1st Comenius Partnership Meeting
Downshire Primary School
• Ulla Aslund, Susanna Karlsson, Maria Isacsson, Ingela
Ahnrik-Hagberg, Berit Hjalmarsson (from Sweden),
Geert Peters, Hilde Swinnen, Kris Van Dijck, Tinneke Van
Reusel (Belgium), Dani Martinez, Imma Piquer, Montse
Ferrer, Eugeni Agusti (Spain) John Knaggs, Wendy-Mae
Millar, Gary Graham, Sarah McKinney and Barbara
Lewers (Northern Ireland).
First photo of the group
Mural of the participant countries
The partnership would like to focus on a project
which aims to raise the awareness of their students
with regard to the Eco School in particular the area
a) The Environment
b) Healthy Living – focus will be given towards
revising our eating habits and our exercise
programmes and linked in with this will the
development of good citizenship. The partnership will
be able to share the same concerns collectively and
develop the idea of being a good citizen as well as
having responsibility for their own environments.
Emphasis will be put on the impact of being eco-
friendly and how the students will develop their
appreciation of their own environments and lifestyles
by adopting a collaborative approach as well as the
importance of their roles in maintaining and
improving these. The knowledge skills and attitudes
of teachers and pupils will also be extended in order
to lay the foundations for the development of healthy
Downshire Primary School in Northern Ireland, was built 3 years ago following an amalgamation between 2 smaller schools in the Hillsborough
area. We have over 500 students between the ages of 4 and 11 and we also have a Nursery Unit attached to the school which can accommodate 52
pupils who are three and four year olds. The school is located in a pleasant, semi rural area on the edge of the historic village of Hillsborough. It is well
equipped with solar panels, an innovative water cycle system, under floor heating, computer suite, resource areas for each year group, library, multi-
purpose hall and outside an all weather sports pitch and a grass football pitch. Other outside features include excellent play equipment with a covered
sand pit and wild garden area. We are very fortunate to have children who, for the most part, come from very caring and privileged backgrounds.
At Downshire we have already established an Eco Committee which is predominantly pupil based but also includes a governor, a parent and a teacher
member. The council is used to voice and express the children’s concerns and issues which are pertinent to them with regard to improving their school
environment. We would intend to share this with our partner schools as it is a democratic and participatory programme that provides an excellent
opportunity for pupils to experience active citizenship in schools as well as bringing many benefits to their wider community abs which can be shared
with other communities.
Gündüz Alp İlköğretim Okulu is a Primary School in Turkey with students between the ages of 6 and 13. Our school has 1271 students and we
have 24 classes. Our school is located in the suburbs of Ankara. The environment of our school is inhabited by the people who moved to a metropolitan
city from rural cities.
Ceip Sant Cristofor is a primary school located in the village of Begues which is very close to Barcelona. It is in a naturally protected
situation due to the preservation of the surrounding ´green´ areas. The children are between the ages of 3 - 12. There is a low level of immigration
within the district and most of the pupils come from the village with only a small percentage from the surrounding areas. Our school has 443 pupils. It
is equipped with a computer suite, gymnasium, vegetable garden, music room, library and English classrooms. We are very fortunate to have children
from a ´middle-class´ background with supportive parents and a very effective parent teacher association.
Wilgenduin is a Primary school in Belgium for pupils with special needs (learning disabilities, mental retardation, speech and language problems,
autisme). Our 320 pupils are between 2,5 and 13 years old. Wilgenduin is located in Kalmthout near to the “Kalmthoutse Heide”, a great nature
reserve. Our school is surrounded with forests and treas. In our school we take it upon our task to educatie our children about nature. We have a
workgroup called MOS (=environment at school). Healthy living is also one of our priorities. We believe that exercise, drinking water, eating fruit and
fresh air keep our students awake during the day to profit the most of our education. We have special therapies with horses and dogs for our children
with autism. Most of our children have al ‘low-class’ or ‘middle-class’ background.
Bodaskolan – is a Primary and Secondary school with 709 students, between 7 and 16 years old, divided into 35 classes.
We also have a special department for children with communication problems and different handicaps. These children are integrated as much as
possible in our ordinary classes. Children who are refugees comes to the school, and to prepare them we have a special class with extra resources.
The school is situated in the textile town of Borås, close to Gothenburg which is the second largest city in Sweden. It is located in a multicultural
socially deprived area. The multiethnic background of our students is one of the beauties of our school. There are big woods and many lakes close to
our school. The school have access to a large number of computers, a library, a gymnasium and football grounds.. We recycle and work together with
the local estate to increase the students awareness of environmental issues. The buildings of the school are old and are going to be rebuilt soon.
Objectives of the partnership
The partnership’s project is a vehicle to ‘get the most’ out of what each of us have and gain from what we are doing so it can be
shared collaboratively. We would wish to develop the knowledge and understanding of our students and staff so that they can
appreciate how different cultures have similar problems and how a similar approach can be made to address these.
Within the partnership there are 2 sets of definitive objectives in relation to the Environment and Healthy Living. These are as
There will be opportunities to for all stakeholders and these will include:
- Creating links with other schools to give a chance to share environmental information and also
develop a means for cultural exchange and improving language skills
- Improving our school environments
- Observing and learning about natural habitats for both plant and animal life
- Creating wildlife gardens to include the involvement of local authorities, organisations and
businesses which have expertise in many areas of environmental management and may be
willing to cooperate in an Eco–Schools initiative resulting in a more integrated community
- Students and staff working together on reducing litter and waste and encouraging recycling so
that the schools are run in an environmentally conscious way
- Reducing energy costs
- Raising awareness of global issues
- Using an ICT based approach with a real purpose ie:- using emails, photos, power point
presentations and video conferencing to monitor and evaluate the project.
Pupils will also have opportunities to explore their self awareness and the awareness of others so
- feel positive about themselves
- further develop and maintain an ethos within their schools in which healthy choices are made
- develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime
- become aware of their own strengths, abilities, qualities, their achievements, personal
preferences and goals
- acquire the basic life skills and competences necessary for their personal development, for future
employment and for active European citizenship
- recognise how they can develop and improve their learning
- become more aware of the environment they live in and how they can use this awareness to help
develop themselves as good citizens
- experience and appreciate other cultures and the routines they may have in their daily lives
- develop and nurture an awareness of another language
Staff will have the opportunities to:-
- develop professionally by experiencing new cultures
- introduce an element of a second language within the curriculum
- travel and appreciate new cultures and the systems adopted to run schools within these cultures
- develop their ICT skills to support learning and teaching practices
- enhance the quality and European dimension of their teacher training
- improve their pedagogical approaches and develop their school management skills
The intentions for adopting this project are to:-
- capitalise on the environmental strengths we collectively have ie:- our facilities and grounds, the
support of our parents and communities and the availability of expertise from our councils
- examine the diets and exercise habits of the stakeholders within the partnership and create a
collective agreement on how to adapt and improve a programme to the benefit of all
- identify, through auditing, the problems and challenges some of us may have and collaboratively
work together to address this.
- recognise our environments can be improved upon and that it is the responsibility of all
stakeholders to work together to make this happen.