Find out more about the finalist projects in the category
(In alphabetical order)
Academy of Culture
Teresa Kot, Commune Head of Jastków
Child development: pre-school activities to compensate for lack of kindergartens
The Jastków Commune has over 14,000 inhabitants and covers a vast territory; communication is difficult between the dispersed villages. There are considerable income differences among the population. Poor family backgrounds lead to social exclusion and limit children’s development potential. Considering the importance of pre-school education, the Commune sought solutions within its economic capabilities. Cooperation with The Comenius Foundation for Child Development in Warsaw resulted in participation in the pilot programme “Where there are no kindergartens”, an innovative pre-school education model. The activities of municipal cultural institutions were adapted to the project’s needs. Preschooler clubs were established in community centres and libraries. The idea was met with broad interest from parents and children. In the Academy of Culture, qualified instructors aim to eliminate barriers in children’s access to quality education, equalise their development opportunities and prepare them for their first day at school.
Tackling child poverty: building self-confidence and self-esteem through cultural activities
Child poverty can undermine health, wellbeing and educational attainment. ASPIRE Dundee is an ambitious project working with around 3,500 children in thirteen primary school communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Dundee. ASPIRE Dundee is using a range of cultural activities including dance, drama and music, as an innovative way of tackling deprivation. The programme aims to improve health and wellbeing, increase learning and skills, challenge social inequalities and build self-confidence and self-esteem. It engages the whole family and the wider community. Young people involved experience first-hand opportunities to work and perform alongside professional artists and musicians and to attend professional performances. They are taught using a flexible and individual approach both in school and in the wider community. The programme uses the transformative power of performing arts to increase and develop
Breaking Segregation – The Nyköping Model
Veronica Andersson, former president of the Children and Youth Committee of Nyköping
Integrated education: better results by merging schools from diverse parts of town
Several years ago, the Municipality of Nyköping decided to merge its four high schools into one. The reasoning was that if children from different parts of town are allocated to different schools, this reinforces ethnic and social segregation. The Nyköping model strengthens students’ social skills, promotes integration and social development, and creates encounters between kids from different backgrounds. Allocation of resources and competence are optimised, and education takes place in suitable buildings. Reversing the trend of poor school results united the politicians of Nyköping across political divides. In 2014 the new school was ready. Gathering all pupils in one school made it easier to focus on improving results. There are currently 1,400 pupils enrolled, and soon the first age group will graduate. Results appear to have improved significantly. In the past pupils needed to pass three subjects in order to be eligible for upper secondary school, and only 70% did. Now a passing grade in eight to twelve subjects is required, and it is expected that 90% will make it.
Connected parents – Genitori Connessi
Council of Mayor Luca Vecchi, Municipality of Reggio Emilia / Valeria Montanari, Councillor
Digital literacy: understanding technology will help parents understand their children
Genitori Connessi (Connected Parents) aims to strengthen the relationship between parents and their children with digitally-enhanced technology. Initially, the project involved 80 parents of students of the G. Galileo Comprehensive School (a combined primary and secondary school), which under the guidance of Professors Paolo Ferri and Stefano Moriggi explored technologies, languages, central characters and web games, focusing on new skills and new tools for a better relationship with their kids. From March to May 2017, five schools and a total of 400 parents were involved. Subsequently the project was extended to all twelve schools in the city, with the goal of increasing, from 2017 to 2018, participation to up to 1,000 parents. To achieve this, 30 digital facilitators (teachers, educators, volunteer citizens with digital skills) were trained at Unimore, the University of Modena and Reggio.
Digitization of the educational processes in the municipal schools in Plovdiv
Stefan Stoyanov, Deputy Mayor, Plovdiv Muni
Cloud technologies in schools: enabling higher-quality education and boosting pupils’ interest
Plovdiv Municipality assists municipal schools in implementing advanced cloud technologies to increase the quality of educational processes. The platforms allow for an unlimited number of users – principals, teachers, students, parents and administrative staff. Documents are accessible anytime from anywhere. The Municipality organises and finances the training for schools’ teams to use the platforms. So far, the trainings reached 80 teachers and principals from seven schools, corresponding to 13% of the total. All schools should start using cloud technologies by 2019. The main objective is to convince children that learning can actually be interesting. In addition, benefits include easy communication, fun virtual lessons, and tracking the results and the progress of the students in real time by teachers and parents. The administration itself experienced a substantial reduction in paper usage. Long-term, the activities should result in motivated and cheerful, knowledgeable and capable adolescents, open-minded teachers and parents, and a positive effect on the local community.
