Description

International School Partnership Program WeC.A.R.E.  2013-2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

  1. What is WeC.A.R.E.?
  2. Why should WeC.A.R.E.?
  3. Who can participate?
  4. How is the program structured and what is the time commitment required?
  5. How do I get support?
  6. How has WeC.A.R.E. achieved its goals so far?
  7. Do I receive certification?

 

1. What is WeC.A.R.E.?

WeC.A.R.E. is a free, online, international teacher training and classroom intervention program that aims to enhance the students’ psychological wellbeing, build resilience, foster team-spirit, and create a global support network of educators, psychologists and students.

WeC.A.R.E. is part of the larger, multi-level prevention, awareness-building, education and intervention project Connecting for Caring (www.connecting4caring.gr) created and implemented by the Center for Research and Practice in School Psychology of the University of Athens and the Society for School and Family Consultation and Research in Athens, Greece with the generous donation of Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Project Director: Dr.Chryse Hatzichristou, Professor of School Psychology, University of Athens, Greece.

 

The main Goals of WeC.A.R.E.

  • To support children, teachers and schools during the difficult times of economic hardship and other unsettling events.
  • To create bridges that will promote cultural understanding, collaboration and collective action.
  • To build resilience and foster positive attitude in the classroom.
  • To build an international network of schools as caring communities, in collaboration with university faculty members, education and mental health professionals, and psychological associations in Greece, USA and other countries.

 

2. Why should WeC.A.R.E.?

Children today are faced with a large number of major challenges that can have a detrimental effect on their psychological wellbeing and learning. Training and intervention  programs such as WeC.A.R.E. can effectively help children through these challenges.

Major Global Challenges                                                   ►                  Negative  Outcomes for Children

 

  • Loss or reduced incomes, unemployment of parents                               Increased emotional and behavioural problems
  • Economic crisis affecting many countries
  • Limited access to medical and mental health care                                     Drop out
  • Migration and refugees
  • Violence in schools and communities                                                        Bullying and violence in schools
  • Limited educational opportunities
  • Limited provision of school psychological services                                     Drug use
  • Lack of in service teachers’ training                                                                       

 

School intervention programs minimize negative outcomes (risk factors) and promote protective factors in students’ lives by helping all children to achieve  school success and develop positive life skills that will prepare them for a successful adult life (Biglan, Flay, Embry, & Sandler, 2012; Zins, Weissberg, Wang, & Walberg, 2004).

 

3. Who can participate?

Any teacher of a kindergarten, elementary school or junior high school class from an institution anywhere in the world where Greek is taught. Internet access is required for accessing the training material by the teacher, and at least occasional internet access in the classroom is necessary for accessing our online interactive platform with the students in the class. The material and activities are adapted for each class level and are available both in Greek and in English.

 

4.  How is the program structured and  what is the time commitment required?

The classrooms  that participate in WeC.A.R.E. are divided in groups of 2 or 3 classes from different countries. Together they make an online sailing journey passing through a series of islands-stations inspired by Ancient Greek Literature and Mythology (e.g. “The journey of Odysseus”). Each island station constitutes the platform for each of the modules of the program.

WeC.A.R.E. 2013-2014 consists of 5 monthly modules on the following topics:

            a) Building psychological resilience and fostering positivity (December)

            b) Recognizing, expressing and regulating emotion (January)

            c) Coping with stress and anxiety (February)

            d) Understanding diversity (March)

            e) Closing project (May)

Each module consists of an online training and preparation session for the teacher, 2 in-class activities and a joint project. The program preparation materials will be available online through the interactive online platform www.connecting4caring.gr

Teacher Training and Preparation (approximately  5 hours per month)

  • Viewing training videos (webinars)
  • Viewing videos with instructions for the in-class activities
  • Reading material
  • Preparing the materials for the in-class activities
  • Answering a short questionaire on the material

 

Note: the videos and other materials for each module are uploaded once a month and each teacher can access, prepare and implement the activities in their class anytime within that month’s deadline.

Two In-class Activities (2 class sessions per month)

Performing the activity with the students in class according to the instructions. Each activity is planned to last one class session but a teacher may devote more time to an activity if they find it necessary.

Joint Project (1 class session per month)

The joint project consists in formatting and uploading the product of the second in-class activity together with the product of the other classes in the group. It does not require extra work in terms of preparation, but rather, it is a collaborative synthesis of what has come out of the second in-class activity. For example if the second activity of a particular module produced a collection of photographs, the joint project could consist in having each class upload these photographs on a larger online group album. Teachers that form a 2 or 3 member group can communicate via our online forum be creative in the way in which they will put this material together. The classes’ interaction and sharing of material will take place via the online game platform “Sailing for Caring”

 

                                                                                                                                                                                   

5. How do I get support?

The teachers who participate in the WeC.A.R.E. program, apart from being paired with one or two other teachers and their classes, they are also placed in a larger group of teachers (approximately 15 members) with whom they can interact via our online platform. The platform includes a supervision forum, where teachers can ask questions or comment on the implementation of the program and receive support from our specialized group of school psychologists throughout the course of the program.

 

6. How has WeC.A.R.E. achieved its goals so far?

During the academic year 2012-2013, 68 teachers with a total of 1061 students participated in the program. They came from 32 mainstream kindergarten, elementary, and junior high schools in Greece, Cyprus, USA, United Kingdom, Belgium, and Ireland. Teachers’ and students’ evaluations suggest that the program was highly successful in meeting its goals.

 

Participating teachers have said:

  • The program gave the opportunity to the students to get to know themselves and each other better and to come closer. Now they feel more comfortable to talk about and express their emotions.
  • Now they cooperate better, they accept other students as equals in the classroom and they avoid violence in order to solve their problems.
  • The program helped my students both in language and psychosocial skills
  • The program helped to empower self-knowledge, self-control, respect their peers and to develop a better relationship with their teacher.
  • (The program) Empowered team work, collaboration and communication with each other. Also, it helped to understand how important is to manage their feelings.
  • The program helped to strengthen their relationships and to understand and accept the others’ feelings. Additionally, my students realized that their classmates and peers from other schools share the same concerns.
  • My relationship and communication with my students improved.
  • I came closer with my students by learning more about their character and their personality.

 

Participating students have said:

  • It is very important that program continues because it gave us the opportunity to express ourselves without fear.
  • We learned to accept the bad feelings and to deal them with dialogue, talking with friends and parents’ and teachers’ help.
  • We came closer to each other in a different way and we realized that sometimes the people next to us are in need for a good word or a smile more often than we thought. 
  • We felt very nice because we were able to help other students and they did the same in turn.
  • We especially liked that we met people with different culture and habits.
  • Meeting students from other countries and schools gave us the chance to found that adolescents who live in different countries can be quite different in character or habits but they have the same feelings and express the same concerns.

 

7. Do I receive certification?

Following successful completion of the program the teacher will be awarded a Certificate of Attendance.