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Programme: LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAME Sub-programme: COMENIUS Action type: PARTNERSHIP Working language of the partnership: EN – English Project title: Learning through developing interdisciplinary projects Projects acronym: LeaDer – int PROJECT COORDINATOR SCOALA NR.4 „ELENA DONICI CANTSCUZINO“, PUCIOASA, ROMANIA Adress: Str. Republicii, n 123 Pucioasa, jud. Dambovita, Romania Phone / Fax: +44245 760 587 E – mail: scoala4puc@yahoo.com Website: www.scoala4pucioasa.ro PARTNERS PROFESIONALNA GIMNAZIYA PO TURIZAM “DR. VASIL BERON” Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria Adress: 10 Canko Cerkovski Str. Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria Phone / Fax: +359 62 62 15 16 E – mail: tt_beron@abv.bg Website: http://vtpgt.com KAUNO LOPŠELIS – DARŽELIS „EŽIUKAS, KAUNAS, LITHUANIA Adress: A. Mapu str. 12 Kaunas, Lithuania Phone / Fax: +370 37 42 34 43 E – mail: eziukas4@gmail.com Website: www.darzeliseziukas.lt ABUŞAĞI İLKÖĞRETİM OKULU (ABUSAGI ILKOGRETIM OKULU) Adress: ABUŞAĞI KASABASI GÜLŞEHİR/NEVŞEHİR TURKEY Phone +903844297422 Email abusagi_50@hotmail.com

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AUTHORS

Kristina Anuškevičiūtė, Project manager Lijana Budrienė, Preschool group pedagogue Vilmantė Sidabraitė, Teacher`s assistant, editor of the book

Children from „Šermukšnėliai“ preschool group

Funded by Lifelong Learning Programme (Comenius) of the European Union

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Table of Contents

Preface ........................................................................................................................................ 4 What Is Lithuania? ..................................................................................................................... 5 How Does Lithuania Look Like? ............................................................................................. 10 The Life In Ancient Times ....................................................................................................... 18 Lithuanian Festivals.................................................................................................................. 20 Culture and Art ......................................................................................................................... 28 Sports ........................................................................................................................................ 32 Museums................................................................................................................................... 34 Kaunas ...................................................................................................................................... 37 Main Facts About Kaunas History ........................................................................................... 41 Kaunas Kindergarden “Ežiukas“ ............................................................................................. 44 Goodbye and thank you for reading! ........................................................................................ 47

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Preface Dear Reader, Thank you for taking your time to get acquainted with our home country Lithuania and beloved city Kaunas. Our team made this book with help of children of age 5 to 7. It is their voice you can hear and their thoughts you can read further on. These texts presents our Motherland from the point of view of children. We hope you will enjoy this guide and learn great lot of things!

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What Is Lithuania? It’s so good to be in our kindergarten. All of us sit on a carpet with our teacher and talk about Lithuania – the center of Europe. Our neighbors are Latvia, Poland, Russia and Belorussia. And one of the most important things we have – it’s our Baltic Sea. Paula exclaims: “I was near the Baltic Sea. I enjoyed so much swimming and sunbathing”.

Our teacher asked us do we know the origin of the name of our country “Lietuva” (Lithuania). For me this word resembles with the word “rain” (which in Lithuanian language means “Lietus“). But the teacher explained that really nobody knows exactly how it occurred, there are even several versions. Some scientists say this word origins from the old Celtic “Litavia” which means the country of coats. The others say that it origins from the name of the local river called “Lietauka”. Our teacher asked us do we know what the flag is. We thought that it is a simple piece of a colored cloth. But she explained that each color has its own meaning. The yellow color means the sun, the light and the welfare. The green one is for the beauty of the nature, freedom and hope. The red color is for the earth, courage and the bloodshed for motherland.

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Making of the flags

These children decided to draw castles they have seen in Lithuania.

