Breaking barriers and Growing Healthy futures, A New Europe

Partnership between schools

OfficialWebsite Of project Breaking barriers and Growing Healthy futures, A New Europe. This project is based on improving the quality of education in schools and in developing the skills of students and of the educating community. Indeed, we want to offer students the opportunity to be part of a European project while strengthening their interest in current issues: to speak in a foreign language, meet and observe other cultures, fight prejudices of any kind, work collaboratively and inclusively, communicate through digital and new technologies, thus filling the digital gap many students still have, to improve social skills. This wide cultural background is embedded in our project specific theme: understand what farming is in the Europe of the 21st century from a general and multidisciplinary point of view (art, history, geography , poetry, photography etc.) to a more specific one, that of food sustainability, healthy food education, organic food, the importance of sports as a universal value and in the fight against obesity.

Project aims

In the course of this project pupils from 6 European schools (France, UK, Slovakia, Italy, Poland and Lithuania) will research different aspects of healthy eating practices. We intend to collect data, documents and other material relevant to the subject, in order to enhance the students' understanding of the importance of good practices in both biological and cultural outcomes. To reach this aim, the material has to be classified according to a set of categories to be established by the teams. The teams will be composed by an equal number of pupils from each country so as to ensure cross-cultural learning, the use of the foreign languages and to enhance European contacts among the pupils and the staff. This work will be pursued and documented both during the planned plenary meetings via personal contacts as well as in the intermediate periods via ICT, specifically via the use of eTwinning. This ensures that the material the pupils are working on is constantly accessible by all participants. The following end products are envisaged:

  • Production of a website (responsible school: Slovakia)
  • Production of a multilingual synoptical dictionary which provides an insight into how varied and rich the languages of the participating countries are when it comes to describing phenomena connected with health, sustainable development and farming (responsible school: Poland)
  • Pupils interested in photography will be able to pursue their inspirations to produce a photobook and a calendar depicting the various forms in which farming is perceived (responsible school: UK)
  • Production of a cookery book (responsible school: Lithuania)
  • Production of an e-magazine with two issues (responsible school: Italy)

Collaborative work in the course of the whole project, as well as during the pupils' meetings, will enable students to learn from each other and share their experiences of learning through different learning styles and approaches and enable creative and innovative approaches to be developed and shared. This will also support teachers in the delivery of project work that will lead to improved pedagogy and practice to facilitate more creative approaches that will support learning for all students. Through focussed project activities with identified staff and students we will be able to monitor and evaluate project progress and impact and ensure that outcomes are met and sustainability for beyond the initial timescales.

First transnational meeting in Birmingham

From 7th to 12th November 2016 the first transnational project meeting took place in Birmingham (UK). The partner countries had the occasion to meet and share ideas on the project start and implementation. The visiting teachers were welcomed by the British partners of "Waverley School". The school visit lasted three days. Teachers had the possibility to follow different lessons, so that they got an insight into the methodologies, teaching styles and facilities offered by the prestigious British school. They attended lessons both at primary and secondary school and, on some occasions, were guided by the oldest  Waverley students. Discussion on the differences between the British and the other school systems followed both in Birmingham and at the different teachers' national schools.Sharing and discussion on the project implementation and products started at Waverley and continued, until the end of the stay, at Birmingham City Library.Once home, teachers shared the knowledge they gained and the results of the project discussion with their fellow colleagues and students, thus motivating them to pursue the project goals effectively

Meeting in France

During this first transnational exchange (2nd - 8th April 2017), students were hosted by the Collège du Servois and by French hosting families, thus experiencing the daily life of their French partners. They had the possibility to assist French classes in different subjects and they presented some work which they had started at home in their curricular classes (presentations of their schools, countries, farming). The students cooperatively started project-related research on the topic of farming in international groups, using English as the lingua franca and developing the topic in a multidisciplinary way. The research was web-based and ended on Friday, when each group presented the work done so far using Google presentations. Different logos were presented and reviewed: students voted on them and an Italian logo was chosen to represent the whole project. As indicated in the approved project, students took part in sports games in the school gym whereby some international matches were also organised. They started work on a cookery book at the town city hall, cooking together some international recipes they had prepared at home. The savoury dishes were then consumed together with the assisting teachers in the form of an international buffet. They were further involved in a cultural trip to the city of Paris organised by the hosting school and to a social event at the town hall where the Mayor of La Chapelle en Serval welcomed the foreign delegations. Teachers assisted their pupils during the entire stay, both in project-related work and in their personal care. They were involved in job shadowing activities - which were agreed with the hosting school prior to the mobility - thus experiencing the methodologies and peculiarities of the French classes. A confrontation of strengths and weaknesses among the different school systems was shared among all the participating teachers. The exchange received a very positive feedback from the students' side. They felt they had enjoyed a highly educational experience: they communicated mostly in English, even if some of them could also speak some French; they showed their ability to work with foreign kids of their age using ICT tools, they improved their social skills and showed a remarkable spirit of independence and autonomy.

