Spring Day in Europe

since 2003

Spring Day in Europe is a marvellous project, which developed phantastically over the years. A lively and very creative team of teachers from all over Europe cooperated under the leadership of the Eureopean Schoolnet and not only contribute great project and activity ideas but also invest thousands of hours, in order to make Spring Day what it is: a Europe wide project, in which more than thousands of schools participate.

 

2013  
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2003Meeting in Brussels (November 2002)
 Meeting in Paris (January 2003)
 Evaluation of Spring Day 2003 (September 2003)

 

On March 21, 2003 students from all over Europe, i.e. from the EU member states and from the 13 candidate countries (which later joined the Union on May 1, 2004)
on the one hand communicated - primarily to discuss the EU Convention and its tasks and plans for the enlargement
on the other hand presented their findings about EU topics over the last few months to their schoolmates, parents and students from other schools.

In general this Spring Day - and the preparations for it - were a wonderful occasion for students and teachers to get to know each other and to exchange ideas, opinions experiences etc. etc.

 

Two groups of Spring Teachers from all over Europe first met in Brussels in November 2002 in order to help the Spring Office team prepare Spring Day.

 

The project had been launched by the EU Convention in order to invite as many people as possible to contribute to ideas for the future of Europe! Although millions of people have been EU citizens for so many years, they still don’t seem to be aware of all the activities going on in Europe, of the various organizations and agencies which are part of the EU, of the Parliament and the Commission - and their tasks, etc. etc. 

But the team of the EUN Schoolnet was quite aware of the fact that around Europe there are numerous engaged teachers who have a deep interest in helping their students to become real EU citizens, and who have been participating in many EU-related projects for years.

 

As the group was too large for the conference room of the EUN Schoolnet, it had to be split in two. The first group met on Nov. 9/10. The second meeting was held on Nov. 16/17, 2002.  

We all had exchanged information about ourselves via the Internet, supported by Brigitte Parry (who was responsible for the pedagogical dimension of the project), Petru Dumitru (the resources manager),  Chui Hsia Yong (the web designer), and Valentina de Mari (who was responsible for the logistics) – and were then really eager to meet and to draft ideas for what could be going on between December 2002 and March 2003 in as many European schools as possible.

 

 

The whole Saturday and the Sunday morning were spent with intensive and very fruitful work. On Saturday the director of the EUN Schoolnet, Ulf Lundin, first introduced his organization and its numerous activities to the group. Then we spent some time presenting our ideas of what could happen in schools.

 

The bigger part of the afternoon saw us working in three sub-groups, concentrating on: plans for a webquest, activities covering the values of EU citizens and those who want to join the EU in the near future, and a number of smaller tasks, such as a Happy Europe Quiz, polls on a bunch of topics (e.g. a common language, an EU capital, a unification of the educational systems, mobility etc.), activities and role plays for drafting a common future Europe and events which should enable students to communicate live via the net.

During the last hour of the afternoon session each of the teachers presented his ideas about Spring Day 2003 in a short video session – in his/her own language.

 

After having relaxed in the hotel for some time, we spent a wonderful evening at a typical Brussels restaurant in the “les Marolles” quarter. In the warm atmosphere which had been created by our hosts Brigitte, Petru, Valentina and Chui Hsia we had an exceptional chance to exchange ideas, experiences and future plans.

 

Sunday morning was covered by a number of organizational issues, such as timelines for future meetings, the most effective way of communication (mailing list etc.) and discussion of the content input.

 

 

We all came together for a second meeting in Paris on January 11/12, 2003. Some members of the group met already on January 10 in the evening to have dinner together. This was arranged by Christine Reymond, whom we have to thank very much for organizing everything perfectly.

 

The Spring Office Team from the EUN Schoolnet had found a wonderful place for the meeting:

The Maison Jean Monnet in Houjarray, appr. 40km out of Paris. There Julien Gascard, a lecturer of the Association Jean Monnet lead us through the house and gave us a very good impression of the personality of Jean Monnet. The house is now owned by the European Parliament, and after having been welcomed by the Director, Arnaud Pinon, we also saw a film about Jean Monnet.

