THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
We aimed to examine the positive influence of healthy food and physical fitness for learning success and overall wellbeing in our partner schools in France, Italy, North Ireland (UK), Greece, Romania, Poland, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Germany. We learned the traditional customs and food habits each school involved has, drawing the conclusion that each country has a different interpretation of the meaning of food, drinking and physical activity and its impact on learning. Also, due to climate conditions we could learn that in Holland, Denmark, Northern Ireland and Germany since the climate is cold the food is heavy mainly potatoes, pasta, salads, raw vegetables. Whereas in the south east where the climate is warmer with longer days food consisted of meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables. Further, sport activities are performed mainly outdoor in the eastern countries while in the northern ones are mainly inside. Another aspect, that we observed was that some schools have daily or weekly sporting activities and common food groups on daily school menus, others have neither options open to them. Each country took a different approach, depending on the type of school and age of students.
Our intention with the project was to examine and share our different knowledge and experiences and this enabled individual school partners to identify improvements, schools which had not had health policies started to implement some, having as reference point the partners schools where these measures exist. Also, we wanted to followed the European dictum" We are better and more effective when we work together", learning how to share ideas, knowledge and experiences. Each individual school partner developed best practice concerning health and wellbeing of the children and successful learning policies, not to mention the linguistic improvements as well. Comparing our knowledge and experiences in these areas, enabled individual school partners to develop best practice in their approaches to the health of their children.
As our communication language was in English, we sought to improve the language skills for both staff and students in all schools as well as introduce all children to the variety of languages that all partner schools communicated in. The European cooperation was improved fantastically, teachers, especially the Romanian ones, along with the pupils broaden their knowledge regarding the European countries, visited European school which rise their awareness of diversity. The topic of our project appealed to everybody in the school area and we could exchange experiences and drew comparisons. Besides the linguistic proficiency was improved, modern technologies were tested and different presentation forms were developed. he working language was English which helped each partner school not only to improve their linguistic level concerning this language but also to make students and staff from their own institution aware of the importance of learning this language. In each transnational mobility student had to learn basic vocabulary as: greetings, the meals of the day, to introduce themselves, rooms in the house, school subjects in the language of the hosting partner. Meetings were a reference point for students of the meaning of multiculturalism; they tried to communicate in order to learn about the others students' daily lives, hobbies, past time activities. They became more aware of the cultural similarities and differences not only of their cultural heritage but also language and behavior. Digital competencies were improved as well through communicating via e-mail and conferences, also by making different presentation using the digital board or the video projector, we learned to make a blog for our project and how to keep documents in Google docs uploading and downloading them.
Through our partnership we sought to achieve the following objectives:
. To explore the diet and attitude to food choices in our children and help them become more aware of the effect food has on our learning.
. To examine and compare the range of sporting activities the children are involved in and promote the importance of physical activities in our daily lives.
.To improve, compare and extend the range of activities we, as institutions provide for our children as a means to helping them achieve a healthier lifestyle.
.To try and improve where applicable and accessible, the range of food and food choices our institutions provide.
.To improve the language skills of our pupils through contact with children from a range of European countries
Throughout the project we exchanged ideas, recipes and experiences. We planned and carried out common activities with each other outside of the main mobilities. We compared results and inspired each other with new ideas and methods. Each partner school has reinforced the value of a healthy diet and regular exercise to maximizing general wellbeing. We have learned about the similarities and differences concerning the meaning of food and physical movement in all partner countries. There were posters made for students to be informed how many calories did they need daily, they were involved in different activities aiming to make them aware of the different nutrients our body needs. What is more, students found what food to avoid and why. Students could compare their eating habits with their European peers through poster presentation made by each country, also they learned about the traditional food in each partner school highlighting the healthy standards. In all partner schools were organized healthy breakfast activities, for instance in Romania, since the students are given by the government a croissant and a glass of milk, for the healthy breakfast activity students had to make a healthy sandwich using the croissant and bring cereal for milk to have them at school. Pupils learn what each meal should contain in order to be healthy and active and also the healthy snacks between meals.
Sport activities were organized in all partner schools, Romanian school does not have a gym, so there were movement activities in the classroom, in the park or in the woods. Teachers have introduced some movement in the class especially if there is too much writing or reading there are short pauses: clapping hands, jumping up, stretching and breathing exercises depending on the students' age and type of activity. There was made the pyramid of activities for students to have a clear picture of how much movement is needed every day and what activities they can do.
Students involved in the activities could realize the importance of movement and healthy diet for their learning. They felt more active and able to think clearly, however we could not measure whether those who eat healthy are smarter or not but was clear that movement and a diet with vegetables, fruit and cereal boost motivation and a positive attitude.
All products we have done together can be used as a reference point for any educational institutions that would like to have a partnership on healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, culture heritage around Europe, sport activities, traditional games around Europe. THE POSTERS we have done at our school level will be used as teaching material as well as informative posters to make students aware of their lifestyle, daily activities and daily diets. In our school we enriched our institution offer with AN ENGLISH OPTIONAL COURSE: 'A healthy cup of English tea' aiming to get students more familiarized with the food culture around the world, healthy food, sport activities around Europe and many games and activities on the project topic in English.
THE MINI-HEALTHY DICTIONARY will be used as an auxiliary material for foreign languages classes and can be used by any language teacher since there are words in nine languages. The advert will be also used within English classes not only as an awareness activity of healthy lifestyle but also as an inspiration of how to make campaigns for other issues.
First of all we saw it like a challenge to prove to ourselves that our work is worth promoting it, since we were 11 partners in the project. It was a great pleasure and self satisfaction when I learned that we were awarded the title. The application for it was not difficult or complicated it followed a logical sequencing concerning the project and the data about our institution. I did not expect to be the second in the list, but I did expect to be among the winners. It was such a great partnership, the activities so interesting that it was impossible not to win. All the partners are friends, it is such a great feeling of achievement to have friends around Europe! That is fantastic!
ELL gives authenticity to our school offer, especially for foreign languages department. We organized Cambridge exams for students, as a result there are 44 students with Cambridge certificate: YLE, KET, PET, FCE and CAE. We also have e twinning projects and all students want to get involved, they actually show great enthusiasm, not to mention that the parents trust us when we tell them about a project or a new initiative.
it is really important to have diverse materials and activities in order to show flexibility. Also it should fulfill the needs of their students concerning life skills and competences in accordance with XXI century demands. They should display on the school wall the distinction, also they should communicate to media their results. Further to show parents, students and teachers what it means to get involved truly and efficiently in projects.
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