Professional training of educators and other people working with children and youth
“Professional training of educators” is carried out to prevent stigmatization of children at risk and to promote health literacy, and it consists of a series of projects implemented in schools and kindergartens or other institutions. This program, intended for professionals in education who work with children and youth in the education system, is enriched every year. The program also cooperates with KBC and specialized doctors who diagnose and treat most diseases and/or difficulties that children from Primorsko-goranska County, but also children from Istria and Lika-Senj County have.
The projects are described below.
a) Project “EPI in kindergarten and school”.
This project aims to prevent the stigmatization of children and young people with epilepsy and other convulsive diseases. Through professional training of educators, we work exactly where it is most important – in school, where children and young people spend most of their active time. The role of teachers and professional associates is vital when dealing with children who have been diagnosed with some of these diseases or disorders. Professional training is conducted in two cycles of 3 to 4 hours within schools and kindergartens and is conducted by specialist doctors and other professionals who diagnose and treat most children in Primorsko-goranska County and other counties.
The experts are:
- Ph.D. Igor Prpić, MD, neurologist from KBC Rijeka, Clinic for Paediatrics
- D. Inge Vlašić Cicvarić, clinical psychologist from KBC Rijeka, Clinic for Paediatrics
- Jelena Begić, MD, head nurse from the Department
The training is approved for performance in schools and kindergartens by the Ministry of Science and Education, and on average about 50 employees participate in it. The results of the evaluation show that there is a great need for this training because knowledge and information tests (conducted in schools together with pre-testing) showed that most educators do not possess sufficient information about the disease and the capabilities of children with epilepsy. As there is at least one child diagnosed with this disease in every school or kindergarten, it is very important that the whole team is informed about the capabilities of these children so that their behaviour does not stigmatize them.
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b) Project “Diabetes at school”
This project includes professional training of educators in schools to prevent stigmatization and increase health literacy of employees. It is carried out in cooperation with KBC, and is performed by Ph.D. Srećko Severinski, MD.
Experience has shown that this training is also justified because there are still prejudices about what children who have been diagnosed with diabetes may or may not do.
c) Learning disorders, ADHD, etc.
The project refers to the professional training of educators to prevent stigmatization of children and youth who have been diagnosed with a learning disorder, especially ADHD. The project is implemented in schools and kindergartens, and is realized by specialist doctors and other professionals who diagnose and treat most children in Primorsko-goranska County and other counties. The project is implemented for all employees of individual schools in the duration of 1 cycle of 8 hours, and on average about 50 employees participate.
The experts are:
- Professor Ph.D. Igor Prpić, MD, neurologist from KBC Rijeka, Clinic for Pediatrics
- D. Inge Vlašić Cicvarić, clinical psychologist from KBC Rijeka, Clinic for Pediatrics.
“Wool and me – come and see!” – an innovative method of wet felting wool with hands and feet!
This activity was created based on the experience of the instructors Petra Štimac and Barbara Fistonić, both social pedagogues, in working with children and youth at school and in the activities in our organization DIP. The development of this program which was approved by the Ministry of Science and Education for implementation in schools was started precisely because of the effectiveness of this educational method of working with children.
This work method has a therapeutic and educational effect. It turned out that children with behavioural disorders and other difficulties very actively accepted this method.
The effects are:
a) psychophysical tension reduction, relaxation,
b) self-control development,
c) self-confidence strengthening,
d) developing communication and social skills,
e) developing motor, sensory, and cognitive skills,
f) developing perseverance and focus in work,
d) increase of educational achievements,
h) introduction of innovative methods of work in the educational process.
Wet felting of wool is the process of forming various decorative and useful objects by squeezing wool with palms and feet in warm water and soap on different tactile bases. Felting wool is fun and pleasant for users and allows them to get closer, build relationships in a positive atmosphere (relaxing music and the smell of essential oils). In addition to wet felting with the hands, we also use wet felting with the feet, which additionally stimulates the basic sensory system.
Target groups for which this activity is intended for:
- children and youth
- children and youth at risk
- children and youth with difficulties (behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual difficulties)
- educational staff
- all those who are interested in learning the technique of wet wool felting e.g. managers (team building).
With this method, students are calmer and their concentration increases. The method positively affects the motor, psychophysical and other abilities of the participants. Likewise, since the wool used is technically “waste”, this method contributes to the environmental awareness of children and youth.
This activity is carried out once a week or month in groups of up to 10 students.
The workshop lasts two and a half hours, with a smaller number of participants (4-6), and the appointments are arranged with the instructors. Participants will learn basic knowledge of the technique of wet felting wool and will make and take home: a mobile phone bag and a fragrant flower.
The method of work was presented at the Meeting of Professional Associates, at the Conference of Social Pedagogues in 2018.
Wet felting workshops have so far been conducted in:
– Fran Franković Elementary School, Rijeka (special class department for students with behavioral disorders, workshops have been conducted for 5 years, 30 students, stronger self-control, better interpersonal relationships, reduction of frustrations)
– Fran Franković Elementary School, Rijeka (regular students who showed interest in felting, 10 students, relaxation, acceptance of diversity and tolerance towards students with difficulties, improving concentration, patience, and focus)
– Sveti Matej Elementary School, Viškovo (special educational group for students with intellectual difficulties, 5 students, relaxation, relationship building, focus, patience)
– Autism Centre Rijeka (4 students, sensory integration, relaxation, interconnection, concentration)
– Centre for providing services in the community Izvor, Selce (half-day workshop for children and youth with behavioural disorders, 20 students, connecting and strengthening mutual relations, quality leisure time, development of entrepreneurship)
– Ivan Mažuranić Elementary School, Novi Vinodolski (special educational group for students with intellectual difficulties, sensory integration, development of patience and concentration, relaxation)
– Ivan Mažuranić Elementary School, Novi Vinodolski (a dozen school employees, mostly teachers, learning the basic knowledge of wet wool felting, which they will pass on to their students in class).