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Pressley Ridge Hungary has been nominated for the SozialMarie prize

Austria, Hungary, 23.3.2012 14:05, (ROMEA)

The complex educational project of Pressley Ridge Hungary is among is among the 32 nominated projects for the SozialMarie prize. The aim of SozialMarie is to make innovative social ideas known to a broad public and to support networking between socially innovative projects. Award winning projects are to inspire replication and to incite further development of their ideas.

In 2012 SozialMarie will honour social innovation for the eighth time 'round. Between 32 nominated project there are: five from Hungary, three from the Czech Republic, one from Slovakia and another from Croatia – all others are Austrian submissions. The 15 actual award winning projects and the winners of the audience award will be announced only on 1st of May at the Award Ceremony.

Between 28th of February and 26th of March you have the possibility to choose your favorites submitted to SozialMarie in 2012. Click onAudience Award and vote!

Pressley Ridge is a non-profit organization founded in 1832,which provides an array of services to keep children and families together so that youths with challenging behaviors can remain in their homes, schools and communities. Pressley Ridge offers innovative programs in USA and internationally, in Hungary and Portugal.

Judit Szentirmai, director of operations fromPressley Ridge Hungary introduce their moninated project called: Towards Successful and Productive Living – with School Children in a Socially Deprived Neighborhood of Győr:

With what intention the project was established and to whom the project has helped?
Aim of the project is to implement Pressley Ridge complex educational program for successful and productive living in Kossuth Lajos Elementary School in Győr. The project provides effective and innovative help and services to children with serious emotional, learning and behavior difficulties, and with disadvantaged social background. The institution serves disadvantaged children with special educational needs. Their life is usually associated with concepts as: deficient socio-cultural competencies, poverty, bad living conditions, unemployment etc. They have already experienced failures in schools, negative feedback from their environment, and family problems. Our aim is to facilitate the social integration of children with emotional, behavior or learning difficulties.

To what extent, is important the active participations of the recipients themselves?
We are all learners, we are all teachers. This is one of our core values that lead our thinking in our everyday work. We believe that families, parents are the best experts of their kids. There are difficult times when they need some support and new skills to enrich their capacities in helping their kids.
The innovation of our program is that we approach the problem in a complex way; we treat the child as a part of his or her own ecosystem. We involve all the actors of the ecosystem into the intervention. We involve parents, teachers and the closer neighborhood. As a result of that complex approach the child’s ecosystem becomes more tolerant and productive. The program enables the kids to realize their own positive values and to make responsible decisions. All the actors concerned experience a positive change in their attitude.

What difficulties have you faced up to?
The implementation of the Pressley Ridge complex educational program takes time, patience, constant work from all participants.
Although the need for a new method and new educational tools had risen from the staff of the school, we faced a big challenge during the first year of the project. The teachers and other professionals working in the school needed time to realize that in many cases the tools they use or the words and attitude they show toward the kids is the trigger of kids’ aggressive behavior. The most challenging was when the teachers realized their responsibility but they were not experts in using the new tools, methods and communication style. They already knew what to do, but needed time to practice and experience their new skills.
In the first year of the project the focus was on the transfer of the educational tools of the behavior management system that builds on the strength of the youngsters. It was also important to start involving the kids’ families, and their whole ecosystem into the interventional process.
Now we can say that teachers, kids, parents and their whole ecosystem is the agent of changing the behavior and the attitude toward these kids and this area where they live.

How many people on average did the project offer help?
Kossuth Lajos Primary School in Győr works with 110 kids. In this area of the city there are 10.000 people living in families which has very few connections to the dynamic and growing life of the city. There are 25 professionals teaching in this school. The school is part of a big school-community, which includes 6 other schools, 1 kindergarten and about 150 more professionals working in these institutes.

Does the project pass through some development?
The project right now is in the second year from the planned three years period of initiation of the complex program. About 60% of the main elements of the complex program methodology are used adequately in the school.
In this school year the complex methodology is used in the classes of the 4th, the 5th and the 6th grades. In those classes there are full time teacher-counselors working from September. They help the work of the teacher at the classes and they also keep regular contact with the families of the children.
Professionals from our foundation provide the supervision for the teachers and the management of the school in this year as well on a biweekly basis.
The program already has its results:
Among the kids: less absence and missed classes, less aggressive incidents. There were 4 serious behavior scandals in the first half of the school year 2010/11, but there weren’t any in this school year. Class grades also improved.
Teachers share their common values concerning their everyday work; they know and use the tools and methodology of the behavior management system. They are motivated to learning; they work in teams; they implement the program in a creative way – that gives a unique dynamic to their work.
Parents do not treat school staff as strangers any more: they are more cooperative. They realized that the school is their partner, they participate in the activities organized by the school staff, and they often ask for help if they are in need.
Physical environment of the school (inside and outside) is organized and clean. Members of the social environment are also taking part in the everyday life of the school: mediator of the Civil Guard, psychologist of the Educational Consultation Office, members of the local government, and administrators of the Family Care Service etc.)

What would this award mean to you? Did you get any other award?
Pressley Ridge Hungary Foundation did not get any award before, but the Pressley Ridge methodology is recognized by authorities in the US and in Portugal.
Pressley Ridge Hungary Foundation was established in 2005 in Hungary. The project in Győr is one of our main projects since this school is the one in Europe, which can be certified as a school using the Pressley Ridge complex methodology. The award would call the attention to a very serious but very offended topic in Hungary. We believe that kids with emotional, learning and behavior difficulties mirror the tools and attitude professionals, parents and institutional organization have towards them. We believe that for these kids trust is essential, they want to behave in a different way, and that professionals who work with them can use tools and methods that help these kids to connect with these trusted adults.

More information about the project you will findHERE.

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