This was the arrival day for all partners.
Being Inclusive in the 21st Century: early in the morning partners were met at the hotel entrance and transported to Aver-O-Mar School.
Once in there, we were welcomed by students of the 8th grade with an excellent performance of dance, movement and road circuit presentation in the new physical education pavilion. Afterwards, it was time to listen to the school hymn by students of the 5th grade ( https://youtu.be/Tpe-ZCrlc24 ) , then the European Hymn by students playing the flute and a welcome speech by the school’s headmaster, Mr. Carlos Gomes de Sá.
At 9h30 it was time for the partner’s presentation using an ancient technique of storytelling – a kamishibai story – “Once Upon a Time”. A moment to enjoy our oldest storytelling habilities of telling stories in english and the youngest kindergarten magnificent drawings of each coordinator!! And the very beginning of the project!
After a short break and school visit, the group attended to the presentation of the Portuguese school system and Special Education procedures upon 54th and 55th Decret Laws and Students National Profile by psychologist Mrs. Ana Prata.
In the afternoon, time for a visit to the Town Hall and a meeting with town Councilor for the Department of Social Cohesion, Andrea Silva, who talked about Póvoa de Varzim, main inclusive actions of municipality, as well as answered the group’s questions.
After that, the group went on a guided walking tour to Póvoa de Varzim’s main cultural sites by local museum director Mr. José Flores, an opportunity to know the city and to answer the question Is Póvoa de Varzim an accessible town? This information later on compared with the Inclusive Digital Guide.
At 17h30, free time and the host suggestion to visit a local jewelry to observe Portuguese handmade filigree.
Dinner was served in the hotel, animated by the presence of an iconic Portuguese cultural performance, the well known “Portuguese Tunas”, a very symbolic moment forever in the hearts of those present! (http://www.gestrintuna.eu/videos.html)
REAL WORKING WORLD: At 8h30 transport to primary school Aldeia of the Aver-O-Mar grouping. Partners visited the school – kindergarten to primary classes where students were having reading activities included in the National Reading Week – along with other educative facilities namely those for SEN students. Parents prepared a nice coffee break to welcome the group and all gathered for some moments. Finally, the group had the opportunity to walk along the seaside path, which is right next to the school, and enjoy briefly the Atlantic Ocean cold breeze and view.
At 10h45 they left for CAO – Occupational Activities Center- Residential Home, Detached Homes and CEP (Protected Employment Center) in Terroso village, in Póvoa de Varzim. The visit was conducted by its coordinator Mr. José Luis, local responsible and a very dedicated person, always attentive to SEN adult and senior needs and rights.
After lunch in the institution, where the group tasted a Portuguese dessert, “Aletria”, usually served at Christmas Time, they headed to MAPADI – Parents Support Movement and Friends to Diminished Intellectual – a private institution of social solidarity, which was founded in November 6, 1976, in order to give support to children and young people with mental disabilities in the municipality of Póvoa de Varzim.
This entity currently functions as a Resource Center for Inclusion (CRI) in the area of special education in the county, and develops training courses, the Program framework with the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, in order to prepare their graduates for the working world.
In order to get acquainted with the Portuguese school system, there was a visit to a secondary school – Rocha Peixoto Secondary School – to observe an example of Secondary education for SEN students: school facilities and inclusive procedures in the secondary education. This institution offers a wide range of opportunities, updated equipments and profissionals.
After 18h00 there was free time; the host suggestion was to stroll along Junqueira pedestrian street or the seaside avenue or the fishing harbor for eventual sunset photos.
BEING INCLUSIVE AT UNIVERSITY: Transport from hotel to the city of Braga.
At 9h00 the group went for a walking tour in the old city centre before going to Minho University to attend a plenary session at Office for Inclusion by Mr. Carlos Cardoso. It was explained that the Office for Inclusion – GPI – aimed at promoting inclusion in the academic environment, equal opportunities, and providing support to different members of the community especially those with disabilities or special needs. Its mission is to ensure the best accessibility conditions in the University of Minho. Lunch was served in the university restaurant and, at 14h30, the group was driven to Minho University in Azurém, Guimarães, to attend a workshop at Department of Industrial Electronics (DEI), School of Engineering, University of Minho.
Researcher Filomena Maria R.M.O. Soares explained to the group the Robótica- Autismo Project which aims at the application of different platforms, robots and serious games, as a way to improve the social life of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In particular, to improve the skills of interaction, communication, and emotion recognition with the environment and with others.
The talk started with the presentation of the scope and outcomes of the project. Then, it continued with the presentation of ZECA robot and its functionalities, as well as the serious game HiZeca. Both are used to promote emotion recognition in children with autism. It was very enlightening to understand how technology can foster inclusion and is used by this department to experiment and study new approaches in the field at a national level.
It’s time to say that partners were given the opportunity to understand the Portuguese Educational System, from kindergarten to university, watching in locu how the system deals with SEN students and adults, at all levels, and designs specific orientations, facilities, equipments and other most suitable for social and individual integration.
Before going back to the hotel, there was time for a short visit to Guimarães, birth place of the Portuguese nation, and check its accessibilities knowing local heritage.
ALIVE AND TICKING IN THE SCHOOL LIBRARY – ICT FOR READING PURPOSES
ACTIVE, SPORTIF AND SAFE: at 8h30 transport from hotel to Aver-O-Mar School to attend a series of workshops.
Workshop I – Digital Reading through pictograms, a workshop by Marta Antunes, teacher librarian, that showed how the school library can contribute to inclusion of SEN students and other. Practical examples that explore speaking, writing and reading skills along with ICT tools in order to facilitate and motivate student’s competences for the 21st century. Communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking being the super skills improved in the activities presented in this workshop, mixed with simple pictographic language to make it more accessible for SEN students that have difficulty in communicating otherwise.
