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Charis Charalambous
A series of experiential social-personal development workshops for use with students and adults

Together we can do it better!

location_on Cyprus
The praised collaboration between a caring Elementary School teacher and an experienced SEL Facilitator, for a series of workshops to strengthen the social-emotional skills of a Grade 3 class, became the shield that protected those children from the negative effects of the pandemic and allowed them to stand out, compared to their peers at school, for their group cohesion and personal resilience.
Maria Mavri Neokleous, Elementary School Teacher
"The social-emotional skills these children have acquired have strengthened their resilience and reinforced their ability to cope effectively with challenging real-life situations."

Maria Mavri Neokleous, Elementary School Teacher

Overview

HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Charis Charalambous on July 8th, 2021
Key figures

Innovation Overview

ALL
Target Group
500
Children/Users
1
Country
2019
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
91
Views
Updated on November 10th, 2021
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about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

At the start of the 2019-2020 school year, a caring Elementary School Teacher in Nicosia (Cyprus) identified the need to grow her Grade 3 students' social-emotional and life skills through non-formal learning methods, and invited an enthusiastic Experiential Learning Facilitator to help her achieve this, through a series of regular workshops with the class. A teachers' Handbook was the end-result.

How does your innovation work in practice?

The innovation was presented on HundrED’s website in early June 2020, as an effective SEL response to the Covid-19 pandemic: https://hundred.org/en/innovations/together-we-can-do-it-better

Between October 2, 2019 – June 10, 2020, 11 on-location and 11 online (Zoom) workshops took place with the children. All the activities – energizers, team challenges, discussions, reflective writing – that were done during the workshops, as well as the related activities the class teacher did with the students at the school, in the days between the workshops, are described with detail in the Handbook. Out of the 156 activities described in the Handbook, 102 can be implemented with physical distancing. All the activities can be replicated with easy-to-find materials, including Lego blocks.

In August 2020, the Action received Praise during a National Competition of good practices to prevent violence and promote active citizenship in schools, organized by the ministries of Education and Justice.

How has it been spreading?

The Activities Handbook (in Greek) describing the activities used in the 22 workshops has been promoted to public and private schools, trainers and non-formal learning facilitators, university professors, embassy personnel and other interested individuals (e.g. parents, business managers) in Cyprus. Already, 34 hard copies and 18 pdf copies of the Handbook have been distributed in Cyprus and Greece. It has been welcomed by educators who understand and believe in the value of experiential learning to support the social emotional skills of students.

The Embassy of Finland in Cyprus has also been given a copy, along with a request to have a meeting with the Finnish Ambassador, to discuss the potential for financial support to have the manual translated into English, for wider distribution.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Educators/trainers/team managers who can read Greek and wish to implement the whole series of face-face or online workshops or only selected activities from the Handbook with their audiences (children, youth, adults) may purchase a hard or pdf copy (€10-€15). The Handbook has been registered with an ISBN number.

Contact person: Ms Charis Charalambous, charalca@hotmail.com

Media

See this innovation in action

The 4 pillars of effective communication (observe, listen, share, empathize) using Lego blocks
Getting energized while working together
Reflection by Maria Mavri Neokleous, Elementary School Teacher
At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, I had the opportunity to meet in an experiential workshop the Facilitator/Counseling Psychologist Ms. Charis Charalambous. Her enthusiasm, organization and experiential approach to the development of children's psychosocial skills, prompted me to invite her to collaborate with me in the implementation of her experiential approaches with a 3rd grade class of 25 children in an urban Elementary school in Nicosia.The series of experiential lessons, under the title “Together we can do it better!”, was conducted once a week, as part of the Life Education course in the curriculum and lasted for 80 minutes. The topics of the experiential lessons were chosen after a survey of the needs of the students, through discussion with Ms Charis and various experiential activities. The coordination before and the evaluation during and at the end of each 80-minute lesson, was the trigger for the design of the next one. The topics were always built according to the needs of the students as they arose in the previous lesson. The response of the students was always spectacular. The children were encouraged and applied these skills in their daily lives, and when the pandemic (March 2020) forced us into home confinement, these children continued their experiential games online.When they returned to school in May 2020, they were happy, within boundaries and they quickly recovered the lost ground. At home the families embraced this program with great enthusiasm and supported it throughout the school year. The parents stated through questionnaires that were given to them that the skills the children learned in school were very helpful for them.Unfortunately, during this school year (2020-2021), the restrictions of the pandemic did not allow this intervention program to continue. Nevertheless, rotating teachers, who knew these children and taught them a lesson during the previous school year, stated that these children stood out as a whole because of their self-control and good behavior. They found that last year's action had borne fruit, since this group of children stood out from the rest of their peers and they knew this because as rotating teachers they had the opportunity to enter many classes and make comparisons. I firmly believe that such actions, if they existed even from kindergarten, would help children to cultivate their emotional intelligence and other social skills, so that the learning process comes effortlessly and normally. Interpersonal relationships are of great concern to children and their ineffective treatment affects the learning process. These children asked every time they saw me to convey their love to Ms. Charis and how they waited for her to continue their experiential lessons. This, in my opinion, demonstrates the degree of success of this intervention program. If I had the opportunity this year, I would have continued my collaboration with Ms. Charis, because both I and other colleagues have seen in practice the positive effect of her work on students. Because of the pandemic and the mandatory lockdowns, the social-emotional skills these children have acquired have strengthened their resilience and reinforced their ability to cope effectively with challenging real-life situations. Maria Mavri NeokleousElementary School TeacherJune 22, 2021mmavrineokle@gmail.com
Discussing what a tree and what a child need to grow and be happy
Reflective writing from student about his experience in the workshops
Reflective writing from student about her experience in the workshops
Drawing made by student about her experience in the workshops
Article published on Paideia News website, May 2020
https://paideia-news.com/ekpaideysi/2020/05/18/empeiries-apo-prosfates-tilediaskepseis-me-paidia-tis-g%E2%80%99-dimotikoy/

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

July 2021
Innovation page created on HundrED.org
September 2020
Activities Handbook published
August 2020
Praise in National Competition of best practices to reduce violence and promote active citizenship in public schools
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Spread of the innovation

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Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Sample of the Handbook (Greek)
These are the first 15 pages (and the last page) of the Activities Handbook (pdf version)
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02
Handbook Introduction and Outline (English)
Translation in English of the Handbook's Introduction and Outline
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03
Online energizing and team-building activities (in English)
Sample of activities done with children during the online SEL workshops
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