But then, work started, and we were again very productive. After having been "updated" by Ulf Lundin (the Director of the EUN Schoolnet), Brigitte Parry, Petru Dumitru and Valentina de Mari concerning activities and plans for Spring Day 2003, new faces and logistics in the morning of January 11, we formed groups in the afternoon, which covered the following topics: a Spring Day Competition, which should give participants the chance to win some money granted by the EU Commission; how can schools make their voices heard in the European "choir"; European values; and a big Europe Quiz (which was then available online for the last 10 days before Spring Day 2003). The weather was sunny, though cold, but we had no time to enjoy that very much. When Reinhard shot a group photo, the sun had already set.

 

 

Before we went to dinner, Brigitte Parry and Jean Philippe Raud Dugal asked the bus driver to take a route back to the hotel which gave us the chance to see some Paris sights. You can be sure, that Spring Day was also the main topic of the evening, which we spent in a beautiful restaurant.

 

On January 12, Jean Philippe (France) and János (Hungary) presented two more webquests they had drafted on January 10 for Spring Day. Petru gave us some more instructions concerning the recources which were available at the Spring Day website, and we discussed some more activities.

 

If you are interested in some more reports about our second meeting, you can read one written by Violeta Tsoneva (Bulgaria) and another one written by Sylvia Binger (Germany) at the myEurope website.

 

 

We all were glad, that our enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of the EUN Schoolnet team “infected” the whole of Europe and thus helped to bring us all nearer to each other and to pave the way for a future generation of Europeans.

 

Austrian Press Releases are available here! 

 

 

In autumn 2003 all participating schools received a certificate, and the Austrian navreme knowledge development evaluated Spring Day 2003 for the European Union. In the course of this evaluation, Dr. Bernd Baumgartl visited the VBS-HAKIII Schoenborngasse and interviewed our headmistress, the students and me.

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2004  
 Meeting in Brussels (October 2003)
 Meeting in Berlin (January 2004)

 
Again, students from all over Europe
on the one hand communicated - primarily to discuss the EU Enlargement of 2004 and
on the other hand presented their findings about EU topics to their schoolmates, parents and students from other schools.

 

In general the whole Spring Week (March 22-26, 2004) and the preparations for it - were a wonderful occasion for students and teachers to get to know each other and to exchange ideas, opinions experiences etc. Therefore I again invited all Austrian schools to join us in this activity by registering at the Spring Day 2004 website. The whole project was not only interesting but also great fun for all of us.

 

Again the group of Spring Teachers from all over Europe met in Brussels on October 18/19, 2003 in order to help the Spring Office team prepare Spring Day 2004. It was a unique possibility for all of us, to make new friends, and it was also a pleasure for those teachers who had been members of last years' team, to see each other again.

 

The project concentrated on the EU Enlargement, which took place in May 2004. The main aim was, to draw students' attention to all varieties of topics in relation to the EU.

 

The team of the EUN Schoolnet was quite aware of the fact that cooperations  with numerous highly motivated teachers who have a deep interest in helping their students to become real EU citizens, and who have been participating in many EU-related projects for years, is most fruitful.

This year, the group was again too big for the conference room of the EUN Schoolnet. Therefore we were allowed to use another very big conference facility in the same building.

Even before the meeting we were introduced via e-mail to the team of the EUN Schoolnet. And it was a pleasure for us, to meet them all in person in Brussels.

