Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

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Title of Product
A Handful of Kids: An Experiment in Intercultural Education (Mãcheia
De chaborrilhos*:uma experiência de educação para
A interculturalidade)
Image of the product
Name of Author(s)
Name of Producer
Programa Escolhas /Encontros
Date of Production
Language of the review
Language of the product
Type of product
Online course, Online Publication
Thematic Area
Integration of immigrants students
Target Group
Headmasters, Teachers
Description of Contents
This product describes a project about the social and school integration of the gipsy communities in two Alentejo villages in Portugal. In these villages the Gipsy community comprises 10% of the population (each village has around 1000 inhabitants). The training product describes a series of activities that take place in gipsy camps, with families or in neighbourhoods towards the integration of this population in schools and towards their success in school though street libraries, parental training, school and family mediation, etc. as the background for this specific Guide. The programme and tools presented in this guide aim at sensitising and providing tools for everyone who deals with the Gipsy community and its culture.
A Handful of Kids comprises fifteen intercultural education sessions to be introduced throughout the school year in schools. It is organized in three parts: the story of the experience; theoretical justification and revision of concepts; and thirdly, a detailed description of each session with reference to activities, recommendations for their implementation, and detailed analysis of critical risk and success factors. The activities are also divided into three blocks. The three activity blocks are: (1) Knowing one another; (2) Communicating? And (3) We are together!, each with six, four and five sessions respectively.
The point of departure for this project are the following: (a) the observation that having gipsies at schools created ill-ease and that children were organize spontaneously into gipsy and non-gipsy groupings both in the classroom and outside during breaks. (b) Statistically Gipsy children have less academic success than non-gipsy children.(c) teachers confess that they lack tools to deal with classroom diversity. (d) The relatives of Gipsy children do not trust schools to educate their children or to keep them safe.
The activities organized by this resource are based on elements of the Gipsy culture and elements that are valued both by the Portuguese and the Gipsy cultures, observation of practices and translation/adaptation of diverse materials.
As a guide on a project that is simultaneously a resource for teachers, A handful of Kids is clearly structured. It introduces the context where the experience took place, its preceding activities and results, as well as the motivation that triggered the development of such a programme, which is clearly contextual: heterogeneous cultures that do not meet in school, mistrust of teachers and of parents and consequently low achievement of children in schools.
The contents is logically organized: after the introduction and the theoretical foundations for the programme, the methodology is laid out and the structure of activities explained: three activity blocs on cultural diversity geared towards the integration of Gipsy children in Portuguese schools.
The educational and learning value of this Guide lies in its theoretical background, which is soundly put into practice, as well as in its methodology that can be universally adopted: it starts with self-knowledge and self-validation, and progresses towards interpersonal communication on different customs with equal social value.
The content is clearly relevant in that it is based on previous auscultation of the needs of children and teachers. The former emphasise their need for non-formal activities inside the classroom, while the latter suggest that they would need activities for conflict resolution, personal hygiene, and gender equality. The content also addresses the specific predicament of Gipsy children in primary schools, taking into consideration that they may be older than their peers and therefore in need of less childish topics in order to learn; or that they may be attending year 3 or 4 and not be able to read or write yet and thus need to be able to express themselves through single words or drawings.
Overall, the Guide A Handful of Kids uses the concept of intercultural mediation as the way into intercultural dialogue. This kind of intercultural mediation is essentially ‘peer mediation’.
The transferability potential of this resource is high, since it is based on reflected experience in schools; it includes a list of activities that did not work, as well as best practice activities. It also contains a series of practical recommendations based on practice for the pre-activities stage, during the implementation and after the implementation. This dimension of reflecting on practice and rewriting as a guide for other practitioners is the obvious strength of this material.

The product is a result of this previous project

Title of the project
Funding Programme
School Education
Project number

20 December 2014

Final Partners’ meeting

The fourth partners’ meeting took place in Florence (IT) on 15 December 2014. The meeting had the objective to check the activities carried out since the third meeting of the project and share and assess the in progress results. A special focus has been dedicated to the presentation of the strategies to solve the case scenarios.