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In order to recognize a country or a town, people create a special distinctive sign, called coat of arms. I painted our coat of arms and asked the teacher why the horse is white but the ground is red and who is sitting on a horse. The teacher explained that the coat of arms of Lithuania consists of an armored-clad knight on horseback holding a sword and shield and is known as Vytis ("the Chaser"). He is chasing enemies from the homeland. Now I know that the Lithuanian coat of arms is one of the oldest national coats of arms in Europe.

I also know that Lithuania celebrate its birthday, the same as I do! The difference is that instead of “Happy birthday!” everybody sings the national anthem. When we listened all together to our national anthem, my friend Ignas suddenly exclaimed: “I’ve heard this song on TV while watching a basketball game with my dad!” “I do think this horse is very pretty and I do not want it to go to fight and I am very happy that wars are over and everything is fine now. “ – said Emilija. She continues: “I want to have a pony someday and I could call it Vytis like on the coat of arms and it would be marvelous! And my brother could get some armour and I would let him play with my pony. And I know that in the old times horses were very important to people, because they had no cars and no machines to help them, so horses helped to work on the fields and travel. And also in songs I heard strange names for colors of horses. They say “širmas“ and it means grey, or „sartas“ and it means kinda brown, and they say „obuolmušis“ and that means grey with white spots! And the word sounds as it horsey have apples on them, how funny is that!”.

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If you look at the map of Lithuania you can see five big spots. I wondered what do these sports mark and my teacher explained that these are the five biggest cities of Lithuania. And the biggest one is the capital of our country – Vilnius. We live in Kaunas, the second - largest city of Lithuania. Klaipeda is a port town, Siauliai is well known for its Hill of Crosses. Panevezys is the fifth largest city

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I was wondering what will happen if suddenly all money disappear all over the world? My friends answered that we will not be able to buy food and probably will die but our teacher explained that nothing similar would happen. We would start living the lifestyle of our ancestors. In those old times people used to pay for the goods in gold, silver, copper alloys. And later they learnt to make money from those metals. Emily said that her grandfather has silver and golden teeth. We call our money “Litas” and “centai” . There is famouse very nice and good people who did something really great and huge to Lithuania, and there is something pretty on the other side, like a big bell or a city or a sea at storm on the other side. My mother and father works hard to ear money and I want to grow up fast and help them. I want to be an aviator like Darius and Girėnas, they are on 10 litas, and they flew over an Ocean long time ago when planes were not so good.“

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How Does Lithuania Look Like? Ignas says: “Once a summertime I went with my mom to our village and saw through the window a lot of green color, a big buzzing tractor and a huge yellow, yellow meadow! My mom explained that those are special yellow herbs people make oil from. But there were not only huge meadows, I saw some hills as well”.

Kernavė hill – forts. There are hill forts in Lithuania left from the old times. People built castles on the top of those hills long time ago. I can tell you legends about some of those castles. The famous one is the castle of Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas. Nowadays Gediminas Tower is the only one remaining part from the whole castle. I love those legends, they are so interesting! Let’s read it together:

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O

“

ne day Grand Duke Gediminas, ruler of Lithuania, went

hunting in the forest of Sventaragis' Valley. The hunting was very successful. Before Gediminas realized how late it was getting, night fell and he had to spend the night in the forest. During the night he dreamt about a large wolf in iron armor howling with a voice of a hundred wolves on a nearby hill. In the morning, puzzled by the dream, Gediminas sought out the help of Lizdeika, a local sage, to interpret the dream for him. Lizdeika told him that the wolf's iron armor and loud voice meant that a powerful fortress would be built on the hill and that its fame would spread far and wide. Gediminas promptly gave orders to build a fortress on the hill and moved his headquarters to this new site. The city of Vilnius, the current capital of Lithuania, grew up around it. The name of the city was given according to the small rive, called Vilnele, floating nearby�.

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Gediminas Castle in Vilnius

Gedinimas Castle and new King Mindaugas bridge.

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There is also a red brick castle in our city Kaunas. We call it Kaunas Castle. It is not built in the middle of the water but on the crossing of the two rivers. “I know this castle”- Emily said, “We go there for sports and games”.