 

Ulf Lundin: General Project Manager (and Director of the European Schoolnet office)
Guus Wijngaards: responsible for relations with politicians and national networks
Chui Hsia Yong, Murat Etbaz and Thomas Maier: responsible for the Spring Day web site (Thomas could not be there this weekend, but he afterwards tried to give us all the necessary information about the website via e-mail)
Petru Dumitru: responsible for different activities and resources for schools
Brigitte Parry: responsible for the teachers' team, newsletters and some pedagogical activities
Sophie Vandeputte: responsible for translations
Valentina de Mari: logistics and some pedagogical activities
Marion Thomaseth: logistics and some pedagogical activities
Chris Coakley: news and some pedagogical activities

 

After a short introduction by Ulf Lundin, each of us could introduce himself/herself, and then we started working. The whole Saturday and Sunday morning were spent with partly group work, which was later presented to the whole Spring Teachers team, and partly discussion among all of us. We concentrated on how to celebrate Spring Day, and also discussed the question, whether we should chose a day or celebrate spring for a whole week in March 2004: as March 20, 2004 was a Saturday, this date was not suitable, of course.

 

We also came to the conclusion, that a number of last year's activities, which had proved to be very useful, could easily be recommended to teachers again. Furthermore we decided that a Resources sub-page of the Spring Day 2004 website should be created, in order to make it easy for teachers, to find hints and support for their activities.

 

Brigitte had invited us already weeks before each to bring a symbol for his/her country to Brussels - and now Chui Hsia shot short video clips of each teacher presenting not only him-/herself but also the symbol.

 

After having relaxed at the hotel for some time, we spent a wonderful evening at a cosy Italian restaurant. There we had another exceptional chance to get to know each other better, to exchange ideas, experiences and future plans and to discuss the question of how to invite as many schools as possible to participate in the project.

Sunday morning was covered by a number of organizational issues, such as timelines for future meetings, the most effective way of communication (mailing list etc.) and discussion of the content input.

 

 

The second meeting was held in Berlin from January 9-11, 2004, and Sylvia Binger was a weonderful host for all of us in her home town. Most of us managed to be there in time for the Friday evening dinner. This was a wonderful occasion to exchange first experiences and ideas.

 

Saturday was a very busy day. Thanks to Sylvia's organizational talent we could use a wonderful conference room in the famous Berlin Red City Hall, where we spent the whole morning discussing activities we had all set so far in order to invite as many schools as possible to participate in Spring Day 2004. In the afternoon we split up in two groups and discussed possible long term activities for the next 2 1/2 months as well as special activities for Spring Day 2004. Finally we exchanged these ideas. It is unbelievable, how fruitful work can be, if such a multicultural group meets and is keen on giving advice and support to each other! It was not easy for the EUN Schoolnet Team to coordinate everything, but it worked very well. In the evening, before going to a restaurant, we went on a short a city tour of Berlin.

 

On Sunday morning Petru did his best to instruct us on how to use the content manangement system, which we needed in order to upload information on our national sub-pages of the Spring Day 2004 website. He had to do that in small groups, as the room available for this activity was a really tiny one.

 

Afterwards we met again in the City Hall in order to discuss some organizational matters for the next months - and we also celebrated Brigitte's birthday with a cake Sylvia's students had baked. This was a very beautiful round-up of the meeting, as we afterwards all had to leave for various airports. Berlin was sad when we left - it started raining heavily in the afternoon.

When we all returned back home, we were full of ideas how to celebrate Spring Day and the Enlargement 2004. And it finally turned out, that this project was again, as in 2003, a great event for all students and teachers!

Our own enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of the EUN Schoolnet team again “infected” the whole of Europe and brought us a step forward in paving the way for a future generation of Europeans, who will get closer and closer to each other.

 

Press releases are available here!

 

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2005  
 Meeting in Brussels (September 2004)
 Visit of the EUN representatives to Vienna (October 2004)
 Eminent 2004 Conference in Prague (November 2004)
 Meeting in Vienna (January 2005)

 

In 2005 the project was focussed on the draft for an EU Constitution. Students and teachers
discussed the draft for an EU Constitution
to presented their findings about EU topics to their schoolmates, parents and students from other schools and
to participated in an interactive role play: in this role play, students can act either as EU Parliament, or as EU Commission, or as EU Council of Ministers. The EU Commission suggests a new law/regulation, and the Council of Ministers and the Parliament then have to discuss on the suggestion and come to a conclusion.

