Balu und Du

3rd Prize 2010

Country: Austria

Region: Vienna

Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy

Fields of action: Non-formal education, Family, Mental health

Project owner: Ganztagsvolksschule Europaschule

Responsible person: Gabriele Lener

What is it about?

Schoolchildren from the all-day Europaschule Wien [European School of Vienna] have been receiving support with their social and emotional development as ‘Mowglis’ from students of the Pädagogische Hochschule Strebersdorf [University College of Education of Strebersdorf] since 2009. They meet their ‘Baloos’ regularly, once a week and in the holidays, for an entire school year and sometimes afterwards as well. They go to museums, events, play sports, cook, do crafts and talk with one another – Baloos are available as additional carers. The project is scientifically monitored from the outset by the University of Osnabrück, all of the parties involved in the school including the parents, if they want, are involved. The students reflect on their experiences in their own courses.

Appreciation of the Jury

Schoolchildren from difficult social backgrounds acquire social skills and self-confidence for their future life, parental education is supplemented, the class community is supported, the burden is removed from the class teachers, the students are prepared for their future professional life in a way which more closely reflects reality. There is an immediate positive effect which is visible from the behaviour of the Mowglis or from the fact that having a Baloo is considered to be an honour, from the dedication of the students and teachers, from the scientific results. This is a small – but efficient – way of correcting the ‘social gap’ in education. We hope that it will be expanded and imitated!