Not far from Vilnius, there is another city called Trakai. It is famous for its Island Castle; this castle is being surrounded by the lake on all the sides. There are many big lakes in Lithuania, not just rivers that’s why they call Lithuania a country of lakes. There are many interesting tales about the origin of the lakes in our folklore. Our teacher told us this one: “O big buzzing cloud was floating in the sky. One woman looked at it and said: - look, what a big and wide lake is coming. And suddenly the cloud landed and turned into a wide lake. This is how the lake, called Plateliai (this word in Lithuanian language means “wide”), originated.

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We learnt that the biggest lake in Lithuania is called Druksiai, the deepest one- Tuaragnai, the longest one- Asveja. And can you imagine, the city called Zarasai is built on seven lakes! “My grandma lives in a village near a river. And here in Lithuania we have many rivers. If to connect all of them into one, it would be one very long river that could surround our planet more than once. There are so many rivers because we have lots of snow in winter and it’s raining very often during the year. If you look into our map you can see that the longest river which floats across the whole Lithuania is called Nemunas. The Nemunas River is a male, so we call it the Father of all rivers. And the Mother of rivers is being called Neris, because it is the second largest river in Lithuania. These two rivers meet in my native city Kaunas, they join and never split up!

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Anyway, I do not like to swim in a river or a lake because there are no waves. That’s why I love swimming in the sea and wave-jumping. Once I was jumping the big waves in town Nida, which is in the Curonian Spit (Neringa), and enjoyed it so much! Also there are lots of sand and sandhills near the sea. That’s why I love staying near the sea!”- says Elze. The Curonian Spit (Neringa) is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. According to the legend, the Curonian Spit was formed by a giantess, a strong young girl, Neringa, who was playing on the seashore.

So the Baltic Sea and The Curonian Spit are very popular places to spend your free time with your family, friends and have fun. 15


Where else can you go to have fun? “We go to Druskininkai resort”- my friend Martyna said. “There is a huge aqua park there with lots of swimming pools and other aquatic attractions. I enjoy riding down the slides with turns and tunnels!” My friend Ignas added that the name of this town origins from the word “salt”. And he was right; our teacher explained that Druskininkai town has a lot of salt springs that people use for wellness.

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Besides The Curonian Spit (Neringa) and Druskininkai there are two more very popular resorts where we enjoy spending our free time and having a great fun. These cities are called Palanga and Birstonas. “I know where Palanga is. I was born there. There is a long pedestrian pier! – my friend Ugnius said.

But none of us knew anything about the other city resort called Birstonas. Thus our teacher told us that it is known for natural mineral waters, the same as Druskininkai resort. These waters are very rich in minerals useful for our body and therefore have a strong positive effect on our health. Also Birstonas attracts people and tourist for its air balloon flight festival. You can enjoy air balloon flights over the river Nemunas, the city and its surroundings and woods. „I wish I could go to this nice festival“ – my friend Nojus said.

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The Life In Ancient Times It was a wonderful day today as we all travelled on a time machine! We learnt a lot about the history of our country and how it looked like in those ancient times. The first inhabitants were settled near rivers, lakes and their main food was various berries and fishes. Later on, new tribes came to this territory and thought the native inhabitants how to do agriculture and stockbreeding. More lately such trades as handicrafts and beekeeping occurred. As different trades developed our country became more and more attractive for foreign merchants from Germany, Italy. The main products of trade were amber and bee-wax, fur.

I was wondering why I can’t understand the speech of my aunt, who lives in town, named Plunge. Now I know as our teacher explained us that Lithuania can be divided into historical and cultural regions (called ethnographic regions): Aukštaitija, Žemaitija, Dzūkija, Suvalkija. The exact borders are not fully clear. They are delimited by culture, such as traditions, traditional lifestyle, songs, tales, handicrafts, clothing even food. These regions have their own dialects and sub-dialects even though everybody there speaks Lithuanian language. “And we saw different wooden houses from those ethnographic regions during the excursion to our Open Air Museum of Lithuania which is a unique and one of the largest open-air ethnographic museums in Europe!” – said Nojus. 18


“I didn’t like those old things, buildings. There were no bathroom, no water, even no chairs, just wooden benches and a strange old lamp”- Paula commented. “Me too, I didn’t like to old heavy boots!”- Gabriele said. “Now everything is different. It’s so good to have a better life!”Emily said.

