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Disemination of the Portuguese team on education at Metin Sabanci School in Istanbul

The first impression was one of a different reality, namely an exclusive work space with children / adolescents with moderate to severe disabilities, by opposition to inclusive regular schools, like in the portuguese educational system.
However, after a more attentive observation, we must highlight the care and dedication in developing specific competences, in a structured environment, very well equipped and technologically updated. This last aspect caused undoubtedly the greatest impact on us. In all the presentations and visits that we participated, we found establishments with good physical conditions, adequate to the specificity of each student, taken care by specialized educators, technicians and assistants in sufficient number; we also perceive the concern in the creation of favorable learning environments, factors that are essential to success. Some schools, besides the cutting-edge technology, developed stimulating educational software for different purposes, regular diagnosis, assessment or evaluation of the students' learning process.
Sometimes the language presented itself as an obstacle to achieve a more profitable contact with some of the teachers, although we had the assistance of tireless staff members, namely the psychologist and coordinator of the exchange project.
Outside the institution, we point out the visit to a public school, whose main purpose seemed to be to train adolescents to practice crafts such as carpentry, arts, as well as skills related to personal autonomy and promoting transition to adulthood. Also within this scope, it was very interesting to observe a project of social insertion of adults with Trisomy 21 who, according to their profile, performed paid tasks in a restaurant, dealing directly with the clients, taking down requests, setting the tables, washing the dishes, etc. A social project that fosters employability, housing and emotional support.
It was also gratifying to have the opportunity to share and discuss, with partners and educational and social legal representatives, both formally and informally, aspects of each partner’s educational and teaching systems - which, at present, are shadowed by the increasing massification of tasks assigned to the teachers, a never ending story of problem solving such as inclusion.
Therefore, we consider that some of the observed strategies should be replicated and can foster new pedagogical practices towards success for all students. The intensive use of technologies as a motivating factor and even enhancer of more relaxing moments also aroused much of our attention.

Indeed, a very rewarding trip, not only because we were always very well hosted, in the various places that we visited, but also because it was clear that, as in Portugal, there is a social conscience, which aims at furthering the inclusion of all individuals, groups and communities and at the recognition of their capabilities, value and role as citizens, providing a fair and harmonious coexistence, believing that hereby is the way social progress is achieved.

Marta Antunes, school Erasmus+ coordinator


After mobility to Istanbul, OŠ Otona Ivekovića, Zagreb, Croatia

1. Sensory play

During our time in Istanbul (end of November 2018) we visited their special schools and had the opportunity to see two sensory rooms. Sensory rooms are designed for sensory integration of children, they facilitate learning, improve concentration, promote communication skills and self-control and create a feeling of safety and calmness in a person. After this experience we were very eager to design sensory games for the stimulation of our students’ senses. Students of our third and fifth grades participated in the play. They tried to guess a hidden object that they could not see using the sense of touch, scent and sound; they tried to unwrap sweets wearing ski gloves; they tried to find a way out of a maze by looking in a mirror image; they tried to catch a lighted ball in the dark. Everyone enjoyed the play and had a lot of fun.

2. Preparations for exam in 4th grade with virtual game


The Italian teachers replicated in the Infant school a Kitchen and a Music activity after the first short-term join staff training event (Istanbul, Turkey)

