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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Devoted to Selling Inclusion in Greece: Major 24 College’s Story


Teacher students showing their support for Special Olympics and holding a Special Olympics branded flag.

Nikoleta (proper) and her college students present their assist for Particular Olympics

As an educator and coach, Nikoleta is devoted to serving youth in her hometown of Patras, Greece. Throughout the day, Nikoleta is a bodily schooling instructor at Major College 24, and after faculty, she’s a swim coach for Particular Olympics Hellas.

Till just lately, Nikoleta’s two roles as a instructor and Particular Olympics coach have been separated from one another. Like many international locations around the globe, most college students with mental disabilities (ID) in Greece are enrolled in numerous faculties than these with out ID. As somebody who works with younger folks each with and with out ID, Nikoleta acknowledged the divide between her pupils of various skills.

24 students arrange themselves and their backpacks to form a pictogram of the Special Olympics logo and the word 'Unified'

Major 24 college students use themselves and their backpacks to make a pictogram of the Particular Olympics emblem and the phrase “Unified”

When Particular Olympics Hellas knowledgeable Nikoleta about Play Unified: Study Unified, she realized the potential it needed to bridge the obstacles between youth of various skills in her neighborhood. Nikoleta satisfied her faculty to hitch the venture as a Unified College, which brings collectively younger folks with and with out ID by sport and academic actions.

As a Unified College, Nikoleta and her colleagues have partnered with academics and college students from two close by particular schooling faculties. College students at these three faculties play collectively and go to one another’s lecture rooms. Although they’re neighbors, for most of the college students, collaborating in Unified Faculties was their first time interacting with each other.

Faces of Inclusion: Patras, Greece – Pupil Reward

College students made their very own handprints and named the handprints with their identify and the scholars from the Patras. They gave it as a present with customized messages.


A few of these guests to Major 24 are Particular Olympics Hellas athletes that Nikoleta trains in swimming. She says it’s rewarding to see how they’re embraced by her main faculty college students. “A number of occasions, my athletes have visited and shared details about their life and experiences,” she says. “All of us play collectively and when the sport is over, all the scholars are flooded with lovely experiences and feelings,” Nikoleta provides.

Since changing into a Unified College, college students at Major 24 (with the help of Nikoleta) have unfold consciousness about inclusion and ID. By means of entire faculty “challenges,” they provide you with artistic actions that promote Particular Olympics Hellas. These challenges have included making large-scale pictograms of the Particular Olympics emblem, organizing Unified bocce matches and adorning Particular Olympics Hellas banners for nationwide and worldwide competitions.

As a Unified College, college students at Major 24 have embraced studying extra about Particular Olympics and befriending folks with ID. Adriana and Peter, two of Nikoleta’s fifth grade college students, imagine that collaborating in Play Unified: Study Unified has improved their lives. “I used to be very nervous to go to a particular schooling faculty at first, however I’m so blissful that I performed [with the students], says Adriana. “My mother and father say it’s good for me to satisfy new pals and perceive that we’re all totally different, however we’re all folks,” she provides.

Faces of Inclusion: Patras, Greece – First Interplay with the Particular Schooling College

I used to be actually nervous [going to a special education school] as a result of it was my first time. I am so blissful now. It is good as a result of we be taught new issues from others. We’re making new pals. They’re simply children like us.


Peter says that collaborating in Particular Olympics has helped with bullying at college. “Prior to now, [our class] was combating after we play video games,” Peter says. “Now, we’re extra type and well mannered amongst one another, and we don’t argue over unimportant issues,” he provides.

Different academics have additionally observed a big change of their college students’ attitudes since Major 24 grew to become a Unified College.

“Our college students have discovered to just accept the scholars from the particular schooling faculties and perceive their wants,” says Konstantinos, a Major 24 instructor. “This Unified College mannequin teaches our youth tips on how to work with one another. We be taught and play collectively, and I’m very pleased with them,” he provides.

Teacher and students engaged in creating a banner for Special Olympics Hellas athletes.

Nikoleta (middle) and a few of her college students take part within the exercise of making a banner for Particular Olympics Hellas athletes to make use of on the Particular Olympics World Video games Berlin

Being a Unified College has even helped the best way academics instruct their college students. Ioanna, an artwork instructor at Major 24, says it opened her eyes how faculties might be absolutely inclusive, college students simply want the precise assist. “Each little one has their very own means of studying,” says Ioanna. With this angle [of inclusion], college students with disabilities don’t must be separate and needs to be included with everybody else,” she says.

Major 24 is a mannequin of how being a Unified College can change a neighborhood of learners and educators for the higher. Though it’s going to take greater than Play Unified: Study Unified to make faculties across the nation absolutely inclusive, the efforts of those leaders of inclusion in Patras are exhibiting others how the concept of inclusion could be a rewarding expertise for college students of all skills. “We nonetheless have a protracted approach to go, however we imagine that we’re on the street to inclusion,” Nikoleta says.



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