The ancient religion was also different from that we have today. That was a pagan religion. All of us viewed strange pictures in an encyclopedia. And our teacher explained us that our ancestors the Balts were pagans and worshiped various mythical creatures, sprits, gods and goddesses until the Christening. Lithuanians worshiped nature Gods uristening. Lithuanians worshiped nature Gods until then. “In those ancient times people imagined the picture of the world as a big tree standing near the water. Roots - underground, death, the past, the underworld of the ancestors, water beginning and spring of life. In the middle, the buzzing bees - the world of the toiling people. The summit, the top of the tree - light of heaven and the future of life, the kingdom of gods and goddesses”.

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Lithuanian Festivals “ I’ll start my painting from the top. It’s better to mix colors and then look at the result: red, yellow, blue. I play with the colors. Blue is for the winter and yellow is for the spring. It smells like flowers. And my picture looks like snow and trees. I’ll send it as the letter to the Santa Claus and will ask for a doll and a perfume”- Emily said.

Most of all I like Christmas and Christmas Eve. This day has a special name, we call it in Lithuanian language “Kūčios”. Its celebration begins when the evening star appears in the sky. Only then the family gathers around the dinner table. It‘s being said that this night is a sacred night and you can hear animals talking to each other. Also there is an old tradition to make various rituals and divine the future. After dinner, while everyone remains at the table, the children and young people pull straws of hay out from underneath the tablecloth. A long straw represents a long and prosperous life. At night Santa Claus comes and leaves us a lot of presents. Thus Christmas starts and we go to the church to look at nativity scene.

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The New Year is being celebrated all over the world. This day fixes a new calendar year. On the 6th of January we celebrate “Three Kings“ (or “ Three Wise Men”) day. According to the old tradition they came from the east to worship the new born Christ and give him presents. We call those kings Melichior, Caspar and Balthasar.

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16th of February is a very important day for all Lithuania. It is our Independence Day. Many years ago, on 16 February 1918, Lithuanian restored its independent state and became a free country after more than a hundred years of Russian empire annexation. Below you can see people, who signed our Declaration, they are called “Signatarai�, and we consider them our Fathers of the Nation. But this Independance did not last very long, we lost it to Soviet Union. And after long years, at last, we Restored Independance on 1990 March 11th. This was not thant long ago, my mother was already born then, and even my older sister! We celebrate both Birthdays of Lithuania in our kindergarden with concert, we gift our Motherland with songs, poetry, dancing and smiles. We help to decorate our room with red, green and yellow, because this is colors of our flag!

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We like to draw together, then everything is more interesting.

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Another winter festivals is a Mid-winter day, called Užgavėnės (Shrovetide). It‘s a joyful festival– carnival, which escorts winter. People dresses in different costumes, such as devils, witches, goats, Gypsies, beggars, act, sing and dance and eat a lot of fatty food, at least six times a day, and also pancakes that are the traditional food of this day. The main accent of this festival is immolation of an enormous pagan idol/wicker woman named Morė. It is made from straw. We burn it and this symbolizes the death of winter and the victory of spring. Also it is very import to roll in a snow as then the year will be productive.

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We also celebrate the Mother‘s and the Father‘s day. Traditionally, we celebrate mother’s day on the first Sunday in May and the father‘s day is on the first Sunday in June. On those days I usually make my mom and my dad a cup of tea or coffee and give a small present-my handmade card, as I love them very much. Ester Sunday is another important Lithuanian spring festival. In the evening the whole family colors eastern eggs. You can color them with natural things such as onion skins, beets, flower petals, hay, bee-wax. After Easter morning church services, we all return homes to have breakfast with the contents of the blessed food basket. The meal starts with an egg that can be sliced and shared by the entire family as a sign of unity. And children have their own eggs and enjoy rolling them or –clinking them against another's. If your egg shell remains unbroken after the "clinking," you are the winner! „And I got a nice egg and tasty cookies from Easter Granny. She gives presents only for good children“ – our friend Irmantas told us.

