We were very excited and eager to gain new knowledge as we were traveling towards Otona Ivekovića Zagreb Primary School on November 11, 2019. Pupils awaited us with song and cheer. They were thrilled to show us what they can, and they transferred the excitement to us as well. All the activities were well planned and organized.
We were introduced to the Croatian school system, in particular, how they integrate students with special needs. Moreover, we met with representatives of City Municipality. They told us about the inclusion of special needs children in regular classrooms. Positive aspects of this inclusion were highlighted; for example, how children can attend school and other activities with their peers.
Special care is dedicated to health care. During the planned regular medical checkups, the school's doctor is paying particular attention to physical and mental development and deviations.
We would also like to see the inclusion of persons with mental disabilities being included in society. A good practice example was shown to us at the Dugava Primary School. In one building, children with disabilities are being schooled and children attending regular school. Pupils are being taught in smaller groups by a special educator while respecting their individual needs.
At the Nad lipom Primary School, their philosophy is to follow individual needs and to develop skills that will help pupils further in life.
At the Suvag center for children with hearing difficulties, they follow a holistic approach in diagnostics and treatment of hearing impairment. Medical specialists, speech therapists, and other professionals are employed, and the latest technology is at hand.
Further, we visited a faculty, where students are learning to deal with special needs children. We found it very positive that students can learn by observing specialists at work and are in contact from the beginning.
During our field trip, we also visited the Zagreb Museum of Illusion and the typological museum, and the Museum of Senses in Split. Several workshops and other activities were organized, such as Brain Gym and relaxation workshop, where we actively participated and gained new experiences and knowledge.
Our students also actively participated in under the guidance of their escort Vesna. We chose very carefully suitable activities for them. The most comfortable they were at crafts, while activities that demanded exposure and active verbal participation were not putting them in a comfortable position, also due to language barriers. They befriended students from Poland.
An individual is being shaped through culture and language. We had a glimpse at life in Zagreb, discovered its culture, food, and daily routine. It is without a doubt that we returned enriched for valuable experience, through which we can grow as professionals as well. We want to thank the primary school Otona Ivekovića Zagreb for their hospitality and an invaluable experience.
Members of the Erasmus+ team Slovenia: Damjana, Lidija, Marija, Tanja, Vesna