Pavel And Yulia Shevchenko

The best is a great motivation that was not killed at an early age

Pavel was born in Perm, Yulia is from a military family, was born in Hungary, lived in Ukraine for a long time and in 1996 returned with her family to Perm. Pavel is a teacher of chemistry by education, Julia is a primary school teacher and a psychologist. Educators, creators, and leaders of the Gifted Development Center.


  • Julia: I like to find something new and try to apply it to myself.
  • Pavel: Sometimes a feeling occurs that you are riding a bicycle, and the chain gets loose. I pedal, and nothing happens.
  • Julia: People are not ready to listen and hear each other.
  • Pavel: I am distraught by the crisis of professionalism. In some areas, you can find a person who could do his job qualitatively only with great effort.

Our story

Pavel: My work with gifted children began with the organization of intellectual games in high school: we watched Berezniki play in the brain-ring, and decided that Perm is no worse. Two teams came to the first game in January 1993: one was engaged in the Palace of Creativity in the science department study groups, and the second was from Lyceum № 1. Then three teams joined, then five, ten... We began to hold games regularly. Gradually other intellectual clubs appeared, and the methods of working with teams, with different types of questions...

Julia: Intellectual games have played a considerable role in my life. Besides, we caught the golden time, when they were not as sporty as they are now, but rather united people into one large friendly community. I started playing in the Ukrainian Berdyansk, where I was finishing school, and before my move to Perm, the captain of the team made me swear that I would go to the Perm club. I was a shy person, but I had to overpower myself and call unfamiliar people. So we met with my new team and Pavel.

Pavel: After the university, I was invited to the center of creativity «Muraveinik» (The Anthill — ed.) to organize regional school olympiads. My task was to connect all the performers into one mechanism: those who wrote assignments, those who conducted the Olympiads, those who trained people in schools. Then, together with Yulia, we started working at school № 146: Yulia as a psychologist, and I was responsible for organizing olympiads in physics, mathematics, and chemistry.

Yulia: I started working at the 146th school immediately after graduating from the pedagogical university and was pleasantly surprised by the system of work created at this school, by a friendly environment and the striving for harmony. Often, when people talk about working with gifted children, they mean only Olympiad participants. And in working with them, many consider the main forcing of the load on a specific subject. This approach can cause many problems: from temporal misalignment in the work of the cerebral hemispheres to persistent personality changes. At the same time, it should be understood that gifted children themselves are often emotionally vulnerable. Now the issue of educational approaches «sustainability» is given more attention, but at that time creating an environment that allows for careful attitude to the personality of each child was, in my opinion, a great achievement of the team led by Alexander Alekseevich Korzyakov. This approach provides more opportunities for harmonious development: attention is paid not only to the mental load but also to the possibilities of realization in sports and in creative activity.

Not all gifted children should participate in the olympiads, because the Olympiads is almost a sport. Not everyone likes to compete, not everyone can, not everyone has the psycho-emotional capabilities necessary for such an activity. The duty of the educational system in this situation is to help the child understand what forms of action will help him unleash the available potential.

Pavel: Recently there was an Internet discussion about the awards for children-winners of olympiads: in Moscow, they give very serious awards for victories, almost like winners of sports olympiads. But you need to understand: participation (and victory) in sports competitions is the pinnacle of professional growth for most athletes. And school olympiads are just a step towards something more significant. Besides, in the Olympiad system, you can very quickly get used to the rapid achievement of the result, moreover, to the very presence of the correct answer. But in life there is no such thing: in science, a task may not have a clue, or it will turn out to be ambiguous, and moreover, you need to learn how to set tasks for yourself. In our opinion, it is better to support winners with grants for studies or internships in laboratories: it is more productive, more exciting and excludes the moment of monetary interest in winning.

Julia: We founded the Gifted Development Center in 2005 when I left a private university where I was engaged in psychology, and Pavel left the ministry where he was involved in olympiads. Formally, our name is not very correct, because you need to develop not talent, but people — its carriers, but we work with children and with adults, and the «Development Center for Gifted People» at that time sounded somehow sectarian. It was already difficult for us to explain what we were exactly doing. Meanwhile, we continued to hold intellectual games, started working with teachers, organized seminars on working with gifted children and, of course, various activities that would enable gifted children to develop and realize their capabilities: specialized camps, intellectual and research competitions. And today we are interested in the same questions: what children can be called gifted, how to identify them, how to start working with them, how to maintain the necessary level of motivation, how not to harm them in the process, how to help them explore their potential and unleash it as much as possible, formats and types of activities we can offer these children to realize their potential.

Once we decided to make a good development center for preschoolers. Together with two colleagues, talented psychologists, we wrote a program and planned to engage in the development of the cognitive sphere in formats that are available to young children and are useful for them. In terms of demand, our program has failed. Parents came, studied programs for three-year-olds and said: where do you learn to read, do sums, why don't you offer teaching English? We answered that our programs are aimed at developing basic cognitive abilities, research activity, general awareness, but parents responded that the neighbor child in two years already reads and sings songs in English... In general, this idea is commercially turned out to be unsuccessful. To some extent, we merely were unlucky: with this topic, we were at the very peak of unhealthy interest in early development. Now, it seems to me, such a stir has subsided, and the centers with a good reputation and the right approach have become the most famous and major players in this market. This makes me happy.

The best thing for a child's development is a great motivation that wasn't «killed» at an early age. And to kill motivation is very easy! For example, they prepare a child for school, accompanying the story with the words «your childhood is over, now you understand how it was good in the kindergarten!» — and the child already perceives the school not as a source of future discoveries and bright, positive impressions, but as a place of departure conscription. Parents relate to the child's questions without the necessary attention — and the interest in knowing the world is slowly fading away. Every primary school teacher, in general, should be a unique individual specialist who can support the natural cognitive need of a small person. In my opinion, primary school is generally an incredibly important period. If during this time the cognitive motivation is active, the child is not afraid of certain difficulties and errors in the work of individual teachers. They trampled on the child's natural craving for the knowledge of the world — and it will already be difficult for him to engage in learning activities even with the most modern pedagogical tools.