After visiting Metin Sabanci Special School and taking part in different workshops and sessions, the Italian teachers of the Infant school in Nerola replicated two activities done during the 1st short-term joint staff training and learning event: a Kitchen and a Music activity.
Teacher Anna Maria and her pupils prepared orange juice. Children had the opportunity to use the senses of touch, smell, sight and taste. During and after the activity children orally retold all the steps to obtain the juice  and then they illustrated them. The teacher pointed out the importance of circular motion. She  let all of the children exercise fine motricity and circular hand motion, mostly used in everyday life (in cleaning a table, glass windows…). In the National Indicators of Curriculum one of the objectives kids have to reach at the end of Kindergarten in the field “Exploring, knowing and planning” is: touching, seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting something and telling what was touched, seen, heard, smelt and tasted,  using appropriate words. The teacher combined this activity with those planned in the infant school curriculum.
3-6 -year-old kids took part in a Music activity with teacher Catia, who was trained in Turkey. Her pupils replicated music patterns with body percussion and percussion instruments. Some of these instruments were realized by the children themselves using simple and recycled material. Children had the opportunity to exercise the sense of hearing. Moreover they had the possibility to implement attention, concentration and had to respect school and behaviour rules. Through this activity kids worked together and in harmony.  Harmony is a situation in which people are peaceful and agree with each other. Harmony is in fact a term that derives from music: it means a pleasant  musical sound made by different notes being played or sung at the same time. A harmonious class is an environment where  children play different instruments giving their personal contribution to obtain the final results: knowledge, skills and competences.
In “School blues” Daniel Pennac wrote: “Each student plays his or her instrument, there's no point in arguing with that. The tricky part is knowing our musicians well enough to play in harmony. A good class isn't a military regiment marching to the same beat but an orchestra working on the same symphony. And if you've inherited a triangle which can only go ting-ting, or a jew's harp which can only go bloing-bloing, what matters is that they do it at the right time, and to the best of their ability, that they become an excellent triangle, an irreproachable jew's harp, and that they're prove of that their contribution fringe to the group. Since they’re all inspired by a taste for harmony, even the triangle will end up knowing the music, perhaps not as brilliantly as the first violin, but to some level of familiarity at least”.


International Day of People with Disabilities - Primary school dr.Ljudevita Pivka Ptuj

International Day of People with Disabilities in our school was marked sporty. Pupils competed in dodge ball, swimming and fun sports games. 

On the 3rd of December, we organized an open celebration, where pupils from our school presented the cultural program. Guests from the Association Sožitje Ptuj and dance group Sonček, led by Andrej Novotni, also participated. There were 4 dance couples present on wheelchairs dancing. The main guest of the ceremony was prof. Geography and Sociology Igor Plohl, a youth writer who, who talk from his own experience, how his disability changed his life. The attendees were also welcomed by Metka Jurešič, President of the Municipal Council for Disabled Persons.

Students and teachers from primary school dr. Ljudevita Pivka Ptuj

Assotiation Sožitje Ptuj
Assotiation Sonček
Prof. Igor Plohl 

Metka Jurešič, President of the Municipal Council for Disabled Person
Nada Kotar, moderator
Foto and video @ school arhiv

Compassion with persons with disabilities, OŠ Otona Ivekovića, Zagreb, Croatia

In Croatia there are over 500,000 people with disabilities and they represent more than 12% of the country’s total population. Croatia is one of the 168 countries that have signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
At our Oton Iveković Primary School we organize various activities throughout the school year to help our students develop sensibility for disabled persons and to foster toleration of differences and promote assistance towards those in need.
We did a number of activities, within Art classes and during breaks, aimed at experiencing what it means and what it is like to be a person who cannot see or hear.
Some students had blindfolds on their eyes, some had their ears covered, while others were trying to assist them.
We tried to paint with our eyes closed to experience how persons with disabilities feel.
After the activities we talked about what we experienced and how we can help.
We mentioned famous artists and performers with disabilities, such as singers Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Andrea Bocelli and Zdravko Škender.
We came to the realization that each person had some special abilities in them and that everyone deserves respect, and that we must help whenever we can, help all who ask for and need our help.


Tebessüm Kahvesi ( SMILE CAFE), Uskudar Istanbul , Turkey

Participants of mobility in elementary school Metin Sabanci in Istanbul,  also visited a cozy restaurant Tebessüm Kahvesi n Istanbul. Please, listen to our impressions in the enclosed video.

Thank you Tebessüm Kahvesi for the extremely warm welcome.

A café in Istanbul, which employs 10 workers with Down syndrome in a bid to help them integrate into social life, is highly popular with locals in the city’s Üsküdar district. 

Tebessüm (Smile) Café is part of a project carried out by the Üsküdar Municipality in the garden of the Burhan Felek Mansion. It employs 10 people with Down syndrome between the ages of 18 and 35 and shows people that handicaps can be overcome. 

The disadvantaged young people began working at the cafe last year after getting certificates following a 2.5-month course on hygiene, service and behavior. 

The staff work under the leadership of Şermin Çoban in two six-hour shifts with five people on each shift between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

Speaking to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, Üsküdar Municipality Social Support Services Deputy Director Mustafa Yıldız said the Tebessüm Café was created to “break prejudices.” 

“We wanted our people to come together with these people, we wanted to break their prejudices. What customers see here is that these people give importance to hygiene and really work as hard as professionals,” Yıldız said, adding that the integration of the employees’ families to social life was also important. 

