On September 16, 2011 a group of deaf children went on the excursion «The story’s false; but in it lies some truth, seen but by inward eyes» to the children’s museum «House of Fairy Tales ‘Once upon a time . . .’ » in the All-Russia Exhibition Centre. The excursion was carried out by the Regional Charity Public Foundation «Kachestvo Zhizni» (Quality of Life) within the framework of the programme «World Around Us» aimed at organization of a free-of-charge excursion service for disabled people under support of the Moscow Department of Social Protection.
Pupils of two special boarding schools for deaf children: No. 65 and 101, who were accompanied to the All-Russia Exhibition Centre by their teachers and a translator, till the very beginning of the excursion had not even guessed what unusual travel they were going to have as soon as they overstep the magic threshold of the children’ museum!
At last the gate of the house opened, and the children found themselves inside a fairy tale, which promised so many wonders and surprises. The adventures started with a meeting with Domovaya. An invisible character of favourite folk legends, in bast shoes (lapti) and old-time clothes, she easily made friends with the schoolchildren and lead them to the rooms of the House of Fairy Tales ‘Once upon a time . . .’ in a hope that the visitors finally help her to find a sweet and cosy corner.
With the words «Attic, open!» all of a sudden a mysterious ladder appeared. One by one, everybody bravely started to climb into the unknown world of Russian, Europen and even Eastern fairy tales. They saw a lot in the fairy-tale rooms: the egg laid by the Speckled Hen, and the samovar of the Boldly Buzzing Fly, and the spindle which pricked the Sleeping Beauty’s finger, and even the flying mortar of the witch Baba Yaga . . .
Marina Nikanorova, a teacher at the special boarding school for deaf children No. 65, told how useful are such excursions for children: «Such excursions are very efficient not only for studying the world around; they help us in the educational process. Later at class the children recollect what they have seen and draw the things they remembered and liked best. Then we together sign the pictures with short sentences. After that the children can share their impressions by themselves, using new words and expressions.»
To teach their pupils to speak is a main task of educators because the speech is more diverse than the gesture language. Fairy-tale therapy is successful and efficient aid: it helps children to open, to build, word after word, a dialogue with the surrounding world. There are a lot of positive examples. According to Tatiana Bardakova, an interpreter of the gesture language at Moscow State Technical University named after N. E. Bauman, owing to special rehabilitation programmes 200 people hard on hearing study at their university in different specialities and get a degree.
In the House of Fairy Tales ‘Once upon a time . . .’ the children became direct participants of the performance. In old-time clothes, they reeled, lied on a sleeping bench and even worked with an oven fork feeling like real inhabitants of the Russian folk fairy tale. Daniil, 11 years, a pupil of the special boarding school No. 65, shared his impressions about the excursion: «Most of all I liked to put a cast pot into the oven, and also to reel. And I liked the house itself, it’s very beautiful.»