Ensuring that all learners can reach their maximum potential, regardless of their disabilities, is primarily achieved through inclusive education. A group of educational organizations from different countries (Italy, Belgium, France and Croatia) has come together to emphasize the importance of storytelling in promoting diversity, empowering young learners, and promoting inclusion. This article delves into the specifics of their project, including its objectives, target audience, motivation, and benefits.
At the center of the European Education Area is inclusive education, which prioritizes the right of all learners to receive quality and inclusive education. One important aspect of inclusivity is ensuring that students with disabilities are able to succeed and reach their full potential. Literature, such as books and stories, can be a powerful tool for promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity in the classroom. To address the need for representation, the consortium is undertaking a project to create a collection of inspiring stories that accurately depict characters with disabilities. The motivation behind this project is rooted in the participating organizations' dedication to inclusive education and their recognition of the absence of characters with disabilities in children's literature. The project's goal is to provide accurate representation and positive portrayals of disabilities to promote identification and understanding among pupils with disabilities and encourage shared experiences with others.
The main goal is to help students feel a sense of belonging, improve their self-esteem, and provide them with relatable role models. This project is targeted towards young primary school students between the ages of 6 and 10 who have disabilities such as specific learning disorders, hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, chronic illnesses, and autism. Additionally, primary school teachers and educational professionals who work directly with students with disabilities are an important focus of this project.
The objectives of the project are cohesive and interconnected. It aims to support young learners in building self-assurance and self-respect by gathering success stories that resonate with them. By emphasizing ability and disability, the project strives to enhance inclusivity and diversity in classrooms and promote the growth of key competencies and foundational skills, such as literacy and digital skills. Through these objectives, the project addresses the learning challenges faced by pupils with disabilities and reduces the likelihood of early school dropouts.
The project will produce various resources to promote inclusion and empower learners, including a guidebook for teachers with practical strategies to boost the confidence and self-esteem of pupils with disabilities, an e-book collection of inspiring stories featuring role models with disabilities, and a tool for teachers to create success stories with their students. The goal is to use the power of storytelling to empower young learners, promote inclusion, and celebrate diversity, while addressing the needs of learners with disabilities and providing practical tools for teachers. The project aims to have a lasting impact on education by fostering inclusive practices and ensuring that every learner can thrive and reach their full potential through transnational cooperation.