Address: Benovo bb, 85330 Kotor

Country: Montenegro

 School website 

Project: My Kotor (My town)


Working language during the project:

  • Montenegrin


Themes of the Council of Europe campaign “FREE to SPEAK, SAFE to LEARN - Democratic Schools for All” covered:

  • Making children’s and students’ voices heard
  • Preventing violence and bullying


Competences from the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (CDC) addressed and where / how they were integrated:

  • Analytical and critical thinking skills
    Analysing different aspects of everyday life (culture, economy, ecology, traffic, resources…) and trying to find solutions for the recognised issues.
  • Knowledge and critical understanding of the world: politics, law, human rights, culture, cultures, religions, history, media, economies, environment, sustainability
    Recognising various aspects of the functioning of the local community and spotting room for improvement (e.g. mapping environmental issues and traffic problems related to children safety)
  • Civic-mindedness
    Project activities related to recognising needs and solving challenges in the local community through planning and conducting community actions (e.g. making the rest area accessible to the public at the entrance to a school yard)

Target group age range:

  • 5-11
  • 11-15

Level of education:

  • Primary education 
  • Lower secondary education

Short description of the project:

School project, named “My Kotor” (My hometown) is a part of an initiative that aims to initiate and establish effective, sustainable lasting change based on a whole – school approach, through active involvement of the students in researching various aspects of social life in the local community, and promoting student activism both in school and in the local community. The aim is to enable students to gain insight into the different spheres of functioning of the local community through organised activities, to identify what is good and to devise a way to improve the situation where it is needed. In this way, students will get to know their hometown, develop a sense of personal responsibility for the quality of life in Kotor, and practice activism in a local community.

The initiative came from the newly appointed school principal who was previously principal of the school that integrated the core EDC/HRE principles into the school curriculum with great success, and who is also a CoE certified trainer of trainers in EDC/HRE. This was a very important factor for the success of the initiative.

To make change possible, the school needed to make sure that various preconditions were met: adjustment of school curriculum to the core principles of EDC/HRE, raising awareness of the teachers about the competence based learning/teaching process; development and introduction of various school protocols and effective procedures aimed at reduction of all kinds of violence and bullying in school; teacher training in EDC/HRE. The major part of the work was carried out between February and August 2019.

Project “My Kotor” aims to enable the children to gain insight into the different spheres of functioning of the local community through organised activities, to identify what is good and to devise a way to improve the situation where it is needed. In this way, students get to know their hometown and develop a sense of personal responsibility for the quality of life in Kotor.

To achieve this, the project is deeply integrated into the school curriculum, choosing a thematic approach to plan and conduct curricular and extracurricular activities throughout the whole school year which is roughly divided into eight thematic parts: Our school (September), History and tradition (October), Traffic ( November), Culture and art (December and January), Sea and seafaring (February), Facilities for children’s - playgrounds, informal playgrounds, cultural and music events, workshops ...(March), Nature and ecology (April); Tourism (May).

To achieve this, the teachers were divided into the groups by subject, and asked to individually plan and then agree on curricular and extracurricular activities that they would organise with students in order to achieve the project objectives effectively. The Idea was that this approach would allow teachers to more easily design and plan activities during the school year, as well as to work more effectively with each other. Special attention was given to cooperation with the local community (municipality, public, services and organisations, NGOs, companies, institutions ...),

As a result of the initial planning process, which finished in September 2019, teachers outlined various extracurricular activities: student researches, workshops, competitions, visits to institutions and organisations, mini-projects, actions in the local community, city tours, communication with local media and municipality bodies and officials, writing proposals, drafting publications… The plan is that at the end of each theme, the school team conducts an evaluation, so that the teachers can plan additional activities throughout the school year.

So far, various activities were conducted and reported on in this school year. Probably the most striking outcome of the project is that on the basis of research carried out on students’ needs and with the support of a local NGO, a wooden rest area for children and citizens at the entrance to the schoolyard was built.


  • Promoting student activism in the school and local community
  • Enabling the school to become a safe and challenging environment for expressing thoughts and attitudes and relating quality communication about school and communal issues


Expected results/outcomes

  • School curriculum is adjusted to EDC/HRE
  • Teachers are aware of the importance of EDC/HRE and motivated
  • Teachers have the competences for integrating the EDC/HRE into their learning activities
  • Students are is exposed to the EDC/HRE through curricular and/or extracurricular activities
  • School is actively promoting a spirit of cooperation and non-violent communication through development and introduction of various protocols and procedures aimed at prevention of violence and bullying
  • School is promoting, encouraging and supporting student activism in local community
  • Teacher training and other means of professional development related to the EDC/HRE are available at school



Within a fairly short time period, we managed to initiate the transformation of the school into an institution that truly promotes the EDC/HRE values, and ensures sustainability and permanence of changes. We managed to raise both a sense of responsibility and autonomy in our students. This also had a positive influence on teachers. Our learning strategies are predominantly directed toward student-centered learning, and development of entrepreneurial competences.

We successfully showed that primary lower secondary school can be a driver of change in a local community.

Furthermore, we made efforts to thoroughly document our change, which should help us to disseminate our experience to others.

A full, comprehensive evaluation of the project will be carried out after the completion of the activity evaluation, and it will serve as a tool for sustainable change towards a democratic school.


Challenges you faced

Lack of motivation for change within teachers, caused primarily by outer factors (very traditionally oriented external evaluation of their work, lack of differentiation of teachers)

Teachers lacked the competences for using the EDC/HRE. Teachers sometimes had problems with applying EDC/HRE concepts in learning/teaching activities, which indicates that they need additional support in this matter.



Time-frame of the project: 

  • June 2019 – August 2020


Council of Europe materials on citizenship and human rights education used while preparing or implementing your practice:

  • Living Democracy - manuals for teachers
  • Democratic governance of schools
  • Managing controversy
  • Compasito
  • Human Rights and Democracy Start with Us – Charter for All