Widespread School

Widespread School is an Erasmus+ project led by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and funded by the European Union with the aim of providing higher quality education in 4 European countries.

The EU school system is characterized by a variety of pedagogical approaches, teaching and learning environments, but many educational systems rely primarily on conventional tools such as textbooks, standardized curricula, and traditional exam-based assessments. Not all teachers have the tools to build positive, creative and democratic learning opportunities. 

The OECD's analysis on Innovative Learning Environments, explores the hypothesis on how educational systems would be more effective if they ensured non-frontal, collaborative, student-centered teaching and learning techniques, able to promote activities inside and outside school. 

From the needs analysis, did indeed emerge the need for schools to innovate instructional approaches in collaboration with other learning environments in the community, based on the understanding that education is a shared responsibility that requires the commitment of all actors involved in the educational process.

To date, however, teachers and educators often lack methodological guidelines and easy-to-use tools to implement innovative initiatives based on the EOC approach in their daily work. School leaders and educational policy makers highlighted the scarcity of exchange opportunities with other educational actors, and the consequent lack of knowledge regarding the value of the EOC approach. Finally, the general need emerged to broaden the dialogue at European level on EOC practices and to work on more structured initiatives, in order to improve educational practices and academic research.

The first meeting of the Widespread School project in Reggio Emilia from December 13 to 15, 2023

Through the EOC - Education Outside Classroom - approach, the Widespread School project aims to improve the quality of Primary and Secondary School education in the four cities involved in the Project: Reggio Emilia (Italy), Espoo (Finland), Zadar (Croatia), Girona (Spain).

The primary beneficiaries of the project are primary and secondary school teachers, school leaders, educators, and education policy makers, who will be involved in activities aimed to foster innovation in didactic. Students are indirect beneficiaries and are involved by their teachers during the experimentation of educational proposals developed by project partners.

The project also aims to support the 4 territories in adopting innovative experiences in schools, through the involvement of policy makers.

The partners involved will engage in full synergy in achieving the specific objectives of the project: the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and the University of Girona will lead the methodological research; Reggio Children Foundation and Saunalahti School (Espoo - Finland), will lead the co-planning pathway for the development of educational proposals in a dimension of curricular activities outside school environments and the strengthening of teachers' skills; the City of Zadar in Croatia and the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, supported by E35 Foundation, will focus on raising awareness on innovative teaching methods. Finally, the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Carme Auguet School in Girona will curate the evaluation of the project.

The project consists of the following activities:

  1. Technical and financial management;
  2. Research activities and methodological analysis on initiatives, practices and pedagogical approaches on the EOC approach at European and international level;
  3. Activation of a pathway for co-designing educational proposes focused on the EOC and professional development for teachers and educators on the EOC approach; 
  4. Involvement of policy makers to raise awareness about the importance of innovating school curricula;
  5. Communication, dissemination and impact evaluation.

The three-year project started in September 2023 and will end in August 2026. December 13th, 2023 was held the launch event in Reggio Emilia: a conference followed by local visits on Widespread School and on the the "Widespread School" experience initiated by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia as a response to the pandemic emergency.

The project aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Analysis report on the Education Outside the Classroom approach, containing European and international initiatives and good practices, as well as a literature search of available pedagogical approaches on the topic.
  2. Realization of a toolbox (guidelines and materials), to support teachers and educators in educational innovation through the introduction of educational proposes based on the Education Outside the Classroom approach.
  3. Organization of an international training on the Toolbox addressed to 25 teachers/educators from primary and secondary schools in the 4 partner countries - Italy, Spain, Croatia, Finland.
  4. Realization of local workshops to discuss with policy makers, teachers, educators, school principals about enabling and limiting factors (regulatory, legal, political) with respect to the implementation of Education Outside the Classroom approaches in their contexts of reference.
  5. Development of policy recommendations on the added value of Education Outside the Classroom pedagogical approaches.
  6. Organization of national dissemination workshops and a final event in Brussels.
  7. Development of a website to make the toolbox and other project results accessible to school stakeholders at European and international levels.

4 cities

involved

5 international meetings

on the projects

25 teachers

selected for the training

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