year for children grades 4-8. Initially, the new primary school will be located on the college campus.

school celebration poland“For the Seventh-day Adventist church in Poland this is a historic moment raising our mission potential to a new level”, says Pastor Ryszard Jankowski, Polish Union president. “This is the first Adventist primary school in the fifth most populous member state of the European Union, building on our commitment to Adventist education in Poland, which began first with our college, then the kindergarten, and now a primary school. We could see God's leading in this project and only by His guidance were we able to see our dreams become reality,” Jankowski concludes.

With both an Adventist kindergarten and primary school in Podkowa Leśna, what difference will it make to the mission of the church? “Son-light” Kindergarten has an ever-growing waiting list of children wanting to attend, evidence enough that the education offered is attractive for local families. For Agata Rubak, kindergarten teacher, this is all about mission: “We pray for every child that comes to us and for the whole family. Building warm and friendly relationships with both children and their parents provides an open door to share Christ.”

group photo school in podkowa lesna

Perhaps most excited of all about the opening of the new school, are seven primary-school-aged children currently learning in a ‘home education group’. Come December they will be in a new class with a new teacher and a new adventure. By the next academic year, their class size is expected to double. “During my visits to PCTH campus since 2015, it has been inspiring to see the enthusiasm and commitment of teachers and the joy in the eyes of children. This is a new dawn for Adventist education in Poland and we celebrate with them,” says Daniel Duda, TED Education director. "We pray not only that the school grows from strength to strength in Christ but for each child as well."

The original version of this article was first published on the Polish Union Conference website.

tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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