The team of European teachers did their best to continue the way towards a "Europe Unlimited"! As most schools were closed for Easter holidays on March 21, 2005, Spring Day 2005 was held on March 17.

On September 4/5, 2004, the Spring Teachers team - more than 30 teachers from all EU member states and candidate countries - held the first meeting in Brussels to start organizing Spring Day 2005. It was a pleasure for us, to welcome Tatjana Klobucar from Croatia to the team. There were some other new colleagues from various countries, but it took us only a few hours to get acquainted with each other. The spirit of new ideas was spreading quickly, and thus made the meeting a full success.

Those who had arrived in time met already on September 3 for dinner. Brigitte Parry from the EUN Schoolnet had been so kind as to find a very nice Greek restaurant for us which was located just around the corner of our hotel, and Petru Dumitru came to meet us all in the hotel lobby in the evening in order to take us to the restaurant. Sylvia Binger (Germany), Núria de Salvador (Spain) and Katerina Bavorova (Czech Republic) who had joined the team in Brussels in summer 2004, also came with us to the restaurant. It was great fun, to exchange experiences with old friends and to meet new ones.

 

 

On Saturday we met in the EUN office in the morning. First Brigitte welcomed us all to Brussels. Then Ulf Lundin, the head of the EUN Schoolnet gave us a short survey of the plans and ideas for Spring Day 2005 and Brigitte once more made clear, which were the tasks of a Spring Teacher.

We also learned, that over the year members of  the EUN team would travel to each of the EU member states and candidate countries, in order to contact EU representatives as well

as liaison officials from the various ministries of education personally. That was a great help for our work as Spring Teachers.

 

As you can see from the picture above, timing was always essential. Therefore,  Valentina de Mari produced short videos of each Spring Teacher during lunch break. We had been invited to say a few words about our most important values in connection to the European Union.

Then we formed three teams. Team 1 discussed plans and ideas for the interactive role play. This is not an easy activity, but in the following months we got very good feedback for it.

 

Team 2 once more covered the values activities. Only one day after the end of the terrible terrorist attack in Beslan, it was out of the question for everyone, how important it is to continue the crucial taks of making our students familiar with all the values that had already been hot topics of Spring Day 2003 and 2004.

 

Team 3 started collecting a number of wonderful ideas of how to celebrate Spring Day with all age groups. As we estimated it very important, that students from all age groups and all types of school should have the chance to participate in Spring Day, we saw it as one of our main tasks, to create activities for all these participants. This was a very fascinating task!

 

You can trust, that we all were really tired after this long and fruitful day of work. In the evening we enjoyed having dinner together at a very nice Belgian restaurant next to the Brussels Bourse.

On Sunday morning we first held a minute of silence for the victims of Beslan. As we were again full of energy, we were ready for Petru's lessons on how to upload information for colleagues to the resources section of the Spring day website and how to run our personal subsite.

Finally we formed two focus groups, which should esp. take care of the role play and of the resources.

On Sunday afternoon we all travelled back home - full of good ideas and enthusiastic plans for Spring Day 2005. We were already looking forward to our next meeting in January 2005.

 

Ulf Lundin and Brigitte Parry from the EUN Schoolnet came to visit Vienna and Eisenstadt on October 7 and 8, 2004. In Eisenstadt they participated in a conference on e-learning which had been organized by Dr. Reinhold Hawle from the Austrian Ministry of Education. I met them there on October 7 in the evening at a reception in the Esterházy Palace - and was really astonished to meet Janja Jakoncic Faganel from Slovenia too. That was a wonderful surprise!

On October 8 we had a strict itinerary. In the morning Brigitte came to Vienna to meet Mag. Reinprecht (head ot the representation of the EU Parliament in Vienna) and Dr. Doutlik (head of the representation of the EU Commission in Vienna), in order to discuss how the representatives of the EU here in Vienna could support Spring Day 2005. 

The two gentlemen had already supported Spring Day 2003 and 2004 and were very positive to continue cooperation.

