School fol All.

Everyone's School

Everyone's School is a partnership project between CEDAPS (www.cedaps.org.brExternal site.)) and the Inter American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development (www.iidi.orgExternal site.). It is an integrated approach to promoting health and inclusion in schools. It aims at creating a movement of children and schools that embrace diversity, are committed to the principles of education for all and who become active promoters of health and inclusion in their communities as a strategy for a more inclusive and equanimous society.

Everyone's School started in 2006 involving professionals from various sectors and institutions as well as schools, teachers and students from the public education network, Ministry of Education and Local Education authorities (municipal and state levels) in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Montevideo; as well as various civil society organizations, school health specialists and representatives of disabled people organizations. In this way, all the elaboration Guide happened it with the contribution of the Consulting Board of the School of All.

Principles

The main principles of Everyone's School are that the everyday practice of teachers and their participation, as well as the engagement of students in the school's daily life can communicate positive messages about inclusion, health and citizenship. The initiative offers tools that can assist practical and tangible changes in the school environment and life, facilitating children and teachers to become promoters of health and inclusion in their communities.

Inclusive and Healthy Schools

In the Latin American and Caribbean region, where 60% of school children come from families that live below the poverty line (CEPAL, UNESCO and others), the definition of "special needs" needs to be re-signified. Most schools in deprived areas (and consequently children attending these schools) are burdened with social stigma. They often lack a place in society were they can participate in a positive way. There is a widespread belief that "things won't change", while cultural barriers inhibit young people from having an active role in improving the quality of life of their communities.

Inclusive education should not be a separate strategy. In Everybody's School, inclusive approaches contribute to quality education for all, leveraging on existing strategies whilst avoiding overwhelming teachers and schools with yet another separate set of objectives and activities. It also contributes to life skills learning and developing healthy school settings.

To build an everybody's school, it is necessary to facilitate the social and educational inclusion of all children. All children and not only those with a cognitive or sensorial handicap have "special needs" and learn at their own specific pace. All are at risk of being excluded if the environment is not equipped to address diversity and complexity in the classroom.

Inclusive education strategies give young people the means to express their needs, develop their abilities and make their own contributions to society.

Everyone's School builds on the wisdom of disadvantaged schools, communities and individuals to turn their experience and resilience into inclusive action.

Everyone's School Manifesto

Between June and December 2008 the Everyone's School program team and partners will facilitate a process of consultations with specialists and organizations to decide on a set of priorities and key indicators to provide the foundation of a commitment for those participating in the initiative. The objectives included in this commitment will form a manifesto to be signed by all those organizations, schools and individuals that wish to be part in the Everyone's School Movement for better education and healthier and more inclusive societies.

Children's Participation

Participation of students, parents, teachers and school administrators contributes to addressing all these difficulties and challenges. Ultimately, the future of any strategy aimed at achieving this depends on the actual school community (teachers, students and families) becoming active participants and promoters of inclusive principles and actions. Here, participation is a mean to generate changes and build up a new situation; to change the school as well as the people whose lives are connected to it. Such Participation is focused on producing new knowledge and skills and on contributing to teachers' practice by

  1. Promoting to quality education through inclusive action
  2. Strengthening the School Institutional Project by supporting innovative approaches to curriculum development and improving teachers practice
  3. Strengthening the link between school, parents and community
  4. Generating new opportunities for participation so children and parents engage in learning and improving the living conditions in the community.
  5. Understanding, expanding, documenting and disseminating inclusive practices in school and community life.
  6. Identification of and outreach to children who are excluded (or at risk of being excluded) from their schools or communities because their personal, social or cultural characteristics.

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