26th – 30th September 2012 – Mobility to Iceland
Iceland was the first station of a beautiful adventure that started in Belgium, on November 2011, when 7 countries decided to cooperate for the implementation of the European program Comenius called “A Taste of Europe”.
In Iceland, the representatives of the 7 countries visited the “Langholtsskoli” Primary School, where the headmaster notified them about the organization of the school and the Icelandic Educational system.
The Comenius group also visited the “Klettaskoli” Special Education School, where they were shown the classes and all facilities offered to SEN pupils. The Director talked to them about the staff expertise of the school and the kind of provision to SEN pupils.
The Comenius partners had a chance to get to know the Icelandic culture and every day life by various interesting visits and short excursions like the visit to the Blue Lagoon and the geysers-waterfall, famous sightseeing of Iceland. They tasted local food and learned about local cuisine.
Peter Panda the teddy bear, which is the Comenius mascot, having his own suitcase, began a two years journey from Iceland to the partner countries, keeping a diary of what he experienced in every country and taking photos of the places he visited.
14th – 18th November 2012 – Mobility to England
The Comenius group visited the “Byron Court Primary School”, a mainstream school, where the Comenius team joined an updating on SEN pupils in the English school system and their inclusion in the mainstream school.
Every Comenius partner visited two classes of different age groups and discussed about their country (history, geography, culture).
A great event, called “International Evening” was held at the Byron Court Primary School, where school staff, parents, children and Comenius guests were involved in show casing food. It was an amazing event that boosted the knowledge of food and different traditions of the 7 countries involved and brought participants together.
In London, the Comenius team was also guided to the English Natural History Museum, watched an English theatrical play and participated in various outdoors educational activities.
13th -18th March 2013 – Mobility to Ireland
First stop in Ireland was Trim, a town in County Meath, Ireland. In Trim, the representatives of Comenius visited St. Michael’s mainstream Primary School (only for boys) and Centre for Autism (6 special classes for children with autism). They were informed about the Irish Education System, the structure of St. Michael’s Primary school and the Special Education unit. They were also guided to special classes (and observed teaching) and mainstream classes, where they had the chance to discuss with pupils about their countries and watch in action different pedagogical approaches.
There was an amazing musical assembly in the school hall, where pupils of mainstream school and special education unit presented traditional songs while playing traditional instruments. It was a really touching and moving experience for all the partners as well as entertaining and fulfilling. They also watched and participated in Gaelic traditional games.
While in Trim, the Comenius partners had a visit to the Battle of the Boyne Heritage site, where they were guided to the Museum and place of battle. They also had a walking tour in the Historic town, Trim Castle and visited St. Mary’s Abbey.
There was a Civic Reception of the Comenius team, in Trim Town Council and finally they participated in Cultural Night Dunderry Lodge where we were presented with traditional folklore music.
The second stop in Ireland, was Dublin. In Dublin, the Comenius team participated in tour to sites including “The Guinness” hop store, Dublin Castle, Temple Bar and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day along with thousands of people from all over the world.
The Greek mission had a great and unforgettable experience and returned with the baggage full of wonderful memories.
17th – 21st April 2013 – Mobility to Greece
Athens was the third mobility of the Comenius project. The representatives of the partner countries visited our school, the 1st Special Education Primary School of Korydallos.
On their visit, the staff and the principal welcomed them and offered homemade breakfast. Afterwards, the Greek coordinator presented the Greek educational system and the provision in Special Education. Comenius partners were divided into groups and watched teaching activities in classes with SEN pupils. Educational and European games were played such as: a puzzle about the 7 countries (including the map, the food, the national costume and their most famous sightseeing), the drawing of our own Peter Panda on a big wallpaper, under the guidance of a famous Danish painter. Pupils had created and wore special T-shirts on that day, with the name of each partner country on their back.
Pupils and staff of Greek school presented a show of music and dance inspired by the seven partner countries (Iceland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Latvia, Denmark, Spain).
School staff cooked Greek traditional food for our guests and we all enjoyed a delicious meal at school. Later, a Greek traditional dancing club presented a show of Greek dances at the school yard. Partners and staff participated as well with great joy and enthusiasm.
