The 1st Special Education Primary School of Korydallos will participate at the European commission’s programme Erasmus+ after its application’s approval from the Greek National Agency.
The programme’s duration is 30 months (1/9/2015 – 1/3/2018), with the participation of 6 countries with the respective following coordinators: Germany – Ms Heike Eichbauer, special education teacher, Poland – Ms Patrycja Pytlik, special education teacher, Romania – Ms Mariana Hertoiu, speech-language therapist, Slovenia – Ms Tanja Nikolovski, special education teacher, Spain – Mr Rodrigo Fafian Amado, special education teacher / IT facilitator, with head coordinator of the programme from Greece Ms Mourelatou Stamoula, occupational therapist at the 1st Special Education Primary School of Korydallos.
Our programme is labeled «Artemotion Xpress in Europe» and promises art, motion, emotion, interactiveness, education, creativity and collaboration. The programme aims to use art for the expression of the emotions of children with special needs, while at the same time will help additional fields of life such as school life, family and social life.
The reason for choosing this programme is that Special Needs Education is not as developed as it should be in most European countries. Schools for SEN students provide limited opportunities compared to mainstream schools when it comes to experiencing Arts, European/ International environment and living their lives to the fullest. Furthermore, any relevant extracurricular activities are directly connected to the personnel’s expertise and not generally implemented nationally or in a European level. Therefore, the need for innovative projects that will be auxiliary to the further development of the educational systems at European level is apparent and necessary.
The desire for a project with partners involved only in Special Needs Education was the main reason for the establishment of this partnership. We came to the conclusion that Arts (Music, Dance, Theater, Filming, Photography, Handcraft, Poetry) and Emotions (both recognition and expression) are not only weaved in everybody’s everyday life, but also a fine way to gain our pupils’ interest and to enrich their extracurricular cultivation.
All participating schools provide education exclusively to students with Special Needs, aged from 3 to 18 years old, of a varied diagnosis. These similar school profiles are of our advantage, as we have common problems and limitations in our work, common ambition to provide the best to our students and common thirst to enrich our professional repertoire with innovative educational and therapeutic methods.
The combination of the different curriculum and the methodology that each school applies with Arts will provide a new therapeutic tool capable to be implemented in other schools or institutions. Also, Arts will aid the teaching of basic educational lessons such as language, maths, physics etc.
This shared knowledge and best practice exchange will promote pupils’ developmental skills such as Emotional Development, Movement Skills, Learning- Thinking abilities and Communication and Language Skills. It will also facilitate our pupils’ Knowledge spectrum, Social Skills, Physical Health and Well-Being. It will strengthen their knowledge and understanding of their role and identity in the European Community. We trust that this project will be a step forward in their development concerning all aspects of life (school, family, social, personal life).
We find that all of the above will, undoubtedly, advance the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
We vision that “Artemotion Xpress in Europe” will offer the opportunity to our pupils to learn about other cultures and develop personal relations with other pupils from Europe. We believe that we will be given the opportunity to implant the idea of using various kinds of Arts as a new/ contemporary learning/teaching method in special education of pupils with different kinds of disabilities.
The activities that we have carefully and in detail planned are of gradated difficulty, aim to give opportunities to all pupils to participate and meet their interests from early childhood to late adolescence. We will give our pupils the opportunity to recognize their emotional reactions and to express them in several, creative ways. Worksheets, games, role playing, video projections, books, filming and creativity will help us along the way.
Each participating member will work on the project in the class, but also in extracurricular activities. The organizing of events in special occasions with students and parents will enhance the implementation of our objectives at home and in the community.
The project will benefit the staff of each school and the community. School staff will meet new teaching methods, tools, pedagogical approaches to learn and apply, while the community will arise opportunities for the fight against diversity and the promotion of the social inclusion and integration of SEN population. It will also acknowledge and appreciate Arts in education and its important role in the non – formal pupils’ education through exhibitions, partnerships, art contests, local press publications.
Our ambition for the project is to enhance our pupils’ progress in all aspects of their development, by making them the receivers of contemporary educational approaches. They will be the pioneers of various innovative educational paths. They will acquire a European identity and be accepted and embraced as equal citizens of the community, the nation and Europe.
It is a project with valuable outcomes both in products and in methods for all the participants and receivers which can absolutely improve the existing educational conditions affecting not only pupils and staff but also the wider community and can make a brilliant example for imitation.
Text editors: Ms Mourelatou Stamoula, Occupational Therapist
Ms Micha Asimina, Speech and Language Therapist, MA