“We want everyone working here to be employed in other sectors. This is a first in Turkey. One of our friends is now working for a famous restaurant in the Bosphorus. We want these people to operate their business in this process,” he said, describing the café as “at the same time a school.” 

Customer satisfaction is very important 

“This is one of the peaceful places, despite being in the middle of Istanbul. The café’s menu and price policy is fine. Our friends attach great important to customer satisfaction. This project is true to its name [‘smile’] and I don’t believe any person will be unhappy with this café,” Yıldız stated, noting that there are a number of frequent customers who repeatedly return to the café. 

 “When we first opened the café, we were driving the employees home after they finished work. But now they can easily go their home by public transportation or by walking. They can also do shopping and meet the needs of their home in markets. This kind of integration is important to us,” he said.

“What’s more, these people are not ones with mild Down syndrome. We did not think of employing people with mild Down syndrome to make things easier for us. Our employees have serious Down syndrome or have other mental disadvantages. But now we are working with a group of people who have completed their integration into society and are making good progress,” Yıldız added.

‘No expectation of profit’ 

He also stressed that the aim of the café was not to turn a profit.

“Tebessüm Café did not open out of commercial concerns, but thanks to the kindness of our people and the performance of our friends it has earned more than we expected. But our most important gain is that these people with Down syndrome now have a social life,” Yıldız said

One of the workers at the café, Zuhal Başbülbül, said she is very happy to be working in the café and has good dialogue with customers. She added that she plans to buy a house and a car with her earnings. 

Meanwhile, fellow employee Arlin Gültane joked that “those who don’t smile are not welcome here!”

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Erasmus+corner in Metin Sabanci school, Istanbul, Turkey


FROM SENSES TO TECHNOLOGY, Instituto comprensivo Giuliano Giorgi, Montori Romano, Italy

During the 1st mobility, the Italian team wrote a logbbok in Italian, describing all the activities observed and workshops/ sessions attended at Metin Sabanci School (see the school website). Teachers reported all they did in Istanbul (visit to vocational schools, to Turkish institutions for disabled people, to monuments...).
Back in Italy, the 3 teachers involved in the first mobility made a ppt presentation for the members of the school Erasmus group and the staff to disseminate knowledge from Turkey: activities, methodologies, strategies, tools and apps used in the partner school. 
Moreover Alba realized a video to sum up this unique experience, sending a positive message: Life is beautiful!


Erasmus Corner with turkish spirit in dr. Ljudevita Pivka Ptuj school, January 2019

After visiting the partner school Metin Sabanci in Istanbul, our Erasmus Corner was set up in the Turkish spirit at our school. Our teacher Tanja N. gave us some of her personal Turkish traditional items for the exhibition.


From the Istanbul LTT, the portuguese team replicated a Sense Education Classroom Practice.

It was a Baking Activity to develop daily knowledge, autonomy and  sensory competences such as:
-          - smell - chocolate, coconut, lemon, cinnamon scents that each student had to discover;
-          - vision - color identification of the ingredients - white, brown, yellow, beige, dark light ...;
-         -  tact - comparison of the different dough textures: (soft, rough, hard, .., and distinguishing the right moment to wrap them according to temperature (hot, cold, warm, ...);
-        -   savor by tasting ingredients such as salt, sugar, flour, coconut, lemon, cinnamon, …;
-          hearing stimulation by following the teacher's explanations for confectioning.

Students also exercised fine motor skills (especially of the upper limbs): molding the cookies, extending the dough to be cut with the molds, the distribution of the cookies on the baking tray, greasing the trays with butter and filling and clamping the plastic bags with cookies.

Mathematics has played a very important role: issues related to weighing ingredients and packages with ready-made biscuits, the counting and the use of euro currency were trained in price tagging and change during the sale!

Finally, students wrote the recipe on computer, which was printed and attached to each bag, together with a Christmas Wish; they were given the opportunity to use technology, practice reading and writing!

Aesthetic development, organization and communication was worked out during the preparation of the sales bench and when they interacted with the people who came to buy the products.

Such work requires that hygiene and safety rules at work are exercised.

It should also be noted that the activity was carried out in the school canteen and work was shared with other students.
SEN peers wanted to participate and help, creating an opportunity for all to intervene in a true inclusive exercise.