ERASMUS+ 2019-1-SK01-KA201-060698

ERASMUS+ 2019-1-SK01-KA201-060698 : SLOVAK FOR FOREIGN CHILDREN - a guide for teachers and parents on the inclusion of foreign children in the educational process in the Slovak Republic

The private language school iCan is the coordinating organization in the international project Erasmus+ SLOVAK FOR FOREIGN CHILDREN - a guide for teachers and parents on the inclusion of foreign children in the educational process in the Slovak Republic.

Partner organizations in the project are the State Pedagogical Institute and educational centers for Slovaks abroad - eMeLeS in Ireland, Slovak Club Birmingham in the UK and Petit Slavik in France, as well as several primary schools in Bratislava. The project implementation started on September 1, 2019 and will be completed on February 28, 2022.

The project aims to support the development of professional skills of managers and educators in the field of education using the tools of formal and non-formal education in order to strengthen their social, civic and intercultural competencies in the field of education for the benefit of disadvantaged communities, and thus helps to eliminate disparities in educational outcomes, associated with geographical and socio-economic differences. At the same time, the project contributes to the development or improvement of procedures for meeting the needs of disadvantaged groups, which are children of foreigners in Slovakia and children of native Slovaks abroad, in terms of social, ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity. Thus, it supports the dialogue between cultures, the observance of their fundamental rights to education and social integration, as well as the active citizenship of foreigners in Slovakia and Slovaks abroad. Last but not least, the project will promote cooperation between educational partners at the national and international level by actively participating in the development and testing of educational materials in the widest and most diverse environment, and the results of the project will serve a wide target group (students and teachers) in Slovakia and abroad.

The main goal of the project is to create didactic materials for teaching Slovak as a foreign language, especially for the target group of children of immigrants in Slovakia, at preschool and school age, as well as for children of foreigners, for example, working in the diplomatic services, children of professionals working in the manufacturing sector and etc., as well as for children of Slovaks living abroad. Another goal of the project is to develop a manual for the target group of managers and educators, as well as parents - a summary of the current regulations in the field of education in Slovakia as an aid to raise awareness of competent subjects in their work with children of foreigners, in order to support the development of intercultural competence of educators, parents and children.
11/28/2019 - First international meeting in Bratislava

09/08/2020 - The second working meeting of the project participants
On September 8, 2020, a working meeting of the participants of the Erasmus + project - Slovak for foreign children - a guide for teachers and parents on the inclusion of foreign children in the educational process in Slovakia was held at the iCan language school.

The meeting was attended by the authors of the publications: Ms. Ulichna, Ms. Girshnerova on behalf of the State Pedagogical Institute, Ms. Janka Pishova and Mr. Karol Csiba, lecturers and reviewers Ms. Döményová and Ms. Halászová, on behalf of the technical part of the team, Ms. Maleeva, Mr. Hirschner and Ms. Uralskaya, as well as project manager Ms. Tunegova and head of the iCan school, Ms. Kurotova.

The meeting was held in a constructive and working spirit, the program included an assessment of the progress of work on individual intellectual products of the project, mainly in relation to the textbook "First Contact" (tentative title) and the Slovak workbook for preschoolers. The authors discussed the comments and suggestions received as a result of a partial review of the prepared textbook "First Contact" regarding the first four chapters of the book.

The meeting also considered proposals for illustrations for the first chapter of the textbook and worksheets, as well as a proposal for book binding of this textbook. The color scheme was also agreed upon - a set of colors that will be used in the illustrations of individual publications.

In the next part of the meeting, the participants drew attention to the workbook for preschool age, the authors of this publication handed over the processed material, which the reviewers will review before the next meeting, and the first chapters will be processed by the graphic artist and illustrator.

Representatives of the State Pedagogical Institute assessed the state of translation of the Dictionary of Basic Terms for Primary Schools and the Manual for the Inclusion of Foreign Children in the Educational Process in the Slovak Republic, stating that the work schedule is observed.

The status of the tasks set at the meeting will be assessed at the next meeting of the working groups.
03.11.2020 - The third working meeting of the project participants
On November 3, 2020, an online meeting of the participants of the Erasmus + project - the Slovak language for foreign children - a guide for teachers and parents on the inclusion of foreign children in the educational process in Slovakia was held at the iCan language school. Since the current situation and the declaration of a state of emergency do not allow us to meet in person, our working meeting was held through the ZOOM application.

The participants of the meeting were our partners from the State Pedagogical Institute, Mrs. Janka Pishova and Mr. Karol Csiba, on behalf of foreign partners from the educational centers Petit Slavik Paris, Mrs. Director Betka de la Bouvrie and Mrs. Matiskova, on behalf of the Center Czech & Slovak Birmingham, Mrs. Director Ms. Klamparova and Ms. Smalley, on behalf of the Dublin Education Center Ms. Libichová, on behalf of the technical team, Mr. Hirschner and Ms. Maleeva, Ms. Tunegova, project coordinator, and Ms. Kurotova, head of the iCan school. For those whose job duties prevented them from attending the meeting, a recording of the meeting will be sent.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Maria Pacherova, Director of the Educational Center in Dublin, was unable to attend the meeting as she unexpectedly left us in October. May her memory be blessed!

At the meeting, drafts of the first chapters of the "First Contact" textbook and a workbook intended for preschoolers were presented after graphic and illustrative processing.

