As part of the grant implementation supported by the Joint European Union and Council of Europe INSCHOOL project, throughout the first half of 2021, various activities were implemented at Mitocu Dragomirnei School in Romania. First, a training course for parents and teachers was organised. The programme included a theoretical component (24 hours), as well as practical training (40 hours). The theoretical training of 15 teachers was organized in two groups, in order to respect the current health and safety measures. The participants had a chance to obtain accreditation as a Parental Educator by completing a stage of theoretical training, either in physical or online format, and subsequently completing the practical training stage.
As for the 150 parents involved, they learned about the importance of taking care of themselves to then take better care of their children. The main learning points of the program for parents were stress management techniques, cultivating their communication skills, better understanding their children, acquiring effective parenting skills, applying positive approaches to discipline, and building a trusted support network. The activity was attended by 60 parents of Roma children, 8 Russian-Lipova, and 82 Romanian parents.
The training program had a positive impact on the parents, who enjoyed the activities and stated that they discovered a wider range of constructive and effective alternative parenting methods. Indeed, the participants characterised the training as “a relaxing activity’’ and ‘’two enjoyable hours’’. Also, the teachers involved in the activity noticed that ‘parents began to talk openly about their problems’’ therefore, as a result, the relationship between the parents and the teachers has improved.
Another successful initiative organized by Mitocu Dragomirnei School between February and June 2021 was a remedial education course for pupils in primary education. Overall, 60 students took part in the activity, of which 39 Roma pupils, 3 Russian-Lipova pupils and 18 Romanian pupils. For this activity, each of the 10 teachers in primary education worked with a group of 5 students who have learning difficulties. Each teacher composed the study groups according to the level of preparation of the children and worked with them to overcome the most common issues they encountered.
During online learning, this INSCHOOL member school benefited from the help of the NGO Christian Aid Minister International Association, which carried out remedial activities at its headquarters with small groups of students. The capacities acquired helped the children to overcome the challenges posed by online schooling and contributed to a decrease in the absenteeism rate in the second semester by 40%. All the participants involved showed their willingness to continue this type of activity in the future. The pupils commented positively on the experience, highlighting many examples of what was particularly interesting during the courses. The responsible teachers concluded that the most effective way to work is in small groups of 2-3 students who share the same learning difficulties, and they intend to replicate the same strategy in future programmes.
Finally, the third activity “Inclusive education - an equal opportunity for quality education” was implemented from April to the end of June 2021 by Mitocu Dragomirnei School. It consisted of a series of workshops, carried out over a period of 3 months by 4 teachers on the following topics:
- Painting workshop: consisting of artistic and plastic works inspired by the customs and traditions of intercultural communities. This activity was attended by 20 students and 2 teachers.
- Creative workshop: consisting of making thematic objects (poached eggs, spoons, handicrafts) representative of the community of Russians - Lipovan, Roma and Romanians from Bukovina. This activity was attended by 20 students and 2 teachers.
- Culture and civilization workshop: consisting of making artistic moments that highlight aspects of the culture and civilization of the communities involved. The presentation was made in the form of educational projects and aspects of minorities history in Bucovina were discussed. This activity was attended by 40 students and 4 teachers.
All these activities organised within the framework of the INSCHOL project were highly appreciated by the participants. School staff concluded that all extracurricular activities of this type represent beneficial experiences for students and teachers alike and were much needed. They also observed that, as a result, the children develop the desire to learn even more about their ethnicity but also that of the others, to get closer, to work together and to have fun while learning.