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Midsummer‘s festival on 24 June is a very popular one, we celebrate the longest day of the year, called Rasos. People sing folk songs and dance until the sun sets, tell tales, search to find the magic fern blossom at midnight, jump over bonfires, greet the rising midsummer sun and wash the face with a morning dew, young girls float flower wreaths on the water of river or lake.

“Old people say that this fern flower brings fortune to the person who finds it. It brings luck, wealth or the ability to understand animal speech and anyone who finds the flower will have access to earthly riches. However, you must be very careful in your search! The flower is closely guarded by witches, other ugly creatures and evil spirits. First off all you must mark with a stick a magic circle round yourself light the candle and wait for that moment the fern will blossom. I don‘t tell anybody that you found it!“. 26


Statehood day (Coronation of King Mindaugas) is being celebrated on 6 of July. Mindaugas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, was the first and the only one king in our history. His coronation in 13th century led to the recognition of Lithuanian State in Europe. All Saints' Day annually occurs on 2November. That day we visit the graves of our dead relatives, we honor and remember them. There is a believe that in this night souls of the ancestors can visit the world of living.

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Culture and Art „Beauty is the whole world. The months are sad and cheerful. One with a snowflake another with a flower. All of them are amazing. The World is a true splendor, one blossom is happy, another one is unhappy. And all this together is a real mystery“. The beauty of the world can be expressed by painting, music, poetry, motion... The beauty of Life was perfectly expressed by the most famous Lithuanian painter and compose Mykalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis. Some of his most-performed musical works includes “In the Forest “ and “The Sea“ symphonic poems for orchestra. And his most famous paintings are: “Kings' Fairy Tale“, “Rex”, “Sonata of the Stars”, “Sonata of the Pyramids”.

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Martynas Ma탑vydas was the author and the editor of the first printed book in Lithuanian language - the Catechism (The Simple Words of Catechism). This, in 1547, is the beginning of Lithuanian literature.

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Kristijonas Donelaitis was a Lithuanian Lutheran pastor and poet. He lived and worked in Lithuania Minor, a territory in the Kingdom of Prussia that had minority of ethnic Lithuanians. He wrote the first classic Lithuanian language poem, “The Seasons”, which became one of the principal works of Lithuanian poetry.

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention” .(Sir Francis Bacon)

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Follow the yellow brick road, tra la! Follow the yellow brick road, tra la! Follow! Follow! Follow the yellow brick, follow the yellow brick Follow the yellow brick road! If ever a wonderful Wiz there was The Wizard of Oz is one because Because because because because Because of the wonderful things he does! We're off to see the Wizard The wonderful Wizard of Oz We're off to see, We're off to see The wonderful Wizard of Oz!

How nice it is to sing this song, now I am the Cowardly Lion who wants to get a courage, my friend Imantas is the rusted Tin Woodman, who is looking for a heart and my friend Ugne- is a small girls trying to find her way back home. We love the play “Yellow brick road“ which is performed by “ Keistuolių teatras” .

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Sports “What is the difference between a bird and a plain? “ – a plane has its schedule and must keep to it and a bird can fly whenever it wants to.

Lituanica was an airplane flown from the United States across the Atlantic Ocean by Lithuanian brave pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas in 1933. After successfully flying almost the whole distance without landing, it crashed, due to undetermined circumstances, 650 km from its destination, our native city Kaunas. This flight was a true challenge and our pilots made a significant flight in the history of world aviation! An ordinary plane of this size cannot cover a such way even today!

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Jurgis Kairys – is our nowadays well known engineer pilot of the highest level and most impressive Airshow pilots as well. He is the first aerobatic pilot to hover his aircraft like a helicopter. Jurgis won five medals in Freestyle World Aerobatic Championships, two gold and three silver. Jurgis two times became World Grand Prix of Aerobatics overall champion. In 1996 on a Statehood day he accomplished the first in the World official permitted under bridge flight in Kaunas (the distance between the water and the bridge was seven meters). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCMbizB8p7A Basketball is the most popular and successful team sport in Lithuania. It is like our second religion. When TV shows the basketball match all the streets are empty. Our legendary basketball players are: Arvydas Sabonis, Sarunas Marciulionis. “You must go in for sports if you want to stay healthy and strong. My dad is taking exercises a lot but my mom not so much, that’s why my dad is stronger”.