At the end of this workshop, the Portuguese coordinator Marta Antunes explained briefly that
Aver-o-Mar school, by means of a protocol between the Civil Government of Porto, the North Regional Directorate of Education, the Municipality of Póvoa de Varzim, the Porto Metropolitan Command of Public Security Police and Territorial Command of Porto – GNR- became, in 2011, is a Reference School for Road Education in Póvoa de Varzim.
As a reference school, the Basic School of Aver-o-Mar will provide knowledge and skills in the area of road safety, necessary for adequate learning by children and young people who attend the municipality’s educational establishments, using interventions of a theoretical nature, in connection with pedagogical actions at a practical level. Partners were able to see a small performance of the equipments used for this sessions in the welcoming performance as, due to schools rebuilding, the circuit is not working.
Worshop II – Kamishibai StoryTelling by Zulmira Lima, teacher librarian. Partners were invited to learn and construct their own Kamishibai story: they planned and wrote the plot, made the illustrations and presented the final product to the group. A funny but learning moment which can easily be replicated with their students back home successfully.
Break for lunch in Marinheiro, a local restaurant where the ocean comes to the table: decoration, clothing and above all food: delicious local fish from the Portuguese coast.
Workshop III: Art’Elier – from Waste Recycling to Gardening.
A gardening moment to plant a tree that will be taken care and planted in the school yard once the school rebuilding is finished as a living memory of each partner’s presence in the school. Meanwhile, each partner painted a vase for the small tree to grow.
The Mandalas workshop using recycled materials workshop, was an example of how Art can be explored to relieve stress, minimize attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and decrease unwanted behavior. Mandalas are a buddhist symbol of integration and harmony so seems adequate to fulfill the educative goal stated before. By using recycled materials, students are sensitized to the importance of preserving the world. Partners were also invited to paint small stones from the beach as students do in class.
A Cookies’ Workshop by the school Health Club which includes SEN students, in the teachers room, gave way to an informal meeting between partners and school teachers. A moment to share experiences and get to know each other.
Meanwhile, coordinators had their meeting to discuss project development, to analyze procedures and activities in course; to plan final mobility to Slovenia and further adjustments.
Workshop VI: Inclusive Digital Guide (ICT) by teacher Mariana Machado. Teachers were shown how to construct with students a digital inclusive guide that could be useful to plan visits to cities like Porto; by giving specific information about heritage sites and accessibility, for instance, they could be constructing a guide to help disabled tourists. The CoSpaces Edu app enables teachers and students to create 3D presentations Available on smartphone, tablet, desktop, Chromebook; students learn by doing, using the various tools available with the technology. All features in CoSpaces Edu can be adapted to fit different class subjects and learning objectives.
Finally, at 16h30 took place the farewell performance, this time a moment of dramatized poetry by the students of the school Theatre Club and Andreia Teixeira, the rehearser, upon Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s “O Mostrengo”.
O mostrengo que está no fim do mar
Na noite de breu ergueu-se a voar;
À roda da nau voou três vezes,
Voou três vezes a chiar,
E disse: «Quem é que ousou entrar
Nas minhas cavernas que não desvendo,
Meus tectos negros do fim do mundo?»
E o homem do leme disse, tremendo:
«El-Rei D. João Segundo!»
After that, exchanging mascots and farewell speeches. A moment full of emotion and some sadness as well because the meeting is coming to an end. However, friendship and good memories will be kept alive.
FROM ACCESSBILITY TO CULTURAL HERITAGE: Is Oporto an accessible city?
An opportunity to visit the city of Porto and some of its famous heritage sites known worldwide like Porto’s Cathedral, Porto Wine Cellars, Stock Exchange Palace, Clérigos’ Tower, Lello’s Library, and more. Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, after Lisbon, and the name “Porto” itself influenced the name of the country “Portugal”. Porto was chosen the cultural capital of Europe in 2001 and the city built the impressive “Casa da Música” in Boavista for the occasion.
But also a visit to continue inclusive learning, Partners were given the task to observe how disabled people can walk around, enter monuments or cross streets safely in Porto. An opportunity to think over important issues in what concerns mobility and old cities’ heritage sites; what can we do to make them more accessible to everyone?
The moment to think over the role that digital inclusive guides might have when planning handicapped people’s visits or travels abroad – fact that was focused on workshop IV on 05.03.2020.
Farewell dinner was in Taberna Real do Fado, a typical restaurant where partners and hosts enjoyed typical food followed by Fado – the most emblematic Portuguese music characterized by profoundly melancholic lyrics and tune.
A lively performance meant to enrich each partner’s heart and keep alive good memories from Portugal!
Mar Portuguez, by Fernando Pessoa
Ó mar salgado, quanto do teu sal
São lágrimas de Portugal!
Por te cruzarmos, quantas mães choraram,
Quantos filhos em vão rezaram!
Quantas noivas ficaram por casar
Para que fosses nosso, ó mar!
Valeu a pena? Tudo vale a pena
Se a alma não é pequena.
Quem quere passar além do Bojador
Tem que passar além da dor.
Deus ao mar o perigo e o abismo deu,
Mas nele é que espelhou o céu.
Oh salty sea, how much of your salt
Are tears of Portugal!
To get across you, how many mothers cried,
How many sons prayed in vain!
How many brides were never to marry
In order to make you ours, oh sea!
Was it worth it? Everything is worthy
If the soul is not small.
Who wants to go beyond Bojador,(*)
Must go beyond sufferance.
God gave the sea peril and abyss,
Yet upon it He also mirrored the sky.
English translation by A. Baruffi, Literary Joint
(*) Cape Bojador