The 4th extra short term joint staff training and learning activity in Bad Teinach Zavelstein Germany has been conducted and concluded with great success. 13 professionals, coordinators and participants, from each of the countries of the partnership, met in Bad Teinach Zavelstein from the 13th of March until the 17th of March 2017 to share good practices and therefore improve the quality of their institutions or methods on their return. Greece was represented by Mourelatou Stamoula, the main coordinator of the project and the teachers Banasa Maria and Papatsani Areti.
Karl Georg School has 110 pupils, age 6 to 19 and 55 persons as educational staff working full time and part time.
The German partners have set an example for imitation regarding the outstanding hospitality, the excellent organization, the training programme, their education and culture. The welcoming of the partnership was heartily, warm and sincere. Heike Eichbauer, the German coordinator with the cooperation of all her colleagues had prepared a unique programme, with truly inspiring activities and workshops, interactive and highly educational. The week we spent in the school was called “project week” where pupils were engaged with different workshops and projects which at the end of the week were presented to the parents and guests with “an open day” celebration.
Sunday 12.3.2017 was the day of the arrival of all the members of the partnership in Germany. In the evening we all met in the welcoming dinner feeling happy for a new educational adventure started again.
On Monday 13.3.2017 early in the morning we met at Karl Georg school for the official welcoming from all the pupils and colleagues. The school band sang for our beautiful songs and the Principal of the school Ilse Dieterle welcomed us and introduced us to the school staff and pupils. The “project week” had just started for the pupils.
Pupil’s representatives and teachers gave us a tour around the school in order to get familiar with our place of work for the rest of the week and also see the classes and workshops. Heike Eichbauer and the Assistant Principal of the school Mr Helmar Schartner, introduced us to the German Special Education System through a power point presentation. Discussion followed.
At noon we visited the town Calw where we were welcomed by the Regional district authorities. We were introduced to the town of Calw and the district of Baden Wurttemberg, to the educational functions of the district and their general purpose. The district commissionaire outlined the importance of such strategic partnerships aiming to development at this difficult time of European economical crisis.
Followed, a tour around the wonderful town of Calw where we used GPS devises and while following the hidden clues we had a big walk around the old town learning about its history and biographical information about the great author Hermann Hessey.
Later on, we attended the official opening day of the exhibition “Birdman” at the local bank Kreissparkasse Calw. The artist, Hans Langner best known as “Birdman” presented pieces of his work with the collaboration of Karl Georg School.
Tuesday morning at school (14.3.2017) we were divided into two groups and participated in turns in the workshops “Drums” with the artist Yayantha Gomez and “Instant Art” with the artist Hans Langner – “Birdman”. The artists though their arts and techniques motivated us all, partners, pupils and colleagues to participate lively and energetic and to express ourselves unconditionally. It was truly an amazing experience.
The well organized programme combined school and cultural activities improving in this way our knowledge about the cultural heritage of the host country while at the same time obtaining a better understanding of the development of arts through the years. Thus, later on at noon, we visited the village Bad Wildbad where we used the funicular railway and had a walk in the treetop admiring the marvelous spectacle of the Black Forest in the surrounding area.
In the afternoon the coordinators of all the countries had the standard meeting as it was necessary to assess our work so far, to discuss the course and progress of our activities and to plan future activities. The muse Thalia, the mascot of our project, was delivered by the Romanian coordinator Mariana Hertoiu to the German coordinator Heike Eichbauer, in order for her to explore a new European culture and to attend new classes, courses and activities.
Late in the afternoon, the “dancing ladies of Zavelstein” welcomed us in the Town Hall while wearing traditional costumes. They introduced us to folk dancing and treated us with tasteful delicacies. A guided night tour to the medieval castle of Bad Teinach Zavelstein was the absolute closure for this long and wonderful day.
