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International Hellenic University Presents Methodological Strategies for Enriching Early Childhood Educators Workplace Environment

In a three-day intensive seminar-conference held from November 3 to November 5, 2023, researchers from the International Hellenic University excelled in presenting their findings on “Methodological Approaches for Improving the Workplace Environment of Early Childhood Educators.” The event, titled the on “Issues in Research Methodology in Social Sciences,” provided a platform for fruitful discussions and knowledge exchange.

The key presenters were Anastasia Vatou and Vasilis Grammatikopoulos from International Hellenic University of Greece. The researchers showcased the ProW project, ” The project focuses on developing evidence-based policies and practices to strengthen the profession, career opportunities, and skills of early childhood educators. Employing mixed methods, the team identified critical focal points for improvement, emphasizing methodologies aimed at enhancing the workplace environment. The research comprised two stages. Initially, a focus group mapped the current needs/problems faced by educators in dealing with undesirable behaviors in children. Anticipated outcomes include an improvement in working conditions for educators, encompassing relationships, work climate, job satisfaction, stress reduction, and an enhancement in the sense of social self-efficacy. The participation of the International Hellenic University researchers in the conference not only contributed valuable insights to the academic community but also provided a platform for networking and collaboration.

6th ProW Transnational Consortium Meeting in Porto, Portugal

On the 4th and 5th of September, the ProW Consortium had its 6th transnational meeting at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at University of Porto, Portugal. With the conclusion of two years of ProW intervention in schools, the team reviewed its accomplishments and challenges and discussed the future dissemination and scalability plans. The event promoted the face-to-face meeting of the research partners with public authorities, allowing the definition of future aims and shared goals.

Our visit to the summer school of POKENY has been successfully completed!

With a focus and concern for the social-emotional development of the student, CARDET and Institute for Development had the opportunity to organize an experiential workshop at the Multipurpose Youth Center of Ypsonas, on July 25, 2023.

The emphasis of the workshop was mainly on children working together to achieve a simple common goal among themselves, set by the children themselves. At the same time, the activity fostered the cultivation of team spirit and the recognition of the importance of working together.

The workshop was coordinated by partners of the ProW project at POKENY during the operation of the summer school. All activities were structured around positive psychology. A day dedicated to cooperative play and guiding children to be able to have empathy and work in teams. While always keeping in mind that the dominant role, in a group, is honest and polite communication.

We are grateful for the invitation we received from POKENY and look forward to another successful collaboration!

Education and Well-being in Focus: IHU Members and ProW Project Team Engage at the 20th Biennial EARLI Conference

Thessaloniki, August 28, 2023 – The International Hellenic University (IHU) and the team behind the ProW project (Promoting Teachers Well-being through Positive Behavior Support in Early Childhood Education – 626146-EPP-1-2020-2-EL-EPPKA3-PI-POLICY) made significant contributions to the 20th Biennial EARLI Conference, hosted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Macedonia, Greece, held from August 22 to 26.

The conference provided an exceptional platform for researchers and professionals across diverse educational domains to converge and deliberate on the theme “Education as a Hope in Uncertain Times.” Notably, the ProW project team organized a symposium titled “Teachers’ Well-being, Social Self-efficacy, Burnout, and Job Satisfaction in Early Childhood Education Across Four Countries,” which garnered substantial interest.

The ProW project team’s symposium aimed to shed light on the critical aspects of teachers’ well-being, burnout, job satisfaction, and social self-efficacy within the context of early childhood education across various nations. The symposium’s insights were derived from comprehensive research and empirical studies conducted in different countries. The symposium not only highlighted the challenges faced by educators but also presented strategies and potential solutions to enhance the overall well-being of teachers.

Participants from the ProW project showcased their research outcomes and exchanged innovative ideas during the conference. By delving into state-of-the-art research in learning and instruction, attendees explored how education can serve as a beacon of hope during uncertain times. The event facilitated the bridging of knowledge gaps and the promotion of research esteem among professionals with interdisciplinary interests.

The collaboration between IHU and the ProW project team not only contributed to the academic dialogue but also underscored the significance of supporting teachers’ well-being and fostering a positive environment in early childhood education. As the conference concluded, its participants left with enriched perspectives, promising strategies, and a reinforced dedication to leveraging education as a force for good in an ever-changing world.

Field Trials of “ProW” Project Successfully Completed

In a significant stride towards promoting the well-being of teachers in early childhood education, our project has successfully concluded its field trials in Cyprus. The completion of this transformative initiative signifies a pivotal step towards enhancing the overall quality of education and support provided to educators.

With meticulous planning and collaboration with educational institutions, the “Promoting Teachers Wellbeing Through Positive Behaviour Support in Early Childhood Education” project embarked on a two-year journey to explore and evaluate the effectiveness of PBS interventions in real-world early childhood education settings.

The successful completion of the field trials has generated widespread excitement and anticipation within the education community and as the “Promoting Teachers Wellbeing through Positive Behaviour Support in Early Childhood Education” project progresses, stakeholders remain committed to further refining and disseminating the knowledge and tools generated.

