The first ELENA teacher training kicks off in Hungary bringing educators together to incorporate live animals in the classroom.
7-8-9 May 2015: The participating teachers started their 3 day exploration into the ways live animals can become part of classroom routine. The 3 Hungarian modules focusing on wolves, dogs, earthworms and ants provided them with a great variety of tools and methods to be tested after returning home to their schools and classes. The action packed training offered the participants numerous hands on activities with the support and guidance of experts specializing in the field.
The first day mainly focused on wolves so the the Szeged Zoo (the venue of the training) proved to be an exellent location with all its sounds and the beautiful setting. In the afternoon session Szilvia Juhász-Gőz, the zoopedagogist of the Szeged Zoo, conducted a fascinating activity about wolves in general,with a special focus on their senses, their social skills and their habitat. It led to the issue of the reapperance of wolves in Hungary which initiated a sparking discussion in the ELENA role play about the return of these large predators.
The second day started with a short trip to a nearby forest with the support of Dr László Gallé, professor of the University of Szeged, who helped the group to get familiar with the ants, their feeding habits and defensive mechanism. Going outside gave the chance to discuss the ways outdoor activities can be linked to the curriculum and loads of new ideas came up regarding good practices and optional add on games to link to the existing ELENA activities. In the afternoon the Interactive Science Lab hosted the ELENA team where they had a short guided tour led by Dr György Ilosvay and also could take part in some ant and earthworm related activities that students would enjoy as well.
The third day challenged the teachers DIY skills as they faced the task of building an earthworm habitat from the given material followed by a little housewarming party for the tenants of the new „homes”. The topic of earthworms opened up the large territory of waste management and its connection to entrepreneurship education. Finally in the afternoon came the height of the day, the dog assisted activities led by Erika Köböl and Julianna Berta-Nagy and their partners Alba and Kópé. The playful activities helped a lot to understand the dogs communication, behaviour and the endless ways they can enhance the effectiveness of classroom activities.
The participants left the training filled with new inspirations and experiences and eager to share their newly acquired knowledge with their colleagues and of course the main target group of ELENA, the students.