Wednesday 15.3.2017 started with a long morning walk to the nature reserve Kaltenbronn in the Black Forest and a visit to Baden Baden the traditional spa town. The most wonderful moment of this outdoor activity was the visit to the interactive music museum for children “Toccarion”. The experience was unique, educational and truly fun. The guide through interactive activities introduced us the world of music and musical instruments, of music composition and feelings that arise through the music.
On Thursday 16.3.2017 we were divided into small groups and we all participated in different workshops of the “project week”. In the “natural colors” workshop, pupils made colors while using natural ingredients e.g. strawberries, spinach, carrots etc and with this they painted blouses, fabrics and papers of different texture with the most amazing outcome. In the “basket weaving” workshop we made along with the kids baskets which were all sold at the end of the week. In the “cooking workshop” pupils made sweets and flavored butter which were also sold at the “open day”. In the “journalist workshop” pupils used high tech microphone recorders and interviewed the pupils while working on their projects. In the “photography workshop” pupils accompanied by teachers took photos of their classmates and workshops. In the “dancing workshop” pupils and dancing teachers improvised dances while the music changed. The final outcome was presented at the “open day” celebration. In the “painting workshop” pupils and partners were taught on painting techniques. In the “black light theatre” workshop, pupils became actors and with the use of special lights in a dark room rehearsed on a fantastic play concerning the emotions. Last, we all participated in the “Circus” workshop where with the help of a professional juggling we practiced on circus skills in a fun and interactive way.
All these workshops demonstrate methodologies and specialized techniques aiming to the improvement of the the expressive abilities of the pupils, on their social behavior and development, encourage their personal development, the expression of their feelings, awareness, and develop social and human skills.
In the afternoon we visited the city of Stuttgart, which is the capital and largest city of the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
On Friday 17.3.2017 early in the morning we visited the sheltered workshops of people with special needs in Calw. Our German partners highlight the great importance of independent living and work for the people with special needs after finishing school. For this reason they have created 700 workshops around Germany for their professional activity and employment in order to have an autonomous or semi autonomous life. They also provide sheltered homes for the people with severe disabilities. Their aim is for everybody to work and feel equal members of the society. The GWW factory is a good example in terms of quality, infrastructure and methodology. They have over 1000 customers among them the Mercedes Benz.
Later on, we had a quick tour around the village Bad Teinach and a visit to the noodles manufactory to taste some delicious handmade noodles.
At noon we participated in the “School’s Open Day” for the presentation of all workshops to parents and guests. It was held in the cultural center of Bad Teinach Zavelstein. It was a 3-hour program where pupils presented all the outcomes of the weekly workshops in which they were involved like dance, drums, circus, black theater and the show was absolutely spectacular. At the same time, there were exhibitions of the creations of the pupils with the artist Birdman, baskets and delicacies which could be bought. Guests also had the opportunity to participate in blind painting lessons proving that everyone can draw.
This wonderful last day ended with the farewell dinner which was truly special. Initially the German coordinator Heike Eichbauer, the director of the school Ilse Dieterle and the Deputy Director Helmar Schartner gave to each partner team the certificate of attendance. It was truly a touching moment for all, full of wishes and promises to meet again soon. The party that followed was full of fun, dance, joy, excitement and thrill as one more successful mobility had come to an end. We renewed our appointment for Slovenia in May and with our suitcases full of experiences we started the next day our trip back home.
The educational staff of the school Karl Georg gave us a heartfelt farewell. It was apparent the friendship and strong bonds that have developed further among all participants as we shared together a wonderful week highly educational and fun.
We sincerely thank our dear colleagues from Germany for this perfect mobility, the well-structured program, the variety of activities and actions, the impeccable hospitality, the unique experiences and the exchange of good practices. They set an example for all of us and gave us the opportunity to feel and learn how to express through Art, to communicate and socialize and to get to know this little wonderful piece of Germany.
Mourelatou Stamoula – Occupational Therapist
Main Coordinator of the Erasmus+ project “ARTEMOTION XPRESS IN EUROPE”