1.When you participate in public debates, especially concerning the inadequate funds acknowledged to schools, the first question you can hear is: what can the community do for the school? But there is another question which is never asked: what can school do for the community? We think that school can play a more active role in the local community and that this role is not transferable to someone else. This project starts just from here: school as a pulsating heart in the local community.
This is the place where equality and democracy can become not just abstract values but a real dimension of daily life. Schools have the potential to be more than just places where people learn during the day, functioning more like community hubs as well. Many activities can be promoted: recreational learning activities, language classes, spaces for debates. In ethnically diverse areas, schools can also help build strong links within the community and bring people together. Using schools to encourage language learning is one way this can be done. Engaging parents in areas with high migrant populations is often hindered by language barriers and this can impact negatively on a child's education. Organising lessons for children to learn a language after school or using schools to help other members of the community struggling with language learning is a good way of integrating people into their communities. And so on. So in this project the first goal is fostering the relationships with the NGOs and associations in the local community, increasing the common projects and giving a new dimension of volunteering.
The school can become a centre of community. It achieves this either by serving a more integral role within the context of the whole community, or by extending the learning environment to take advantage of the full range of the community’s resources. Indeed, the most successful schools of the future will be integrated learning communities, which accommodate the needs of all of the community’s stakeholders. They will be schools that will be open until late, longer and for more people in the community from senior citizens using the gym and health facilities during off-hours to immigrants taking evening English classes after work. A successful school can strengthen a community’s sense of identity, coherence and consensus. Like a new version of the old town square, it can serve as a community hub and a place where students and others can learn about collaboration and the common good.
2.Volunteering is a fundamental dimension for young people and can be an extraordinary chance to increase their confidence, skill base & experience, reference base, social skills and other ‘soft skills.’ They may need a volunteering experience as a route to personal development or as an employability route to gain vital experience for increasing their job prospects or access to further education. We wish to promote volunteering in this project.
3.Action for change A society in which the dignity of every person is safeguarded and promoted, in which each individual person may enjoy fundamental liberties, have access to resources and services, have the possibility to live in a healthy environment and improve the quality of life in all aspects; a global society in which every single individual and all communities have the right of self-determination consistent with the cultural rights of other peoples and every man and woman on earth. The school can do much to contribute to this. For these reasons in all the activities in this project the central place is the social event.
4.Last but not least, if we wish a more engaged school in the community life we also need a different school with new ways of learning and teaching. And this is the reason we put at the top . At the top of our project there are four pillars of the new 21st century education: Ict, Nfl, creativity and law. The quality of the learning environment affects student achievement and we need new models characterized by increased student involvement, engaging learners into an active, creative, participatory process of doing rather than just receiving and creating rather than recreating. It also involves such critical components as thinking, working and solving problems. They are supported by such strategies as cooperative, project-based and interdisciplinary learning, all requiring students to move about, work in various sized groups and be active. Furthermore, new models call for all students to learn to higher standards. This in turn has resulted in increased emphasis on learning styles, and the special needs of each student.
Finally, what makes this project particularly innovative: 1) the accent on Action for Change 2) the social event in each LTTA 3) the mix between different methodologies (ICT, Non formal, Creativity) 4) the role of School as heart of the community 5) the stress on volunteering.
This project is highly complementary with other single local or previous European projects.