The Comenius team was guided to a wonderful sightseeing tour in Athens including the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum and the Ancient Agora with last stop the famous Monastiraki where they tasted the Greek souvlaki and mousaka.
2nd – 6th October 2013 – Mobility to Latvia
In Latvia, the Comenius team visited town Cesis. In Cesis, they visited “Veselavas speciālā pirmsskolas izglītības iestāde”, which is a specialized pre-school educational institution (kindergarten) for SEN pupils. An updating on the educational system in Latvia and specifically the provision for SEN pupils was presented by the staff and headmaster. The staff and the pupils of the Latvian school presented songs and dances to celebrate harvest festival. Their creativity using fresh vegetables and fruits along with nature’s goods for decoration and educational purposes was amazing and beyond any expectation.
Comenius team was guided to sightseeing tour to Cesis Castle park and the old.
In Cesis, the Comenius group also visited: “Raiskums” special school, where children with special needs (physical and learning disabilities) are hosted, Cesis Elementary School, and the Special Education class, with children with mental retardation.
They participated in a folk evening in Veselavas pre-school. During the festive, a traditional dance club presented folklore dances, and all the participants, staff of Veselavas School and Comenius visitors danced with great joy and excitement.
Afterwards, the team went to Riga, the capital of Latvia. In Riga they visited a bread production factory where they also made black bread. Afterwards, they were guided around the sights of the city of Riga.
The nature, the local food and the hospitality of Latvian people made the visit to Latvia a unique experience which enhanced not only the exchange of good practises but also our cultural knowledge.
27th November – 1st December 2013 – Mobility to Denmark
On the 6th mobility the Comenius partners visited Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. In Copenhagen they visited “SKOLEN ved NORDENS PLADS”, which is a special education school for SEN students.
The team attended an updating on the Education reforms taking place in Denmark for the new academic year. They were guided to classes, observed teaching and had the chance to participate to common activities with students. Finally, there was a music event presented to honour the Comenius partners.
While in Denmark, the representatives of Comenius visited a television production company, where the majority of its workforce has disabilities. They were informed about its structure and administration.
They were guided to Christiania, the Little Mermaid and other great sights in Copenhagen. During the last night they were all gathered at the school, where Danish colleagues had prepared a farewell dinner for the Comenius partners. It was a lovely evening.
The mobility to Denmark was a beautiful experience with lots of new tools and methods to implement on our way back to our countries.
21st – 25th May 2014 – Mobility to Spain
Barcelona was the last station of a really great journey around Europe for academic purposes. In Barcelona, the Comenius team visited CEE CAN Rigol, which is a public special educational institution located in El Prat de Llobregat.
Can Rigol provides Special Education and assistance to 95 pupils, aged from 3 to 21 years old, with several disorders and disabilities, originated from various socioeconomic backgrounds.
There was an updating on the education system in Barcelona, both in mainstream and SEN schools. The partners were guided in the school and had the chance to share knowledge and opinions with teachers, assistants and students. They had lunch at the school and tasted the famous paella.
The coordinator of each country exchanged with the other countries a keepsake as a gift. Each keepsake contained food miniatures and souvenirs of all kinds, from each one’s country.
Comenius team also visited a primary school with a support unit for special education pupils.
At the theatre of the town library hall (Centric Bibliotheca), pupils of Can Rigol gave a touching performance. Teachers, parents, representatives of the town and the Comenius team watched a show of music and dance, which marked the end of the project Comenius “Taste of Europe”. It was a very emotional moment that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. It will be forever imprinted in our memory.
The Comenius team was guided to the beautiful city of Barcelona and visited Gaudi Park, Sagrada Familia, Miro museum, Barcelonetta.
There was a farewell dinner and the members of the Comenius team promised to keep in touch.
After two and a half years the Comenius journey around Europe with the project “A Taste of Europe” reached the end. A great bond of friendship was set between 7 European countries and an amazing pedagogical chance that facilitate the exchange of good practices and the further development of our SEN pupil was made reality.
Text editors Ms Micha Asimina, Speech and Language Therapist, MA
Ms Mourelatou Stamoula, Occupational Therapist