Pioneers and „sparks”

„Universal development of personality, preparation of active builder of communist society is basic aim of communist upbringing,“ writes Otto Čmolík in his book “Games for Sparks and Pioneers” in 1973.

One of things, which is necessary to mention at the plays, especially at those children´s ones, is their irreplaceable task in education and upbringing. The plays develop all aspects of children´s personality; except for the mentioned physical aspect they have influence also on intellectual abilities, aesthetical comprehension and socialization. The plays, which have a form of imitating the activity of adults, can have a function of working education; together with stage-properties and toys they contribute to technical skills.

As for moral education, socialist upbringing of the children and youth plays a distinctive part in history of Slovakia. The communists indentified the potential of the plays as a possibility of means for influencing and check of young generation. So the plays became a tool for creation of the socialist man suitable for the regime. Not neglecting the emphasized elements of the plays, which contribute to the development of man, in the communist regime these plays have been duly completed with a propagandistic level. In this period the authors have been not mistaken in the fact how the games are important, however, they condition them by the ideology and political directing. „The most favourite, the most needed children´s games are those, in which the children alone will determine themselves the aim of play: to build a house, to travel to Moscow, to drive out the White Guard…“, Nadežda Konstantinovna Krupská writes, the female organizer of Soviet school system and wife of Vladimír Iljič Lenin.

It comes also to creating of new manuals with recommended plays which would support the then social and political aims. These ones called upbringing thematic plays teach the children to current necessary things; to cleanliness and hygiene, to knowing the physical phenomena or to cooperation but it is necessary to indicate those, which make efforts for instance for „waking-up of sincere love to soldiers“, they want “to instil in the children that our army is strong and our soldiers do not fear an enemy” or with the aid of construction of snowmen to persuade the children that the “ children of unemployed labourers in capitalistic countries suffer from cold“.

These plays have been thematic and directed by adults what is connected with creating the organizations of pioneers led by the Socialistic Union of Youth and Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The pioneers should be a new force for fight for rights of exploited proletariat and these associations had a task to enthuse the children and youth for effort for better future. Pioneering plays are thought-out and motivated to draw in the children into the „ real world“      and they are easily interchangeable with the work (for example the plays in the nature, part of which is planting of young trees or plays in which the children have collected historically valuable or interesting materials). They lean against methods of the upbringing process by Soviet pedagogue A. S. Makarenko who emphasized the necessity of plays in children´s collective as a means for developing of imagination, fantasy and according to who also the pedagogues have a duty to know to play with something. 

But „analogous” plays have not, of course, disappeared with arrival of the digital era and their tradition goes on up today although the theme of the fact whether they are expelled by new technologies is present in more areas. Today´s uneasiness of parents and pedagogues who have a feeling that the children and youth do not spend fully-fledged time by plays and activities, which have positive influence on development of their personality, and they worry about negative consequences, which can come with inadequate consumption of products, which are brought by the digitalization.