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New Learning Environment: an innovative, more creative and healthier, happier school.
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The teachers from a distant rural school, who lack motivation and satisfaction, ageing teachers, who try to catch up with modern technologies and students’ ICT skills, and the teachers, often overloaded, who struggle for high academic achievements within low performing students and therefore live, work in constant stress, expressed their readiness for changes and willingness to overcome the issues and challenges in nowadays teaching. The project “New Learning Environment: an innovative, more creative and healthier, happier school” is about more effective education through improving teachers' attitudes toward themselves and their teaching methods, through equipping teachers and administration of the school with innovations in teaching and school management, through empowering teaching and learning with creativity and critical thinking, and through creating healthier and happier learning environment for every child and every adult. The source of innovative approaches, creative ideas and examples of better learning environment will be European courses for in-service teachers and a job shadowing activity carefully chosen by the project team leaders and by the participants themselves. The expected learning outcomes relevant to the school’s needs were the most important criteria for choosing the activities, among which will be different courses with various methods, structured school visits, language development course for language teachers, ICT for Math and Science, courses on school management and special education. As the whole project is about improving learning environment and teachers’ involvement it was decided that a job shadowing activity in a Montessori school will be relevant and useful. All the activities are meant to be various and not repeated to have broader impact on school’s staff and students. The participants were chosen on general and specific project relevant criteria. Under the general criteria were chosen the participants first of all willing to participate and share the experience, and with the foreign language level required by the course providers; motivated to commit to educational, school and personal needs; ready and able to disseminate the learning outcomes gained in different courses to wider audience increasing the impact of the project. Also, selecting the participants were taken into account such specific criteria as deeper understanding of the school’s needs, the relevant courses attended in home country, readiness for innovations and creativity, radical changes. The 9 project participants have been chosen so they could represent all subject departments and methods groups in school. The three representatives of the administration and two specialists in special and social education will attend the learning activities according to their appropriateness and vision of the desired solution. These will be such activities as school visits, school management and team building courses, stress prevention and school building improvements. The learning activities were chosen to bring more enthusiasm and readiness for more active involvement into teaching and this will influence the education in general but on a narrower scale - every child. The noticeable impact is expected on the school in a form of possible changes in school management, in curriculum content and the school building as well. The whole community might be inspired and later on will appreciate the teachers' willingness to improve teaching and thus then to have better cooperation and connections between school and the community, which is a key to success in education. Getting European experience and educational practices, establishing new European relationships between the participating organisation and meeting other European teachers concerned about similar issues will make Vainodes secondary school more international and open for further international experiences. The project is going to be a starting point for the next European stage-Erasmus+ KA2. KA1 action will help to find and shape an interesting strategy to work on with potential European partners with common interests and needs for better education. All the three directions chosen for improving teaching and learning in the project will have a strategic and sustainable development in future. The whole project is a start to better and deeper understanding that education must be contemporary and flexible to the needs of our fast developing and changing world.

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