18 “Schools For All” have completed their actions plans and here is a snapshot of what they achieved!
In schools with refugee pupils across Greece, school heads and teachers are trained to create safe and inclusive schools and classrooms where refugees are welcomed into a learning environment which aims to provide quality education to all. This is the EWC project Schools for All. The first 18 schools have completed their action plans. It is time for reflection, pride, joy, and acknowledgment.
This first pilot phase of the “Schools For All” project faced unpredictable impediments due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, it was an exceptional first “crop”: our regional trainers trained and mentored school communities, which created and implemented action plans with tangible results towards the promotion of the whole school approach for a democratic and inclusive culture. Looking back at the material and output produced by the schools, the “harvest” is rich! A showcase of some interesting activities is worth sharing.
All 9 classes at the 8th Gymnasium of Ioannina worked together to create a mural, using the imprints of their painted palms. The artwork entitled “The tree of inclusion” will remain and decorate the school as an inspiring symbol of the vitality of an inclusive and democratic school environment. Also, to overcome the language barriers, the teachers designed a key ring for each refugee student with illustrations and printed words for communicating essential phrases in the classroom.
Similarly, to enhance communication the teachers of the 1st Gymnasium of Kalamos created a Small Dictionary of Essential phrases.
The 42nd Gymnasium of Athens published the interesting reportage “Stories of children who left their country and under difficult circumstances came to Greece” in their school newspaper “en(A)poreia”. It includes 8 life stories of refugee students as narratives, interviews, or short poems illustrated with their drawings. The way the students worked collaboratively and the editorial result reflect the values of the School for All project. The aforementioned edition of the paper was awarded the “Award for the best choice of topics” in the 2019-2020 national competition for school newspapers.
The 2nd Gymnasium of Elefsina introduced the “Wall of Wishes” activity, where students created posters. Teachers noted: “The students enjoyed writing season greetings. Especially refugee pupils liked writing in their mother language.”
To promote friendship and intercultural communication, the 30th Gymnasium of Thessaloniki established the exchange of messages and drawings among the students, giving a chance to all pupils to interact and express themselves.
Naturally, art has been a key element in many other activities as well. The 2nd Gymnasium Alexandreias Imathias organized the painting exhibition “Who am I?” with students’ drawings, promoting self-expression and empathy.
Using music, the 6th Gymnasium of Serres organized the activity “A song from home” where pupils had the opportunity to compare and contrast Greek and Kurdish music and dance traditional songs from both cultures.
The whole school approach is a pillar for the Schools for All project. The 2nd Gymnasium of Fillipiada hosted a well-attended meeting where parents who live in camps had the chance to meet and discuss with parents of their children’s classmates and the teachers.
In the same spirit, the 8th Gymnasium of Ioannina hosted a meeting where parents described popular games from their cultures, intending to combine their elements into a brand new game by the end of the school year.
These activities are only a small example of the schools’ work that brings a big smile into our face and faith in sustainable changes that promote democratic and inclusive culture!