Meeting in Italy

The second mobility was organized 19th - 25th November 2017 in Italy. The headmistress of Istituto Comprensivo ''Alberto Buri'' welcomed the partner delegations that visited the secondary and primary school. It was followed by job shadowing with a subsequent discussion on Italian classroom activities and teaching methods; an Italian basics full-immersion language course (both for guest students and teachers); and a masterly lecture on the history of farming and pasta in Italy held in English by Dr. Karima Moyer, English teacher at the University of Siena, author of books and food historian. In Città di Castello all those present visited the Renaissance Arts Gallery, met the vice-Mayor Mr Michele Bettarelli and the School Assessor Mrs Rossella Cestini in the presence of journalists working for the local press and TV and visited the "Boteguita" shop presenting the peculiarities of sustainable products and fair trade.

The specific characteristics of organic farming in relation to traditional farming were introduced by Mr Luca Stalteri, the president of the Umbrian association PRO-BIO and the owner of the "Il Lombrico Felice" organic farm in Grumale which was another worthwhile visit. He guided the students through the fields and the stables of the farm, explained the history and properties of vegetables which are successfully grown in the Umbria region, showed the farm animals and the way they live, the streams and the woodland surrounding the farm itself.

The history and the roots of the European Union were illustrated at a workshop with Mrs Alessandra Antognelli of "Europe Direct". She also explained the uses European countries make of its funds. The second part of the workshop was dedicated to a precise illustration of European funds used in farming in the Umbria region, their economic impact in terms of quality and quantity and the value of the regional products.

During the stay in Italy, the students had a workshop on the multilingual synoptical dictionary project about the main topics considered in the project in international groups; visited the high school IIS "Ugo Patrizi", where they visited the greenhouses and were involved in scientific workshops; cooked international main dish recipes, which are to appear in the project cookbook, and were involved in a mini-olympic games at the Trestina sports hall.

An exciting stay in Italy was concluded by the visit of "Museo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari", in Rome, which offered an amazing journey through Italian traditions from north to south, with special attention paid to the section dealing with traditional Italian farming seen through history.

Meeting in Poland

The third project meeting took place from the 11th to the 17th March 2018 in Wieniawa, Poland. The teachers and pupils from the countries included in  project were welcomed by the headmaster of the school Publiczna Szkola Podstawowa z Klasami Sportowymi im. Jana Kochanowskiego w Wieniawie, as well as other teachers of the school. The  visiting teachers participated in some of the lessons and observed the methods and teaching styles of their Polish colleagues. Meanwhile, the visiting children attended the lessons, compared them with theirs in their home countries, made new friends and also engaged in some sports activities. During the week stay they all took part in some interesting presentations: a presentation on the Polish language and a presentation on food and farming in Poland; they participated in a workshop on the history of making bread, they went to an open-air museum of Radom village where they saw how Polish people lived in the 18th and 19th century and they went on an excursion to a fruit farm. During the stay in Poland, they had the opportunity to view some performances given by the children of the school, as well as by local people and a popular folk music band. All the visitors thus had a great insight into Polish culture and history. The group work on the calendar, the realization of the recipes for desserts and the discussion about other tasks of the project and their implementation, all helped to improve social skills and break the barriers which is one of the main goals of the project.

Meeting in Lithuania

Alytus, in Lithuania, became the 4th meeting point of the teachers and students participating in the project. The mobility took place 7th - 13th October 2018 and this time, the Alytus Panemunes Progymnasium school became the main centre of activities, cooperation and discussion as well as a great opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the school system of another country. The Lithuanian culture was presented by performances of the school choir, folk and line dance groups. All the participants learned about the Lithuanian language, how different it is or what it has in common with other languages. A presentation of the most necessary words and phrases was useful for the rest of the time in the country.

As this has been the fourth meeting, it was really interesting to find out how much we knew about the other participating countries. In the quiz for the teachers and students they had to answer questions about the partner schools including geography, music, art, sports, etc. As a part of a workshop, groups of children from different countries had to find out given facts about Alytus and they subsequently prepared a presentation of their discoveries. Jobshadowing and observation of their lessons enabled us to make a comparison with those lessons at our respective home schools especially taking into account positive examples and approaches. The international 'language' of sport brought a lot of fun to the visit and sports activities and group competitions were rewarded by sweet prizes.

Thanks to the presentation on food and farming in Lithuania, all those present learned about the traditional foods and desserts in the country. The theory was followed by practice - an educational lesson on Lithuanian culinary heritage: watching, listening, cooking and tasting traditional pastry and popular desserts. The positive benefits of sea buckthorn as well as how you cultivate it, harvest it and process it into healthy jam or juice, was shown at the ecological farm 'Amber berry'. The visit was also combined with a tasting session of sea buckthorn products and the possibility to buy some. The history of the country was brought closer by several trips: an excursion to Alytus Mound, a guided tour of Trakai castle, a guided tour of the Old Town of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, or the guided tour of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.

Last but not least, during the stay the teachers also discussed the goals and tasks of the project, agreed on their final implementation and on the final meeting in Slovakia in May.