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SigNature - Nature as a non-formal learning environment
Start date: Apr 1, 2015, End date: Oct 1, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

CONTEXT and the OBJECTIVES of the project SigNature - nature as a non-formal learning "tool" is a training course, where the healthy behavior and lifestyle through the promotion of the practice of outdoor activities, herbs knowledge and natural lifestyle principles is promoted. Main aim of the project is to provide greater understanding of interconnections between formal and non-formal education by using natural resources and activities in nature as a non-formal learning environment within the educational process. Main output of this project is the Manual for the schools to use the nature and its resources within the educational process and create the non-formal learning atmosphere. Manual for the schools was implemented to the educational process as a “Pilot action” in rural Primary school of I.B. Zoch in Revuca and Community center in Revuca on 6th day of the training course. Educators from both institutions were asked to use this manual during one education lesson with the kids while all participants of the course were carefully observing situation and all circumstances of the lesson. Important was also feedback from the pupils and educators. After that was “Pilot action” reflected and Manual for the schools was improved according to needs of these institutions. Within this project focus was put on: - getting to know each other on all levels (inter-cultural learning, nature connection building, exchange of practices) - non - formal learning methods recognition (participation, inclusion) - practicing specific non-formal learning tools within the nature (eg coaching, hiking, herbal knowledge, supporting learning processes) - fostering follow-up projects THE WORKING METHODS The methods used will be from the toolbox of non-formal learning, with strong elements of learning by doing, peer support and peer learning. The methods are specified as following: Ice breaking games, Energizers, Interviews, Role plays, Group building activities, Group works, Motivational competitions, Flip chart usage- summarizing and creating the overview, Good practice examples, Exchange of experience, Brainstorming, Self-representation, Presentations, Steaming groups, Individual sessions ( learning diary) PROJECT PARTNERS COUNTRIES In order to provide the variety of approaches and different aspects of nature knowledge there were 25 youth workers from different "corner" of the Europe - starting from western EU to eastern EU - Portugal, Italy, Slovakia, Finland, Romania. Together five civil society organization from rural areas and small cities met at the beginning of summer 2015 for 9 working days in national park Muranska Planina, to build up the tool for the rural schools in order to develop more attractive educational process in the nature in order to prevent early school leavers according the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The participants, who have special connection to the nature, because they are from rural areas, had an important role in order to provide the exchange of experience and good practices examples. Each project countries had a different role to introduce their system and to create the common output - the Manual for the schools containing activities for non-formal education in the nature focusing on herbs, its importance and use - with the name Our SigNature. KEYWORDS/TAGS: healthy behavior and lifestyle, outdoor activities, non-formal education, attractive educational process, EUROPE 2020 Strategy, networking, cross-border co-operation, regional co-operation, capacity building of youth organisations, youth initiatives VENUE & DATES National park Muranska Planina - one of the most excluded regions in Slovakia Date: 31.5.2015 - 8.6. 2015 RESULTS/ OUTPUTS 1x Our SigNature - Manual for rural schools in using nature as a non-formal learning environment. 1x traning course 25 trained youth workers coming from rural areas and small cities 1 effective network with real European outreach 2 study visit and implementation of the Manual in the rural school of Muranska Planina and Community center in Muranska Planina

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