After this short and effecitve meeting Brigitte came to visit the VBS-HAKIII Schoenborngasse. She had heard so much of our principal and of the school before, that she now was really eager to meet Dir. Dr. Battenfeld and to see the place where so many students enjoyed participating in Spring Day. Although it was rather late, the AIVb was still at school and had the chance to meet Brigitte personally.

Afterwards we had lunch in a restaurant near our school and I went to the city centre with Brigitte, where she could at least see the Kärntner Straße and St. Stephen's. It goes without saying, that we took the elevator up to the Pummerin, Austria's biggest bell, which Brigitte was glad to see, as she had read about it before on the website of our Bells Project. After the short city stroll, I accompanied Brigitte to the train station from where she left to the airport.

 

On November 18/19, 2004, some members of the two focus groups (resources and interactive role play) met in Prague at the Eminent 2004 conference (it was re-named Round Table in 2006). After the opening session on November 18, we had the possibility to participate in three different strands of workshops: Digital Content, Schooling in Transition and ICT Policy. Although the Digital Content strand was the most important for us, we also were glad to improve our knowledge of ePortfolios in the Schooling in Transition strand.

In the evening, we could first celebrate the e-Learning Awards 2006 ceremony with the winners, and then get to know a number of other teachers from all over Europe in a wonderful dinner in Prague's Municipal House, a perfect example of Art Noveau.

On November 19, we first were enchanted by a presentation of Brigitte Parry (EUN Schoolnet) and Daniel Weiler (Ministry of Education Luxembourg and Spring Teacher 2005) of a draft for a new search engine which was esp. drafted for the needs of people in the education branch. Unfortunately, it remained an idea only!

Afterwards, the focus groups for resources and interactive role play had a special meeting in which we learned about the latest developments of the role play (which finally went online in Decmeber 2004), and made plans for the next steps of our work.

We were very tired after all these sessions, but nevertheles I wanted to  take the time to visit the famous Charles Bridge in Prague. Núria came with me, and if you are interested in the pictures we took, come and visit my students' European Bridges website!

 

The next meeting of the Spring Teachers was held in Vienna from January 7 to 9, 2005. It was very convenient for all participants that the hotel had conference facilities. Already before the official beginning of the meeting, it was a pleasure for me to welcome two special guests at home. Petru and Núria came for dinner on Thursday evening, and we enjoyed talking about our Christmas holidays and families - and, of course, European topics.

The national liaisons, representatives of national school authorities, who supported the Spring Teachers in their work, held a meeting on Friday morning. In the afternoon the two sub-groups who were helping the team of the EUN Schoolnet in Brussels to manage the interactive role play and the resources for Spring Day, met in order to exchange experiences and news as well as to discuss future strategies.

In the evening, after having rested for a short time at the hotel, we went for an informal but very entertaining

Plenty of beer ...

dinner in a restaurant called Centimeter II near to the hotel in the so-called Spittelberg area. There the beer drinkers could help themselves to a glass of beer directly on the table, and the food was served in small wheel carts and on swords.

... Schnitzel and steak on a wheel cart and ...

... on a sword.

You can certainly imagine easily, that we were full of energy on Saturday morning, when the whole group of Spring Teachers met in order to report to each other what we had done in our countries so far in order to promote Spring Day and how schools were participating. That kept us busy the whole morning.

 

After having had some sandwiches for lunch we went on a two hour sightseeing tour of Vienna. The weather was more than friendly - we really had spring weather for this excursion, which made places like Belvedere Palace and Schoenbrunn Palace even more beautiful. 
The spring weather supplied us with some new energy for the afternoon agenda. We dealt with two topics: suggestions for how to celebrate Spring Day 2005 and teaching ideas for lessons dealing with the European Constitution. We worked really hard in two groups, and in a final session reported to each other about our group results.

As our lunch break had been a long one, the time for relaxation in the evening was rather short. But we did not mind. We were looking forward to another exciting event: in the course of our evening buffet in the Siebensternbräu we not only enjoyed a tour of one of the last small beer breweries in the city centre, we also celebrated Brigitte's birthday.