Lighthouse Project School Farm
School farm: acquainting schoolchildren with traditional farming methods and farm animals
Täferrot is the only community in Baden-Württemberg province to have a small, family-run, all-day primary school with a farmyard. The school farm, a living project that is constantly evolving, extends the teaching staff’s range of educational materials and resources, and enhances overall school life. Animals can meaningfully supplement the standard educational plan and promote children’s development. Encounters with farm animals are becoming increasingly rare for children even in rural areas, due to industrialised agriculture and mass livestock farming. The school farm is intended to counteract this alienation. In addition, students take responsibility for farm work. This creates new learning spaces for various competences, and builds a network through the cooperation with numerous associations and businesses in the region. The school farm has changed the community, encouraging citizen engagement, and has become the centre of the village. It contributes to increasing the appeal of village life and to strengthening the sense of community.
Music School in the Country
Elżbieta Wróbel / Wójt Gminy Niwiska
Culture in the country: a music school for a rural community
The intention of the Niwiska Municipality was to create conditions for the artistic development of children and youth by opening a public, tuition-free music school. The school is meant to enable children and young people in this rural community to develop their musical abilities and interests and popularise musical culture. Setting up a music school in the countryside is an unusual project, as such schools are mainly located in cities. The school has managed to acquire highly qualified staff, excellent equipment, and professionally sound-proofed classrooms. It offers free tuition, including lending instruments purchased by the school, and a free shuttle service. A complex of historical buildings was revitalised for the needs of the school with the municipality’s own financial resources. 33 teachers work at the school, and 219 students attend it. So far they have won 55 awards in music competitions and took part in the Got Talent TV show. Concerts are held in churches, schools, kindergartens and retirement homes.
RES Exposures Prepared by the Children of Sevlievo
Ilhan Kyuchyuk, MEP, Vice President of ALDE party
School competition: making up for the disadvantages of children in rural areas
The education opportunities of students from small towns and villages in Bulgaria differ significantly from those in bigger, more developed cities. This induced Ilhan Kyuchyuk, MEP and Chairman of the MRF Youth, to start an initiative to compensate at least in part for this injustice. For the third year he has organised competitions among the students from the Vocational High School of Mechanical Electrotechnics in Sevlievo in Northern Bulgaria – a region where children have very limited opportunities. The competitions for project development in science, engineering and technology for students from VIII to ХІІ grade aim to encourage young people to develop new programmes, products and projects in economics, chemistry, electronic devices, appliances and communication tools, physics and astronomy, biotechnology, biology, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and understanding environment-related problems. Besides participation in an exhibition and various awards, some of the winners will visit the European Parliament in Brussels to get acquainted with the institution.
South London Special Educational Needs Commissioning
Alisa Flemming, Councillor
Beyond boundaries: collaboration of London boroughs makes for better, lower-cost services
With more than 380,000 inhabitants, the South London Borough of Croydon is London’s most populous. In September 2013 Croydon launched the South London Commissioning Programme, to drive fundamental change in the way boroughs in South London commission and deliver Special Educational Needs (SEN) services. The aim is to work beyond borough and political boundaries towards a common goal – achieving the best outcomes for children with SEN, delivered in the most efficient way. Initially launched with four boroughs, the partnership now extends to ten boroughs, has worked with four County Councils and one City Council and is sharing good practice across the country. Its collaborative work has saved the participating London boroughs over £4m and provided an average return on investment of 1,700%. Through proactive thinking, collaboration and engagement of users and agencies the boroughs now have a system in place that manages quality and cost, is sustainable and transparent, and uses technology to help find and manage the delivery of services for children with SEN.
The intergenerational canteen of Bioule – La cantine intergénérationnelle de Bioule
Gabriel Serra / Maire de Bioule
Young and old: sharing meals and experiences around a lunch table
A newly built school canteen, outside of the school but in the heart of the village, was also made available to the older people in the village. For five years now, every school day a few men and women over 75 have shared their meals with the schoolchildren. Real bonds of affection have been formed between the generations, and the shared meals are as much a pleasure for the children as they are for the elderly. The former confide in their adopted grandparents, the latter tell the stories of their lives. These interactions are extended by communal activities (board games, small manual tasks or singing organised by leisure centres). The elderly enjoy the happy chatting of the children, which ensures that their days do not seem so long. The children discover a world that the distance from their own grandparents did not necessarily allow them to know.