EU programme links Our Lady of Fatima with Europe through culture and inclusion

By Amy Lewis

Flowers were presented to Rita Waters (principal), Glenda McKeown and Melissa Sinnott by Murat Aslan (Turkey), Mario Zoppi (France) and Danielle Lovollee (Italy) with help from Levin Nedic.
Flowers were presented to Rita Waters (principal), Glenda McKeown and Melissa Sinnott by Murat Aslan (Turkey), Mario Zoppi (France) and Danielle Lovollee (Italy) with help from Levin Nedic.
Elaine Gleeson, Darina Gleeson and Fergal O'Hanlon providing some music for the culture night.
Daniel O'Leary and Beverly Sinnott
Sarah Howlin, Sadhbh Maloney and Tracey Kavanagh
Anthony and Sylvia Boyd
Mary Farrelly and Cameron Whitehead
Some of the Italian children enjoying the culture night at Our Lady of Fatima school.
Dylan Farrelly and Nicola Pitman
Coady Flynn and Jake Byrne
Visitors sampling some of the international foods on offer at the culture night at Our Lady of Fatima school.

Children and adults alike enjoyed a medley of diverse music, exotic foods and good conversation at the culture night in Our Lady of Fatima Special School.

The gathering marked the end of a busy week for the school and their European visitors. As part of the Erasmus+ programme, five schools from Italy, Turkey, Germany and France, sent representatives over to spend time with staff and students in the Wexford school. The aim of the initiative, which is the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, is to encourage schools to develop partnerships between six participating organisations.

Teacher and Erasmus+ coordinator in Our Lady of Fatima Glenda McKeown explained what the aim of their involvement is.

'Our main objective is to develop an educational partnership between six schools and focus on inclusion. We are all learning from each other,' she said. 'There are so many different areas where inclusion will be relevant for these students such as in their future schools and in the community. The project is inclusive in itself because it involves children with and without difficulties.'

The Wexford school have partnered with five other schools: College du Sacre Coeur in France, Helen Keller Schule in Germany, Istituto Comprensivo J. Stella in Italy and Murat Secondary School and FVK in Turkey.

Through spending time with staff and students from the five schools, Glenda said that they have learned a lot about the way schools are run elsewhere.

'It is always good to learn more for the good of our students and for the good of ourselves,' she added.

The culture night in the school was one of the many events organised while the visitors were over. Their week-long stay kicked off with a press conference which introduced partners to the students and staff. Cllr Ger Carthy Mayor of Wexford was invited to the special event, as were members of Wexford County Council and representatives from the Board of Management and Parent's Association.

'We invited a lot of people from the community because we want to let people know what's happening. We are involving as many people as possible,' explained Glenda.

Following the conference, the guests were shown around the community, visiting interesting sites such as Johnstown Castle and a local sensory garden. Other activities included shopping in Enniscorthy, horse riding in Duncormick and guitar lessons with David O'Brien.

'The atmosphere in the school was just electric all week,' said Glenda.

Staff and students from Our Lady of Fatima Special School are now looking forward to the next part of the initiative, which will see them pay a visit to a school in Italy in early March.

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