The participants of the meeting got acquainted with the state of the use of the budget. New dates were agreed for some of the planned international meetings and events to highlight and popularize the results of the project, which could not take place as scheduled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Project coordinator Ms. Tunegova presented the progress of work on individual publications managed by iCan and Ms. Pishova informed the meeting participants about the progress of work on publications being worked on by project partners from the State Pedagogical University.

The meeting participants agreed on the further progress of work on publications and wished each other a personal meeting in 2021.
Second International Project Meeting – Dublin
On May 3, 2020, the 2nd international project meeting of the project participants took place. Had it taken place as planned, it would have taken place at the premises of the eMeLeS Limited training center in Dublin. However, as in all areas of society, the coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on our project. Therefore, we were deprived of the experience of getting to know some of our project partners in person. We were not able to visit the spacious premises of the Slovak Education Center in Dublin and feel the atmosphere of testing ready-made textbooks and workbooks right in the classroom. And also to observe students who, despite the fact that they live far from Slovakia, want to communicate in Slovak and improve their level of language proficiency.

The entire meeting was online. However, its level was not reduced in any way, and the rich program was filled with content to a high degree. The whole meeting was organized by partners from Ireland, the main coordinator Ms. Shefchikova, Ms. Libikhova, as well as the entire team of teachers of the educational center. At the beginning, they welcomed all participants: Ms. Pishova, Ms. Duranova and Mr. Chiba (Karol Csiba), Ms. de la Bouvrie and Ms. Matiskova, Ms. Smalley, as well as representatives of the iCan School, Ms. Kurotova, Maleeva and Tunegov.

The program of the meeting was very rich. The organizing partners introduced us to their educational center in the form of a presentation, short videos from the school premises, as well as from the classrooms. Since we were not able to visit Dublin in person, we learned about interesting things from the history, geography or sights of Ireland in a small presentation.

The following was a sample from the process of testing the teaching materials of the First Contact Textbook and Workbook for Preschoolers. It was very interesting to watch the children work in the classroom and see already familiar textbooks and workbooks on their desks. Partners from Petit Slavik and Slovak Club Birmingham also provided their observations, comments and testing experience. We were pleased that the processed material is perceived positively, although, of course, the test results also alert us to what needs to be corrected. But that is precisely the purpose of testing.

In the next part of the meeting, Ms. Tunegova assessed the progress of work on individual project results in terms of compliance with the deadlines by the authors and technical teams, and also assessed the use of the budget by all partners. She also announced her intention to improve the quality of the project by supplementing the prepared textbooks with notes for publication. Partners from the GPU presented samples from the prepared Translation Dictionary and Manual for Teachers and Parents of Foreign Children.

Attention was also drawn to the upcoming international event, which will present these two project results. The first event to highlight and popularize the results of the project will take place on June 15, 2021. But even before that, we will meet in June - albeit again only virtually - at the 3rd international meeting in "Paris", which we are already looking forward to.

Dear supporters of the iCan Language School, of course, we will keep you updated on these events.
3rd transnational project meeting – Paris
Only a month ago we met virtually in Dublin and we already flew to Paris at the beginning of June. Unfortunately, again only virtually, as traveling between countries is not yet completely easy. Our partners and hosts from Petit Slavik tried to bring us the atmosphere of Paris and their educational center as close as possible.

At the beginning, we tuned into the right atmosphere with a real French chanson and the voice of Edith Piaf. We were welcomed by the director of the Petit Slavik educational center, Mr. Elizabeth de la Bouvrie. She introduced us - but mainly to the new participants of the meeting - the activities of the weekend educational center, which has premises right in the center of Paris and was established 12 years ago. Since 2014, the center has been included in the network of Slovak educational centers. It focuses mainly on education and maintaining the level of the Slovak language for children of preschool and school age. It organizes a number of extracurricular events and activities for its students even during the summer months.

The pupils of the Petit Slavik educational center have already introduced Paris and their weekend school to us in beautiful Slovak.

From Mr. Matisková, we were informed about the pandemic measures in French schools, which, however, unlike the situation in our country, were open during the second and third waves under strict anti-pandemic measures. We learned that the vaccination rate in France is more than 50% and that is why extracurricular activities carried out face-to-face are already possible. For us who live in Slovakia, it was not entirely natural to hear about the Vigipirate measures as a tool to fight terrorism, which were introduced in schools after a series of terrorist attacks in France. Unfortunately, this is also the reality of today. But back to our project.

It was very interesting and inspiring for us to watch demonstrations directly from the lessons of testing with young preschoolers, or with school-age students from testing the 4th chapter of the First Contact Textbook. Observing the teacher's work with the teaching material and watching the children's reactions gave us a lot of energy for further work and confirmed our knowledge that our work has meaning.

We also saw examples of testing in educational centers in Dublin and Birmingham, and teacher Lenková from iCan also shared her testing experience.

At this meeting, we also welcomed the authors of PZ teaching materials for preschoolers, Mrs. Hirscherová and the author of the First Contact Textbook p. Báčkai. Both authors presented their publications, with what intention they approach their work and what children should be able to master and learn when working with publications. In the discussion, they answered the questions of those present and explained their intentions and ideas on how to work with textbooks.

For all of us, this meeting "with the smell" of Paris was a pleasant and stimulating working meeting. After the summer break, which will not be a rest for us, but work on other textbook chapters, we will meet in September, and in the fall our whole team will welcome another project participant - the educational center in Birmingham.

We wish you a wonderful summer full of experiences and we believe that we will meet many of you in the fall while studying Slovak at iCan or in the summer at our Slovak summer course.
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