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Museums “Hey, children, have you ever visited any museum?” “I have been in Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum. There are lot of rare and extinct stuffed animals, birds, fishes” - Danielius said.

“And I have visited Amber Park Museum, which is in our resort city Palanga. Some ambers have inclusions- these are flies, spiders, bugs, ants, leaves, seeds, thorns, twigs and even tiny drops of water. Such amber formatted, when liquid resins constantly soaked from the tree wounds and met those obstacles on their way“- Ugne said. „And I was in the Sea Museum and Aquarium in Klaipeda. I saw lots of fishes, big and small. I enjoyed dolphins’ performance. They swam so nice“- told us Elze.

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Some museums can be very big. We have one near Kaunas, it’s called Open Air Museum of Lithuania. It is a unique and one of the largest (195 ha) open-air ethnographic museums in Europe. It has the biggest quantity of exhibits of XVIII-XIX centuries. The museum presents the mode of life, works, and traditions of peasants and townspeople of all Lithuanian ethnographic areas: Dzukija, Aukstaitija, Suvalkija, Zemaitija and Lithuania Minor. It takes the whole day to look at all the expositions in this museum.

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Kaunas zoo is the only zoo in Lithuania. It offers education programs and lets children meet exotic animals.

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Kaunas “I was in the old town” – tells us six years old Danielius. “I saw a red brick castle; I hurried up its stairs and waved my mom from the top. There was a big, wet and cold stone inside and I found a small black leaf on it. It’s autumn.”

Kaunas has a population of 311,000 inhabitants. Kaunas centre has a long pedestrian avenue, called Freedom avenue. If you follow that avenue you can see the big church Kaunas St. Michael Archangel Church of Catholics and Kaunas M. Žilinskas Picture Gallery with a huge sculpture of a man in front of it.

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On your way you can visit Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum, Devils’ Museum, Vytautas the Great War Museum, Sport Museum, the State Drama Theatre, Kauna Puppet Theatre and Musical Theater. If to go further on, soon you will enter into the old town where you can find our kinder garden “Eziukas“ (“Little Hedgehog”).

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Not far from there you can see our City Hall and Kaunas Arch-cathedral and if to go a bit further you will see Kaunas Castle near the river Nemunas. It is the oldest building in our city. From 1920 to 1940 Kaunas was the provisional capital of Lithuania so we have Historical Presidential Palace. It is very close to our kinder garden. In the cozy garden of the palace the sculptures of our presidents and other famous Lithuanian public men face to the visitors.

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There are two still functioning funicular railways in Kaunas which are oldest ones in Europe. You can go up the hill with them. They look as they did in 1931.

We have also a big Kaunas Lagoon. Previously there were villages in that place but then people moved away and now we have in here the largest artificial lake in Lithuania. We have it because Kaunas Water Power Plant was built on Nemunas. On the picturesque coast of the lagoon there is the largest monastery and church complex in Lithuania called Pazaislis Monastery and Church. It is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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Kaunas is home to a variety of festivals, including famous summer time Pazaislis International Music festival and Kaunas Jazz festival with world-wide famous musicians, singers and dancers. Kaunas is also famous for its Universities and colleges. To name but a few: Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University, University of Management and Economy, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas University of Medicine, Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education, Kaunas College, Kaunas College of Forestry and Environmental Engineering. So you can call Kaunas a city of youth and students.

