Ayb is an idea. Ayb is also a community of those who have a dream; a community that has brought together people who wish to see their dream evolve into reality.
The Ayb[ing] platform will feature stories about different people from Ayb community, and their potential and vision on the educational future of Armenia. The Ayb people are the very driving force that makes the dreams reality and the ideas contagious.
We are launching this series with an interview with Nune Simonyan, an Ayb parent.
We meet Mrs. Nune in Ayb’s schoolyard. We decide to take a walk around the school and to talk, and before I can express my admiration for the peaceful and joyous school environment, Mrs. Nune takes out a handful of plastic bottle caps from her bag and carefully empties them into a special box installed in the school premises for further recycling. She says even the grandma is now into collecting plastic items and reminding everyone to take them to the school.
Mrs. Nune is an Ayb parent and a psychologist by profession. Two of her daughters are Ayb students. She says the youngest is definite to attend Ayb as well. The eldest has already graduated and got admitted to a university; “It’s one of renowned international universities; she may continue her education abroad, we’ll see how it goes.” We walk toward the canteen, then to the gym, and everyone we see along our way greets Nune. I drop a remark that she must be very popular here. “Well, no, there’s warmth and affection toward everyone in this school. I am a regular Ayb parent and therefore no exclusion.”
“When we first came here on an open doors day, the first thing that fascinated us was the environment. We never had a similar feeling anywhere else before; it felt so much like home, like a family, right from the first visit.” Then she turns to me with her smiling, candid face, “Didn’t you feel the same, all that warmth?”
We run into Mrs. Nune’s daughter on the second floor. She smiles at us and goes to her class.
As we continue walking along the colorful passages, Nune proudly points at the headmaster’s and teachers’ transparent glass-enclosed rooms, “I think education is so much more than mere knowledge. Education is the environment the child is surrounded with; it is the people present in the child’s daily life who are a role model for him or her. Ayb has granted our family precisely such an environment, which is Ayb’s people themselves,” states Mrs. Nune with a smile.
We talk about various school-related subjects; she tells me her daughter and friends visit Zatik Children’s Assistance Center as part of their social work class, where they socialize and help the kids of the center with their homework.
“After each minor event like this one, I notice how the “What-can-I-do-for-others?” mentality gets shaped within the children. They think like mature and cognizant citizens now. As a follow-up to education received within Ayb environment, they start acting in the society like free and independent thinkers, with a sense of responsibility instilled within them, “What should I do to improve the world around me?” or “How do I initiate and implement changes?” This is what the sustainability of Ayb education means.”
“Judge for yourself,” Mrs. Nune continues, “Where else can you see students discussing, thinking or studying things from different perspectives so freely?” She points at a group of students, “No, don’t assume ideal children have gathered here; it’s not so at all. It’s simply that the people at Ayb bring out the best in every child and develop it, and it works.”
Engrossed in this rewarding conversation, I try to elicit with my final question what is, eventually, Ayb’s strongest asset. The answer is definite: “Ayb’s value system and the national values. Even we, the parents, now dance national dances with great enthusiasm and pleasure. There’s no secret here; it’s all within the Ayb environment,” Mrs. Nune sums it all up.