By prioritizing the well-being of teachers and adopting supportive practices, the project envisions a future where early childhood education environments are nurturing, inclusive, and empowering for both educators and young learners.

To celebrate the achievement, an open-day conference was held on the 27th of May at the University of Nicosia where all interested parties joined together to discuss the impact of the project and future steps. 

The ProW project was invited to the “Mamma Mou” podcast!

In a recent episode of the popular podcast “Mamma Mou,” the host Georgie of Georgie’s Mummy (georgiesmummy.com/mamma-mu-podcast/) welcomed Andri Agathokleous as a special guest to delve into the topic of positive behavior support. The episode offered valuable insights and practical tips for parents and caregivers looking to foster positive behavior in children. As part of the podcast’s mission to support parents, Georgie’s warm and relatable interviewing style created an engaging and informative discussion.

You can find the episode here: https://georgiesmummy.com/mamma-mu-podcast/ with the name Άντρη Αγαθοκλέους/ Θετική συμπεριφορά στην πρώιμη παιδική ηλικία.

Final gathering of ProW intervention in Portugal

After the completion of the ProW intervention sessions in Lousada preschools, the early childhood teachers, along with the teams from University of Porto and from Municipality of Lousada, gathered for a final picnic. It was a pleasant afternoon filled with sharing, happiness, delicious food, and overall well-being! We extend our gratitude to the preschool teachers for all their commitment, active engagement, and cooperation throughout these two years of ProW. May they all enjoy a refreshing Summer!

Learn social skills through play

On Sunday, May 7, 2023, we had the opportunity to meet and play with the children of the Multifunctional Youth Center of Ipsona (POKENY), while exploring their strong characteristics and learning social skills and behaviours.

The workshop was based on positive psychology and undertaken by the local partners of the ProW project, CARDET research centre and Institute of Development. Parents/guardians were guided to explore ways of promoting positive behaviour at home, learning new social skills, and developing their children’s social-emotional aspect. Children applied the new skills on the spot during outdoor sensory-based activities based on the messy play method, such as “waiting my turn”, “cooperating with other children”, or “respecting rules”.

The event was held in collaboration with the Multifunctional Youth Center of Ipsona (POKENY) and Messy Play, Art & Therapy by Hehe in the framework of the 2nd Pancyprian Messy Play Festival in the spacious, open courtyard of the St. Savas Church of Ipsona in Limassol.

ECEC settings’ Celebration Inspires Young Children to Protect the Sea and Planet

In a remarkable display of enthusiasm and dedication, children at the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings from the Muncipality of Kalamaria came together to celebrate a special event focused on the theme of “Protection of the Sea and Planet.” The celebration showcased the commitment of these young minds to preserve the environment and instilled in them a sense of responsibility not only within the classroom but also within the wider community.

The ECEC celebration, took place on 10/06/2023 and proved to be an unforgettable day filled with learning, creativity, and a call to action. Organized by the passionate educators and staff members, the event aimed to raise awareness about the critical importance of protecting the oceans and the planet as a whole.

The children actively participated in various activities and workshops designed to educate them about marine life, the impact of pollution on the oceans, and sustainable practices. Through engaging presentations, interactive displays, and hands-on experiences, the young participants learned about the dire consequences of human actions on the environment and how they can contribute to its preservation.

One of the highlights of the celebration was the exhibition of artwork created by the children, depicting their vision of a sustainable world. These colorful and imaginative pieces showcased their deep understanding of the need for responsible stewardship of the planet. From vibrant drawings of marine creatures to sculptures made from recycled materials, the artistic expressions captured the children’s empathy and desire to make a positive difference.

The celebration culminated with a pledge taken by the children to incorporate responsible practices into their everyday lives, both at the ECEC setting and in their wider communities. They vowed to reduce waste, conserve resources, and educate others about the importance of sustainability. By establishing these values at an early age, the children demonstrated their capacity to become compassionate, informed, and proactive global citizens.

As the celebrations concluded, the children left the ECEC setting with newfound determination and a shared commitment to protect the sea and the planet. Their journey as responsible ocean warriors had just begun, and their impact on the environment and the community is sure to be significant and far-reaching.

Students of the Department of Early Childhood Education and Care become familiar with the ProW program for promoting positive behavior and well-being in early childhood

In the undergraduate courses of “Professional Ethics and Ethical Behavior” and “Social Pedagogy and Interculturalism” within the curriculum of the Department of Education and Care in Early Childhood of IHU, the basic principles of the European program “ProW” were presented to the students. In this context, the students became familiar with the 8 elements of the System for Enhancing Positive Behavior Support in Early Childhood Education (SW-PBS), which aims to prevent and address children’s challenging behaviors in preschool education.

In addition, the students were informed about the five pillars of the PERMA model (Positive Psychology), which represents a contemporary approach to positive psychology and wellbeing. Specifically, the students studied the five pillars of positive psychology, which consist of Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. The PERMA model promotes a positive attitude towards life.