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Main Facts About Kaunas History Kaunas is settled in central Lithuania on the confluence of Neminas and Neris, two biggest rivers in Lithuania. The settlement is first mentioned in 1361. There was a masonry castle built here in XIII century, to protect local people form crusaders. There are the ruins of the castle, remained until our days. In 1408 Kaunas was granted the city rights. In 1441 Hanza merchants opened here the office. In XVI a. the school, public hospital and pharmacy was opened in Kaunas. Kaunas was ravaged during Russian attacs in 1665, Swede march to Russia in 1707, two plague epidemics in 1657 and 1708, and during two big fires in 1731 and 1732. During 1812 year war, Napoleon army was crossing the river Nemunas in Kaunas. In war city was ravaged 2 times. When Russians occupied Vilnius in 1919, the Cabinet of Ministers and State Council, other state institutions. In 1920 Poland occupied Vilnius again, so Kaunas became provisional capital of Lithuania and the most important city in Lithuania. During the independence period, Kaunas grew and developed, industry prospered. Many buildings were reconstructed, new building were built, some of them now are very important monuments of architecture. In 1924 buses started to run in city, in 1928 the urban water supply was arranged. After the Second World War Vilnius recovered the capital title and Kaunas became the second biggest city of Lithuania by size and number of inhabitants. City was destroyed during the war and rebuilt, but the soviets demolished everything, that was related to Lithuanian independence. One of the most known protests against soviets in Lithuania took place in Kaunas. Romas Kalanta burned himself down in the center of Kaunas, in front of the Musical theatre.

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Legend about Kaunas During a hunt, Lithuanians chased the king of Lithuanian woods – aurochs (the European bison) to the backwoods and killed it at the confluence of Nemunas and Neris. But then hunters noticed, that in between the horns of dead animal is the cross, made of wood branches. So they startleyd and sacrified the animal to the gods by burning him down. And now Kaunas stands in this place and it has the king of woods with the cross on this horns in the coat of arms.

Origin of the name Nobody really knows, were do the name Kaunas comes from. There are few versions. The primary meaning of word Kaunas could be deep, low. Root kaun– could come from Indo– European root kau – (deep and low).Last version is saying that the name Kaunas came from the family name, which can be found even in our days. Kaunas might be the ruler of local people. Sometimes name Kaunas is related to the word “Kautis” (to fight).

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Kaunas Kindergarden “Ežiukas“ Our kinder garden is located in Kaunas old town.

We have 6 age groups :  One nursery group ( for 1.5-3 years old kids)  Three kinder garden groups (for 3-5 years old the children)  Two preschool groups (for 6-7 year old children) There are 120 children in total in our kinder garden. All the groups in our kindergarden are named by the names of trees. We have some branches of those trees in our groups too, so we can touch nature every day, even when it is winter and there We usually play, perform, explore and learn a lot of interesting things together with our teachers and their assistants. We have various teachers. Our musical education teacher teaches us various songs, dances, plays and games. Our physical education teacher wakes up us with the morning exercises each morning. We also like our “Film Lady” who is our psychologist. She demonstrates us various interesting films and explains what good behavior is and what is bad and plays interesting games with us.

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Also we learn how to make various handicrafts. I love to create various things from clay with our teacher of arts and crafts and even know a poem about a Clay man. Just listen: I had a piece of clay And made a small ball, hey! I added nose and funny mouth And look! He wants to laugh!” If we have difficulties with words pronunciation, our speech therapist always helps us to speak correctly and clearly. You know, sometimes it’s difficult to repeat those difficult worlds and sounds but overall, it’s a funny game.

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In 2009 “Child Health Lifestyle Development Centre” was established in our kinder garden. Once a month we all gather together with our parents and have great time – we play games that help to feel and understand each other better, drink various tasty herbal teas, speak about healthy food and learn a lot of more things.

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Goodbye and thank you for reading! We really hope that this guidebook will be a useful tool to see and get acquainted with Lithuania through the eyes of children. Looking forward to welcome you to our beautiful country! From the smallest between us to the biggest, everybody is interested to discover something new every day and cherishes warmth and sincerity. So, we hope to give the same to you!

The child is made of one hundred. The child has A hundred languages A hundred hands A hundred thoughts A hundred ways of thinking Of playing, of speaking. A hundred always a hundred Ways of listening of marveling.... Loris Malaguzzi

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Guidebook to Lithuania