Spring into action

6th February 2004 at 00:00
Ten new countries will join the European Union on May 1, and three other countries are preparing for membership. Spring Day in Europe gives schools and colleges the opportunity to debate and celebrate the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 25 member states. Thousands of schools will take part in Spring Day on and around March 23. It is a unique event for European pupils to learn about their neighbours and make their voices heard in the debate on key European issues. All schools in EU member states, acceding countries and candidate countries are invited to join in. They are supported through the Spring Day website (http:futurum2004.eun.org).

Packed with news, country fact files and teaching resources, the site also offers the opportunity to link up across national boundaries and to work together with other schools in real life and via the internet. A central activity is the values project, which invites schools to take real action in their communities on values such as peace and democracy.

More than 5,500 schools took part in Spring Day in Europe last year.

Leading national and European politicians went back to school and an array of debates, activities and celebrations took place.

How to join in

Schools planning to take part in an activity should register on the Spring Day website. Almost 2,000 schools have already done so. All registered schools that send a summary of their event or make a substantial contribution to Spring Day in Europe will receive a certificate.

European Schoolnet (www.eun.org) and the European team of advisors have put together ideas to help teachers organise successful activities on the future of Europe.

UK schools also have their own information page

(http:futurum2004.eun.orguk). Participation can be in any form, such as meetings, debates, competitions, quizzes, twinning schools, cultural or heritage activities, developing country fact files and news items. Linking to schools in the candidate countries is also possible. It is a great opportunity to learn more about new countries and the enlargement of the EU. For more details contact Brigitte Parry.Email: brigitte.parry@eun.org

EU member states and candidates

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK.

The 10 new member states are: Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

The three candidate countries are: Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

Websites

European Schoolnet also manages Zap - a password-protected website where pupils can chat, share links and files, and much more.

www.zap.eun.org The Safer Internet site features Sizone, the safer internet zone for children, and information about online safety.www.safer-internet.net

Activities

Some examples being promoted on the Spring Day website include:

* Spotlight - learning about Europe through local treasures, creating a letter or mini travel guide to encourage overseas visitors, rewriting and illustrating a tale or legend about water, and creating a symbol for an enlarged Europe.

* Values - an activity that puts the ethical pillars of an enlarged Europe into action, with activities and online discussion about peace, democracy, freedom, equality, solidarity and tolerance.

* Together in Europe - an interactive activity that aims to match schools in pairs (one from the EU and one from a new member state or a candidate country) to work together on a topic.

* Partner-finding forum - a section where teachers can talk to each other about what they will be doing on Spring Day (http:futurum2004.eun.orgcontactpartner_forum.cfm).

* Chat and video-conferencing - to join email: petru.dumitru@eun.org. For safety reasons, the chat rooms are accessible by invitation only.

Karl Donert is International Research Fellow at Liverpool Hope University College and UK advisor for Spring Day 2004. Email: donertk@hope.ac.uk

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