Teachers from Estonia, France, Portugal, Romania and Turkey arrived on 15th April 2018 in Kaunas, Lithuania to participate at the Second learning, teaching and training activity meeting within the Erasmus + KA219 Small Scientists Across Europe Project (2017-1-FR01-KA219-037465). At the host school Kauno lopšelis – darželis „Giliukas”, Mrs. Jolanta Gaučienė, project coordinator from Lithuania and Mrs. Jūrate Stakeliūnienė, the school’s headmaster welcomed the teachers from partner countries: Ecole Maternelle Tordo in France (project coordinator) and another 5 kindergartens in Europe such as Lasteaed Põngerjas in Narva - Estonia, Kindergarten No. 3 Bistrita and Kindergarten Scornicesti - Romania and Huma Hatun Ozel Egitim Anaokulu from Yildirim - Turkey.
During the opening ceremony, the Lithuanian children surprised the participants with songs and dances specific to each of the countries present in the project. We were presented the Lithuanian educational system and when visiting the school and classrooms we observed that some of the groups adopted the R. Steiner pedagogy (Waldorf) and almost half the children have special education needs and the school offered a very well adapted environment for them.
For the remainder of the day, the guests visited the Old City of Kaunas and were introduced to many historical landmarks such as Kaunas Cathedral Basilica, Kaunas city museum, Vytautas' the Great Church of the Assumption of The Holy Virgin Mary, House of Perkūnas, St. Francis Xavier Church & Jesuit Monastery, Church of St. George Church and the Kaunas Castle.
On Tuesday, 17th April 2018, we had the opportunity to visit the Astronomical Observatory in Molėtai and get information about achievements of the world and Lithuanian astronomy, take a look at the telescopes and their equipment and also participate at a lecture, illustrated by wonderful photographs of various sky objects: planets, stars, nebulas, star clusters and galaxies, accompanied by space music. During the visit to Molėtai we found many historic information about this small city, the important families that lived in this area and visited ruins in the area. By climbing the 214 stairs of the observation tower in Labanoras Regional Park we observed the sights of the Lakajai landscape reserve and a picturesque panorama of Lake Siesartis with its islands and the famous Labanoras Forest.
On Wednesday, during the working sessions, the partners were divided into 2 groups and participated in many interactive activities with the children: painting, sculpting, drawing, conducting experiments, and so on. The project coordinators from each country had a different working session allocated to them in the second part of the meeting at school. In the afternoon, all the guests visited Curiocity (City for curios kids), a place of surprises for both children up to 13 years and their parents.
On Thursday, the working sessions continued, and the partners, divided into groups participated at inter and transdisciplinary activities that integrated science activities (experiments) with art (painting, drawing etc.), physical or sensory activities using S. Kneipp methodology and sound therapy. The project coordinators met a second time and discussed aspects of the projects such as: the experiments to be done on the second theme of the project – Air, details regarding the creation of the stories about air, puzzles and the timetable for activities.
In the afternoon, the hosts prepared a travel with the oldest means of transport Žaliakalnis funicular to visit the Church of the Resurrection of Christ and also Pažaislis Culture and Tourism Center.
In the last day of the meeting, we visited Kaunas Special Needs School, a school for children with special educational needs (movement and disability). The work sessions for partners involved exchanging information about site of the project and discussing particular data about eTwinning. The project coordinators shared ideas to plan the next meetings (Transnational – Turkey and Learning, Teaching or Training Activities Meeting - Estonia) and other logistics issues. The working day finished with the delivery of diplomas and certificates.
We want to thank the Lithuanian partners (children, teachers, coordinator and school headmaster) for the exchange of good practices, extraordinary and interesting activities presented, all the happy moments and their hospitality.