ID of the school
Name of the School: APISAL – Associação Pró-Infância Santo António de Lisboa
Number of pupils: 443 in the whole school, 243 pupils in pre-primary education
The vision of the school
APISAL is a non-profit school (IPSS) offering services of nursery (98 children, 5 early years’ teachers, 11 assistants), pre-school (145 children, 6 early years’ teachers, 6 assistants) and primary school (200 children, 8 teachers, 8 assistants).
Following the increase of diverse nationalities in the neighbourhood APISAL has been involved in several projects approaching diversity and integration, namely INTESYS. Leadership and staff have been willing to develop a participatory, intercultural pedagogical approach in order to respond to diverse children, families and communities.
Their involvement in the VALUE project already resulted in bringing together teachers and assistants around the description of the vision of the school.
Children, families, school staff and community are the key actors in the vision of the school. Their diversity is to be welcomed and included through the creation of an environment that promotes and facilitates relationships, sharing, active listening, dialogue, cooperation. Respect, solidarity and inclusion are core values in the vision of the school.
The school environment
The school is located in a highly diverse neighbourhood in the city centre of Lisbon, considered “the most multicultural neighbourhood in Portugal”. The school responds mainly to the local population, presently welcoming 24 different nationalities among children and families.
It is surrounded by various facilities, from commercial businesses and shops to municipal and state offices, as well as private business offices. It is located in a main traffic road of the city and is well served by public transports. This makes APISAL an important education and community resource to support families and children.
VALUE learning lab
The leadership of the school works together with the pedagogical coordinators (two teachers among the staff) and the coaches of the VALUE project in the creation of consistent environments to support the assistants´ CPD paths, as well as to support meetings between teachers and assistants, as a support to CPD follow-ups and to reflect on the contextualization of a participatory, collaborative and intercultural pedagogical approach.
The 17 assistants working in nursery and pre-school make all part of the project, meeting with the coaches on a fortnightly basis. The 11 teachers working in nursery and pre-school are also part of the project, meeting with the coaches and the assistants on a quarterly basis.
The leadership of the school, the pedagogical coordinators, the teachers and the assistants have been prompted to enable the involvement of families, children and other staff in the school life and learning, as to generate belonging and collaboration.
The aims of the VALUE project – developing a collaborative approach; valuing diversity; creating quality responses to diversity – echo the assistants’ expectations of developing team work (mainly between teachers and assistants), improving the communication with children and families of diverse nationalities, developing sensitive and supportive interactions with the diverse children, as to create educare quality responses.
They also share as their expectations the opportunity to learn, to improve their practices, and to have their professional identity recognised by the leadership, teachers and families.