The Success of the Educational Innovation Day at Areteia School

Since the first edition, the objective of the Areteia School Educational Innovation Day has been to share experiences and raise awareness about reality for pupils who need special attention – pupils whose needs the traditional school is still yet to understand. Just like in previous years, this year’s event, which was held on the 5th of March, was a complete success.

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In 2012, the first Educational Innovation conference took place, focusing on three of the most common profiles at Areteia School: adoption, dyslexia and ADHD. At the following event, the main topic was the importance of the early detection of ADHD. Last year, the event was dedicated to analysing the reality of failure versus success in schools. And finally, at last month’s conference participants reflected on inclusion in schools, and the value of each and every member of the educational community as active participants in society.

More than 120 professionals attended this Educational Innovation Day, a clear example of the level of interest in both the topic and the event speakers. The event was attended by great industry professionals, and supported by the experience of the Committee for Inclusive Education (UAM_UAH), other schools in which inclusion is also one of the central pillars of their educational project, and the presence of other groups which are most excluded by the current system.

The Educational Innovation Day began after a few words of welcome from D. Luis García Carretero, Headmaster of Areteia School, and D. Sergio González Andión, Managing Director of NACE Schools. The president of the Schools Board for the Autonomous Community of Madrid, Rafael Carbonell Peris, displayed his vocation for teaching in the field of special education, and his commitment to inclusion.

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Following this, D. Gerardo Echeita, from the Autonomous University of Madrid, representing the Committee for Inclusive Education, talked about the ideological and philosophical basis of inclusion in schools as part of the understanding of human beings and their relationship with their surroundings. In addition, before the first break, pupils in the 2nd year of Basic Level Vocational Training at Areteia School, and their tutor Ms. Carmen Valdivieso, presented the charities which the 1st ESO pupils are collaborating with on the EcoSchool Project (UNICEF, Más por Ellos and Fundación Isabel Gemio).

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After the break, D. Luis Carretero continued the Educational Innovation Day by sharing Areteia School’s thirty-six years of experience within the framework of inclusion. Similarly, the World of the Gifted and Talented Foundation and president Ms. Carmen Sanz Chacón, talked to us about the Foundation’s work in the identification and guidance of gifted and talented children in a context of misunderstanding and social and school rejection. Before lunch, Gaudem School explained its model of combined education as a tool for inclusion, and Brot Madrid School described a classroom project about the concept of speed, in which the pupils’ participation and the creation of interesting, motivational and exciting schools have had a decisive impact on success in schools.

In the afternoon, D. Víctor Rodríguez Muñoz, responsible for the Education Area of FUHEM Education, talked to us about the history of FUHEM, his ideas about education, and his experience of inclusion of pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder through the model of integrated special needs education, and the collaboration agreement with Aleph-TEA. To bring this section of presentations to an end, Nuevo Velázquez School talked about the issue of approaching ADHD from a multidisciplinary point of view.

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Following this, Mc. Cecilia de Juana García, teacher, educator and Head of Studies at Areteia School, chaired the round table in which Plena Inclusión Madrid, Madrid con la Dislexia, FEAADAH and la Asociación Asperger de Madrid took part. The Educational Innovation Day came to an emotional end with a song called Un paso más by Asturian singer-songwriter Pipol Prendes, which was performed by Claudia Pérez Arroyo, 2nd Baccalaureate pupil at Areteia School and daughter of the artist, and D. Luis García Carretero, School Headmaster.

The 4th Educational Innovation day was a resounding success in terms of participation, attendance, and the satisfaction of those who experienced it. Making our schools more inclusive is the challenge we share, and one which moves our projects forward day after day.

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