Osnovna škola Gradac
Address: Kralja Tomislava 2, Gradac
Project: The Good Mood School
Working language during the project:
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
- Improving well-being at school
Competences from the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (CDC) addressed and where / how they were integrated:
- Conflict-resolution skills:
Composing the anthem with lyrics based on the class rules and plays with problem situations from the class that related to the rules, pupils learned how to communicate in nonviolent way and efficiently solve the problem situations. The same was applied to the sport tournaments. workshops for training pupils-referees, pupils were taught appropriate cheering and behaviour at sports meetings.
The proposal on improving the functional and aesthetic appearance of the school and its surrounding were made by a group of pupils and it was supported by Pupils' Council. The pupils' representatives visited the mayor and the president of the Gradac Tourist Board and introduce them our project. In this way they gained their support and some project's goals were achieved with their help.
- Co-operation skills:
With a help of volunteers from the local community we arranged a part of the school garden as Sunny Garden and the other part as The Good Mood Garden. With help of the municipality we improved the school sport fields. We also arranged Sunny Corner, a place in the school where pupils can have a rest, play games and socializing.
Target group age range:
- 5-11 and
Level of education:
- Primary education
Short description of the project:
- developing nonviolent communication and tolerance
- developing respect and appreciation of diversity
- improving pupils' confidence, self respect and generally emotional status, improving wellbeing in school
The Good School Mood is the common title for projects that have been conducted in Primary School Gradac (Gradac, Croatia) during last nine years. Apart from other aims, all of them addressed prevention of violence and bullying. As a starting point we can indicate implementation of a programme for the prevention of peer violence and bullying which was conceived by UNICEF together with Croatian experts, For a Safe and Enabling Environment in Schools - Stop Violence among Children. We chose to join this programme because we recognized it as a good tool in fighting bullying and violence that we experienced in the school. After completion of this project, we have continued to create and implement projects which main aim is to improve well being of our pupils and generally to create a positive and stimulating atmosphere in the school. The first one was Our Rules, which some of aims were developing nonviolent communication and tolerance and respect and appreciation of diversity. Through composing the anthem with lyrics based on the class rules and plays with situations from the class that related to the rules, pupils not only learned how to communicate in nonviolent way, but also developed their creative potential and improved self-respect and self-confidence. By the next project Sport Heart we addressed inappropriate behaviour at sport meetings. Project plan included interviews with our pupils – athletes, workshops for training pupils-judges, designing and making props, composing fan song and organising tournaments. We continued this project within the framework of the former EU LLP and in cooperation with six partner schools from European countries we created and implemented the project Euroball. Through the central task of making rules for new sport game, we again encouraged appropriate behavior on sport grounds and directed pupils to healthy lifestyles. The project Let's Live Healthily and Grow up Happily was oriented on raising awareness of the importance of proper nutrition and regular physical activity for growth and development of communication skills.
From our previous projects we learned that if we improve a sense of communion, encourage the working atmosphere and improve the functional and aesthetic appearance of the school and its surrounding, the rate of bullying and violence will lower. This is a reason why we created the project The School is my Sunny Home. Since our school had not a logo, a motto and a dress code, we decided to ask all pupils to give their proposals. The commitee which one member was a representative of the Pupils Council made the final decision. With a help of volunteers from the local community we arranged a part of the school garden as Sunny Garden and organized Sunny Corner, a place in the school where pupils can have a rest, play games and socializing. (Our school celebrates the School Day on Day of Sun – 3rd May.) From pupils’ responds we understood that there is still room not only for improving our school atmosphere and functional and aesthetic appearance but also to improve cooperation with the local community. As a part of the project The Good Mood School we again arranged a part of the school garden – The Good Mood Garden with the reflexology path which is together with the choice of colours and scents of indigenous herbs in the function of relaxing its users. The municipality of Gradac financially supported upgrading of the school sport fields. Our school decorated a bench on the Gradac waterfront by our school colours and the school logo. In this way we brought school closer to our fellow citizens and guests. After completion of each project we asked pupils to fill an evaluation form. Feedback was generally positive and violence and bullying rate was low.
- lower rate of violence and bullying
- creating a positive and stimulating atmosphere in school
- developing awareness of pupils’ own capabilities
All mentioned projects were continued through workshops, sport events, drama classes and further improving of the functional and aesthetic appearance of the school. The projects fulfilled their expected outcomes, in the first place the rate of violence and bullying became lower. This helped to make the school as a safe place with stronger sense of communion and better working atmosphere. Together with improving the functional and aesthetic appearance of the school and its surrounding, we created a positive and stimulating atmosphere which helped our pupils to develop awareness of their own capabilities. The consequence is increasing of their self-respect and self-confidence.
- increasing of pupils taking initiative
- improving a sense of communion
- encouraging the working atmosphere
- improving cooperation with the local community
- improving of the functional and aesthetic appearance of the school (as a contribution to a better school atmosphere)
From our experience if we want to prevent violence and bullying, we do not need necessarily to deal only with this topic and prevention have to be included in the curriculum of all school subjects. Any achievment in improving pupils' confidence, self respect and generally emotional status leads to lower rate of bullying and violence. These projects helped us not only to improve of the functional and aesthetic appearance of the school as a contribution to a better school (working) atmosphere but also to improve the cooperation with the local community. Again, the sense of communion was improved, our pupils were taking initiative more frequently and became more aware of their own capabilities. All of these lead to lower rate of bullying and violence.
Challenges you faced
Main problems that we have experienced were lack of motivation of some teachers, some other workers in the school and some pupils because any initiative which is aside the regular curriculum is considered as an extra burden. Sometimes the problem is the finance which is not planned for projects like these.
Time-frame of the project:
Council of Europe materials on citizenship and human rights education used while preparing or implementing your practice:
- Living democracy-manuals for teachers
- Human Rights and Democracy Start with Us – Charter for All