6th extra SHORT-TERM JOINT STAFF TRAINING AND LEARNING ACTIVITY
SCHOOL: 1st Special Education Primary School of Korydallos, Athens, Greece
The sixth (6th) extra short-term joint staff training and learning activity in Athens, Greece, was completed with great success. 17 teachers, coordinators and participants in the “Artemotion Xpress in Europe” project from each partner country met at the 1st Special Education Primary school of Korydallos from 16th to 20th October 2017 to exchange good practices and improve the quality of their teaching methods.
It was the last of our wonderful short term joint Staff training and learning events.
Sunday 15.10.2017 was the day of the arrival of the partners to Athens. Each of the participants from Germany, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Poland had a chance to take a rest after the long journey. In the evening all partners were welcomed by the main coordinator, Mrs Stamoula Mourelatou, the principal of the school Mr Iraklis Palias and Greek colleagues and we all enjoyed a delicious evening dinner with Greek cuisine.
On Monday 16.10.2017 early in the morning all partners arrived at school where we were welcomed by all the students and staff. Pupils presented a short music kinetic show and we all had a chance to taste a greek welcoming sweet in a traditional way.
Afterwards we were divided into two groups and had a tour around the premises. In spite of the tiny building, with the small classrooms and narrow spaces, we witnessed the huge soul of the school.
Later, we visited the Town Hall of Korydallos, where the Mayor of Korydallos Mr Stavros Kasimatis and members of the Municipality welcomed us. We were also officialy welcomed by the main coordinator of the project and the principal of the school. A short discussion followed, presenting the partnerships countries.
Mrs Kelly Kotoula, phcycologist and Mrs Miha Mina, speech therapist, presented the Greek Special Education System and the history of the 1st Special Education Primary School of Korydallos.
You can watch the presentation of the Municipality of Korydallos on the following link
You can watch the presentations of Mrs Kelly Kotoula and Mrs Miha Mina at the following links:
Afterwards, we returned to school and took part in a 2 hours’ workshop on Drama in Education with Mr Amiropoulos Kostas (external associate). Mr Amiropoulos presented how to conduct theatrical play with SEN students. He presented drama as a means of self-expression, communication and confidence – building. It was an interesting and helpful workshops that provided us with many ideas to apply in our schools on the return. Certificates of attendance where given to all of us.
After the workshop we had a small happy meeting where all the partners gave presents to the principal of the school and the main coordinator for the children and colleauges.
Later in the afternoon, we visited the National Archeological Museum. We saw the ancient Greek art in one of the most important museums of Greece. A walking tour through Athens followed and we all admired the National Library, the Academy, Syntagma Square and Monastiraki. We ended the day with dinner in a cosy Greek restaurant where we tasted delicious Greek cuisine.
On Tuesday 17.10.2017 we arrived at school early in the morning and were divided into three groups in order to participate in activities with pupils. These activities aimed at getting to know the pupils of the 1st special education primary school of Korydallos and having a chance to prove that there are no language barriers when art and emotion is involved. The workshops were:
“Painting in turns”. The workshop was presented by Mrs Kyra Gonia, Mrs Thalia Daskalaki and Mrs Kelli Kotoula. Pupils and partners created common paintings while drawing in turns and following the sound prompt (happy music, sad music, music in different volume). The activity brought them close and they communicated despite the 6 different languages. They created wonderful paintings and all felt satisfied and happy.
“Cut me, Glue me”. The workshop was held by Mrs Mina Miha, Mr Andreas Ferentinos and Mrs Maria Petrelli. Pupils with partners’ help created a big collage using a variety of materials, listening to different kinds of music. They created the “Happy Land” and really enjoyed it!
“Look how i drum”. The workshop was held by Mrs Theodora Oikonomou and Mr Tasos Anitopoulos. Pupils and partners sat around a circle while using different instruments. We practiced the attention, the active listening, the rhythm and the way of playing different percussion instruments. We also played the emotions’ train, a very funny game in which the pupils should make a train that stopped in different stations. Every station was related to an emotion, which was described with a picture on the computer. The pupils should match the emotion with a specific music while dancing or making body movements.
Later, we had a 2 hours’ workshop on psychodrama with Mrs Smaroula Pantelis, a psychologist who is an external associate.
Mrs Pantelis presented techniques aiming to prevent the “burnout” of teachers. We participated in various psychodrama activities (role playing, feelings management etc). It was an amazing workshop not only because it was fun and interactive but also because the participants could learn more of themselves and the way they manage their emotions. Certificates of attendance where distributed to all of us.
