We are a team of professionals with long-term experience in English speaking environments.
Our experience shows that the level of English in Czech society is surprisingly low even 30 years after the Velvet Revolution and does not differ much from pre-revolutionary times. We decided to change that!
English language has become an important communication tool in most developed countries in recent decades. The English Proficiency Index (EPI) indicates the ability of nations to speak this language. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic is usually far below the average of other European countries. We were ranked 23rd in 2019, losing to countries such as Romania, Hungary and Croatia.
In the Czech school system, 1st and 2nd grade students have one or fewer English lessons a week, and by the 3rd grade that number only rises to three lessons per week. This is simply not enough time to learn a foreign language. Small children are able to learn new languages very quickly and it is a pity not to use this opportunity. With this in mind, the Young Hippocampus bilingual education program was created. Its key goal is to take advantage of the educational systems of both Czech Republic and Great Britain and, in doing so, provide our students with a comprehensive immersive bilingual education from year 1.
"I am Renata, and I co-founded Young Hippocampus to meet the needs of Czech parents for bilingual school programs seamlessly coordinated with the Czech school curriculum. Many international schools neglect traditional Czech language education in favour of English. I saw an opportunity to integrate English into the whole school program from year one, without compromise. The program is designed to introduce English from an early age in a fun, natural environment. By immersing children in English for a part of each school day, including through study, games and project work, the language develops naturally. The programme is based on the English national curriculum and children evidence their language proficiency through passing the Cambridge English Certificate exams".
Renata has a B.A. degree in Economics from the Anglo American College, where she studied in English, and a master's degree in Law from the Charles University. After an initial career in banking and finance, Renata established Young Hippocampus together with Czech and English partners with extensive Czech teaching, English teaching and business experience. Renata has two children who are bilingual and are in the Czech state school system.
"Hi, I'm Connor! I'm a teacher from Canada who's been teaching English to children from all around the world for over 5 years. My favourite thing about teaching English is seeing my students improve over time. I'm thrilled to be a part of the Young Hippocampus team because I can play a role in right from the beginning of our students' English journey, ensuring that it is fun and well-founded right from the start"
Connor has a BA degree in Education from University of Winnipeg.
"Hi, my name is Ivana. Since I finished my university degree I have been teaching for more than 10 years in the Czech primary schools. I also lived and studied for 2.5 years in England and have seen the huge benefits of a well-based second language. Hence, I am really excited to teach the Czech curriculum to a bilingual class. It is a great opportunity for me, as well as the kids. I have 2 teenage daughterswho benefit being brought up in a bilingual environment."
I am a certified Czech teacher having received my MA in Education at the University J. A. Purkyně.
"I'm Iris Bakalar and I've been a teacher since 2010 when I first arrived in Prague with my Czech husband, mostly teaching English language to Czech and Japanese children, and English writing and art in international schools. As someone who was raised with two languages at home, I understand the importance of making the use of the second language a natural part of the child's life. Thus, I'm very excited to be part of the Young Hippocampus bilingual programme, which is carefully designed to do just that. Art being a personal love of mine, I jumped at the opportunity to be able to teach English through Art art and other creative subjects."
Iris is from the United Kingdom and has a degree in Art and History of Art from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from University of Cumbria.
"Hi, My name is Krista. I have spent my last 20 years within the education sector, especially in primary education. I also have lots of experience with children with special needs, who taught me patience. They taught me that every person is unique and showed me that everyone can find their own way to success. During my stay in the UK, I had the opportunity to become familiar with the British education system, which enriched and broadened my horizons. I continue to look for inspiration there during my day-to-day work. My own family and friends come from multicultural backgrounds. Therefore, as a teacher of a bilingual class, I am delighted to have the opportunity to show early learners what it means to be multicultural and to show them a truly open society."
Krista studied Education at Charles University in Prague, where she recieved her MA degree, followed by her PhD. She holds a certification in Autism. Krista took part in a project focused on increasing the qualification of language teachers in lower primary schools, which was organized by City of Prague and, further, by Czech Technical Faculty.