The project’s main goal was to help children with different educational needs integrate into the kindergarten environment, with tools created towards improving theoretical considerations and increasing the competencies of teachers working in heterogeneous classrooms. The project’s key goal was to foster synergies among the areas of education, research, and innovation (including in the use of digital technologies), which culminated in an overall increase in the quality of childhood education. Specific project objectives consisted of the development and testing of a teachers’ manual for teachers working with students with various Special Educational Needs (SEN); the development of an application for smart devices that connects theory with practice (thus allowing teachers to innovatively plan educational activities that are tailored to each child); and, the design, development, and testing of interactive workshops that allow teachers to master working with heterogeneous groups of kindergarten children through the use of key project outputs. The project lasted for a total of 33 months, followed by several activities aimed at ensuring the sustainability of its results.
The project’s primary target groups consisted of kindergarten pupils between the age of 3-6, and kindergarten teachers. The WE Learn and COMmunicate Ensemble (WELCOME) project brought together 8 organisations from across the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Bulgaria, consisting of 1 from the area of school education, 1 university, 2 scientific institutions, 3 kindergartens, and 1 company that provided technical support.
The project’s methodologies were separated into three considerations, the first of which was the innovativeness of individual outputs. This encompassed the project’s methodology in working with children with SEN, with the project’s publication depicting the then current body of knowledge in the field of education and support for children with SEN that were based on prevailing legislations and concepts on joint education. The publication’s theoretical component provided comprehensive information on individual disadvantages as expounded by contemporary classifications, with a connection established between theoretical information and methodological procedures, as well as a direct link that offered children with SEN a number of specific support measures. Teachers now have the opportunity of utilising a set of theoretical and methodological tools (supported by the implementation of pedagogical diagnostics) that can pre-emptively recognise the symptoms of a particular disadvantage prior to the examination of the child by experts. The results of such pedagogical diagnostic exercises signal to teachers the areas of development for which a child may require support, as well as activities designed for the development of relevant areas. Furthermore, the project forwards an innovative approach to child development, whereby activities focus on holistic development with an emphasis on comprehensive development, as opposed to the specialisation of only one area. Given that the publication emphasised its operational application, teachers were able to quickly and efficiently identify a wide range of information upon its release, ranging from theory to practice. The publication itself is user-friendly, and meets the high standards of contemporary graphics. The project’s second methodology was based on the application of the WELCOME IDEA (Interactive Digital Educational Assistant) – an innovative approach given its broad potential for application, encompassing theory, methodological recommendations for individual areas, examples of good practices, pedagogical diagnostics, a wide range of activities, didactic recommendations in the form of workshops (resulting from the integration of PDF into the third project’s output), and scenario proposals for thematic blocks and videos. The WELCOME IDEA is innovative due to its well-thought-out structure and functionality, and acts as an imaginary assistant. Firstly, the teacher performs a pedagogical diagnosis of the child; the resulting information is then used by the application to recommend solutions that best meet the child’s development needs, with said application functioning as a supportive aid in the child's development. Moreover, teachers can add their respective diagnosis to a child’s records, and also download or archive said data towards making a continuous comparison of the child's progress, or for record-keeping purposes. In addition to being holistic and practical, the application is a source of theoretical, methodological, and didactic information. Lastly, the third methodology was grounded on the provision of support for SEN children in pre-school education (WELCOME WORKSHOPS). The project’s handbook is innovative due to the highly practical information it provides to teachers, where they are provided with specific instructions on how to work with an individual, group, or class, as well as general guidelines on how to best manage heterogeneous classes and their methodological difficulties.
A number of kindergarten teachers and education experts were invited to test the project’s methodology and application (including the WELCOME workshops and the project management manual). Furthermore, the two aforementioned groups were included in seminars, conferences, and in meetings with the founder, as well as with regional school principals and teachers. A large number of teachers were introduced to the application, and the ways in which it published activities aimed at readers and teachers. The project’s overall results were communicated to teachers via an extensive dissemination campaign consisting of newsletters, promotional emails, international conferences, the project’s Facebook page, and advertisements of the school’s products.
Teachers were able to obtain a broader perspective of preschool education due to the project’s comparison of ECEC across 3 different countries, and they also cooperated with several other kindergartens in the testing of the project’s outputs. In addition to such inter-kindergarten activities, teachers also established broad international cooperation among all of the project’s partner institutions.
The project impacted teachers’ professional and personal development by extending and disseminating their methods, tools, and methodological parameters; strengthening their theoretical background, competencies, and skills towards working with heterogeneous groups of children and those with SEN; developing their skills in the field of inclusive education (in line with contemporary developments in the field); diversifying educational offers so as to achieve individualisation in education; and, providing for their professional development through the use of new teaching technologies. Furthermore, the project’s outputs allowed teachers to benefit from improvements to their work in the implementation of pedagogical diagnostics, thus facilitating their work on a given child's portfolio. Children on the other hand benefitted from proper integration into regular preschool classes, with suitable approaches taken by teachers to address problem areas dealing with child development. Furthermore, children were provided with measures that heightened their incentive to learn, allowing them to experience success within a classroom environment. Lastly, efforts were also made to encourage parents to work with their children (outside of the school environment) so as to contribute to their child’s developmental improvements.
- Project locations
- Project category
- Early childhood education and care
- Project year
ODZ 72 Prikazka bez krai
Sdruzhenie "Institut za psihichno zdrave i razvitie"
Univerzita Karlova Praha
Výskumný ústav detskej psychológie a patopsychológie
Základní škola Mikoláše Alše a Mateřská škola Mirotice, okres Písek
Základná škola s materskou školou Zubrohlava