At noon, the coordinators’ meeting was held in order to discuss about the so far progress of the project and for further planning. The Slovenian coordinator Tanja NiKolovski passed the muse and mascot of our project, Thalia, to the Greek coordinator Stamoula Mourelatou. The muse returned to her homeland, with her diary full of memories from every partner country she has been to so far and is looking forward for more experiences.
After lunch, we visited the Emotions Museum in the center of Athens. It is a unique interactive museum about emotions! It uses interactive exhibitions, play and fairytales, in order to encourage children and teenagers to discover their emotional world, to learn more about themselves and others. Moreover, it sensitizes adults, parents and teachers on subjects which deal with the children’s emotional development and socialization.
We had a workshop dedicated to the emotion of anger. Like children we entered the Anger Palace where we were introduced to different techniques through play, in order to manage anger. The aim of this exhibition was to offer stimuli in our environment, to process, explore and know more about the emotion of anger.
Every day, the program combined school and cultural activities, giving more value to the goals of our “Artemotion Xpress in Europe” project synonymous with Art and Emotions. So, on Tuesday afternoon, we had a guided tour to Acropolis and Ancient Agora and admired the magnificence of the Parthenon, the Greek temples and the Ancient Agora witch was the center of the town during the Classical and Hellenistic times.
Wednesday 18.10.2017 was a day dedicated to our acquaintance with one part of marvellous Greece. Thus, we visited Osios Loukas monastery, Delphi and Galaxidi. It was a wonderful day trip that helped us understand the culture of Greece and gave us beautiful historical information about the past and the present. Deaparture was early in the morning from the hotel. Morning good mood was already visible on the bus.
First destination of Wednesday of «ARTEMOTION XPRESS EXCURSION » was Osios Loukas monastery, a historic walled monastery, one of the most important monuments of Middle Byzantine Architecture and art.
Second destination was Delphi. At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world.
According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world.
Our evening dinner was in a traditional Greek restaurant in Galaxidi. Again, as every day before, we ate delicious Greek food. There were traditional Greek salads, olives, feta, squid, fish, spread from eggplant and cod and a lot more .
We also surprised Martina from Poland with a delecious birthday cake and celebrated all together her birthday!
After dinner, a few brave partners enjoyed a swim in the sea, which as they said it was pleasantly warm, while the rest of us preferred to enjoy a cup of coffee at shore.
We have spent a wonderful educational and entertaining day. We were touched by the Greek history and returned to the hotel late in the evening pleasantly tired.
On Thursday 19.10.2017 we arrived at school and followed the morning prayer as every morning.
Then we were divided in two groups to participate in the classroom activities and share moments with the pupils.
The first group did the “Jungle game” where we matched with one pupil each, threw the dice and played on a huge, colourful gameboard in the schoolyard. According to the colour of the field we ended up on, we had to answer questions together about feelings or knowledge. The game was highly interactive and we had a lot of fun together with the pupils beyond the language barrier. The game was led by Mrs. Mina Miha, Mrs Oikonomou Theodora and Mr Ferentinos Andreas.
After this we changed to the activity “Be my mirror, be like me” which was held by Mrs Gianna Giota, Mrs Oikonomou Theodora and Mr Ferentinos Andreas. The pairs stayed the same and we went to “bake a cake” with our bodies. Different ingredients were assigned to the pairs and we baked a cake altogether by imitating body postures and face expressions. The activity allowed a lot of movement arranged in a story and it was great to be able to interact and make bonds with the pupils. In the end we were surprised by a real cake baked by Mr Andreas Ferentinos. Adults and children happily enjoyed the treat together.
The activities of the second group were led by Mrs Kelly Kotoula, Mrs Kira Gonia and Mrs Thalia Daskalaki. We started with “My turn to draw” which meant that the whole group created different paintings, each participant starting on a white sheet of paper, passing them on at the same time and continuing drawing the neighbour´s painting. The results were many different, creative paintings originated by an interactive, creative effort of the whole group of teachers and students. This activity was followed by the task of finding as quick as possible hidden objects in paintings of well-known artists and then piecing together puzzles of the paintings. In the activity “Fun maths” we tried to find certain amounts of squares, triangles, circles, together in pairs with the pupils. To finalize the interactive and inspiring activities and the wonderful time together with the students we performed a dance led by pictograms.
Afterwards we left for the municipal gym where the whole group shared moments with the pupils in psycho-kinetics education by the school´s physical education teacher Gianna Giota. In a big circle and in changing pairs we learned a lot about psycho- kinetics using many different materials and “wrapping up” exercises in funny, challenging, inspiring ways accompanied by music, bringing together the group as a whole.
