Page: 12-20 Author: Kaplánek, M. Key words: animation, informal education, leisure studies, extracurricular education, leisure education, experiential education, postmodern, Salesians of don Bosco, socialisation, social pedagogy, social work, free time.
From most Czech publications on leisure, we might get the impression that pedagogika volného času (leisure education) has just replaced the former term mimoškolní výchova (extracurricular education) and so is an applied educational discipline focused on the reflective exploration and further development of the „pedagogical valuation of free time“ (Hofbauer), especially in the case of children and young people. Yet there is no doubt that cultural change in the last third of the 20th century has brought about both quantitative and qualitative increase in the significance of free time. This is a development that therefore needs to be taken into account in lesire education.
In Western Europe, we can encounter several educational concepts that seek to describe and exploit the potential of informal education, or animation. In Opaschowski‘s work, informal education even almost merges with leisure education and animation is seen as one of its principal methods.
Leisure behaviour can be of interest to us for various reasons, If we are primarily interested in the process of socialisation and on helping those who have problems participating in society, we are moving in the field of social pedagogy. On the other hand, if we are primarily interested in individual development through leisure activities and on fostering ability to manage time, we find ourselves in the domain of leisure education. This distinction is based on the development of leisure education (Freizeitpádagogik) in German-speaking countries.
Since the late 1990s, scholars in the field of leisure education in Germany have shifted their attention towards educational research on leisure. The term denotes the analysis and exploration of the the changing significance of free time in life domains relevant for education. Leisure education is closely linked to the educational tradition of Central Europe as well as to the newly developing educational research on leisure evident throughout the world.