If you wish to watch extracts from the pcychokinetic programme please follow the link:
After the school day had ended for the pupils, all the partners had the special pleasure of learning Greek dances with the dancing teacher Elektra who taught us with a lot of enthusiasm and patience. We had a lot of fun and learned many new things we can practise with our students at home.
In the afternoon we made a short stop to our new cunstructed school in Korydallos, so that all partners can admire the new building which will be soon complited.
Later, we visited “Stavros Niarchos Foundational Cultural Centre”, a complex in the bay of Phaliron in Athens which was opened in 2016. It includes the National Library of Greece and the National Opera and was donated by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to the Greek State. We enjoyed the amazing modern architecture, the view from the terrace and had a stroll in the park.
Back in school we had the pleasure of participating in a performance of the “Playback Nuevo” Theatre group. Playback Nuevo was founded by the psychologist Dr. Smaroula Pandelis in 2009. They perform Playback theatre aiming to energize the audiences to move from the passive state of being just a spectator to the active position of the co- creator. We had the possibility of telling little stories about our lives, feelings or states of mind and they performed these stories. It was absolutely amazing how the group managed to portray ourselves and our stories. We shared many funny, sad, nervous and anxious moments together with the Theatre Group based on our different stories about our Erasmus+ Project. It was a unique experience and at the same time a review of our soon ending project.
To end this wonderful day we had a delicious dinner together at “Vassilis” tavern in Korydallos kindly offered from the Municipality of Korydallos and the Mayor Mr Stavros Kasimatis. Our special and deepest thanks for everything the Municipality did for us during our stay.
All activities and workshops during the five days of training were completed with a show.
On Friday 20.10.2017, in the morning, we participated in a public celebration for the farewell of the partners. The pupil’s parents, guests, family members and City Hall officials were invited. The event was held in “Melina Merkouri”, cultural center of the Municipality of Koyrdallos.
It was a 2 hour program where pupils together with their teachers performed, showing us different forms of art, like sculpture, traditional dances from the six partner countries, cinema, music, photography, painting. The show was absolutely spectacular and all school pupils and teachers were involved.
You can watch extracts from the celebration as they were captured with the camera of the National Greek Television ERT on the following link:
You can also watch the extract of the News as it was presented on Saturday 21 October 2017 on ERT national TV and RADIO
After the pupils’ performance, we watched a video about all the mobilities, the countries we visited, the school moments we shared and the cultural activities that bonded us all so much. The video was created by the main coordinator, Mourelatou Stamoula. It was a touching moment for all of us, remembering all the beautiful moments, the times we shared, the experiences, the friendships, the bond.
You can watch the video on the following link:
At the end of the event, the mayor, Mr. Stavros Kasimatis, gifted to each partner team a farewell present from the Municipality and the main coordinator proudly distributed the certificates of attendance to each partner.
This wonderful show ended with a European song, composed from the Greek psychologist Mrs Kelli Kotoula, to remind us all the good things that happened in our project. All together sang the song and enjoyed a big cycle of hugs capable of fitting all the mixed feelings of joy and sorrow we experienced.
The use of different forms of art proves that there are no limits in communication between people, regardless of the particularities of each of us.
After the celebration all the partners came back to school for the conclusion of the 6th extra short term joint staff training and learning activity. We all filled in the questionnaires, and participated in one last activity where we had to write our impressions on wooden hearts about the mobility and about Greece. Each participant hung the heart to the ”Tree of Emotions” and spoke of farewell words and impresions.
This wonderful last day ended with the farewell dinner which was special. The party that followed was full of fun, dance, joy, excitement and thrill as one more successful mobility had come to an end. A big birthday cake marked the successful two years of implementation and hard work. We shared together a wonderful week highly educational and fun.
Our partners from Greece, 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 about wonderful Greece.
All the teams from the partners schools, from Romania, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, were pleasantly impressed by the organization, the quality of the activities and the involvement of all the teachers and pupils in the host country.
We have taken over the methods and techniques presented at the host school and will try to adapt to the possibilities of our pupils with special needs. Participation in this type of Erasmus+, European-funded partnerships between schools allows the exchange of good practices and experiences between the participants involved in the educational process and moreover, promotes the European cultural knowledge.
We wholeheartedly thank our hosts for this unique, unforgetable experience and looking forward on keeping on the good work for the remaining 5 months and beyond.
Mariana Hertoiu, Heike Eichbauer, Patrycja Pytlik, Rodrigo Fafian, Tanja Nikolovski, Mourelatou Stamoula
Coordinators of the Erasmus+ project ”Artemotion Xpress in Europe” 2015 – 2018