It had already become sort of a tradition, that we enjoyed celebrating with her, and we had exchanged some secret e-mails to prepare this event. As you can see from the picture, she really enjoyed it, and that is the main goal: whenever you try to make someone happy, it is a pleasure for yourself if you are successful!

Sunday morning kept us busy with some more discussions about the website, an update of the resources interface, synergies between Spring Day and other projects etc. Those participants, who had some time left before their flight back home, made use of it by visiting some more places of interest in the city. All travelled back home safely, and had hopefully enjoyed the meeting.

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2006  
 Meeting in Brussels (October 2005)
 Meeting in Prague (January 2006)
 Meeting in Paris (May 2006)

In 2006 the project concentrated on three main topics related to Europe and the World:

learn about and debate your ideas of the EU

understand the EU institutions

together in the World

Students and teachers again had the chance

to communicate via e-mail, snail mail, video conference and weblog
to present their findings about EU topics to their schoolmates, parents and students from other schools
to invite MEPs and other politicians to their schools in order to discuss Europe related topics with them and
to celebrate Spring Day either at school or at any other place they chose as appropriate, maybe together with one or more partner schools.
The nteractive role play in which students can act either as EU Parliament, or as EU Commission, or as EU Council of Ministers was available online in an improved version.

The Team of Spring Teachers held its first meeting in Brussels on October 28/29, 2005. Most of us made it to Brussels in time for the dinner on Friday. This was a great occasion for many of us, to see each other again, and for new teachers in the team to get a first glimpse of the spirit of Spring Day.

Sylvia Binger from the EUN team in Brussels had organized dinner for us in an Italian restaurant, where most Spring Teachers and also members of a myEurope group which prepared learning objects, came together. We had a lot of fun, as you can see from the pictures, but we also discussed our ideas and visions for Spring Day 2006 - which was also fun! Working with this group is so inspiring, that it is also part of the fun we have together.

On Saturday morning we all met at the EUN office, in order to discuss and organize the Spring Day activities 2006. First, Brigitte Parry, who again coordinated Spring Day, gave us a short overview of this day's agenda. Then Ulf Lundin, the head of the EUN Schoolnet, welcomed us all and expressed his hope, that we would be able to include even more schools in the debate on Europe this year than we had done the year before.
Spring Day is the only project where schools are supported by a pan-European network of pedagogical advisors and representatives from all ministries of Education. It is also the only project, in the course of which representatives of EU institutions are eager to visit schools and inform students about their work in Brussels, Strasburg and Luxembourg.

No matter how old or young the students are, the visitors always find a way to reach out to them and make them feel, that they are more than just a part of Europe. They are, in fact, the future of Europe, and should therefore take any possibility offered to make their voices heard.

In the afternoon we split up in three workshops, which were managed by Sylvia Binger, Núria de Salvador and Katerina Bavorova from the EUN Schoolnet.

We concentrated on the three main topics of Spring Day 2006, and after about one and a half hours returned to the plenum and presented our visions for activities to the whole team. It was a very long day, but we all felt happy in the evening, when we could summarize the output of this meeting.

After an hour of rest we all met again in the hotel lobby and went to the city centre, where we had dinner in a very elegant restaurant.

The Spring Day 2006 team

On Sunday each of us went home with a suitcase full of good ideas for projects. We did our best to disseminate the idea of Spring Day among our colleagues at home, and we supported thousands of teachers and students all over Europe in their aim to make Spring Day 2006 a success! It was a success: more than 7500 schools were registered in May 2006.

From January 6-8, 2006 the team met again in Prague. We were heartily welcomed on Friday by Katerina and Petra, and spent the evening in a very nice restaurant.

On Saturday morning we walked to the Ministry of Education, where our meeting was held. On this walk, the Czech national liaison showed us a number of interesting sights. The sessions of the meeting were real hard work, as we wanted to introduce some new features to Spring Day - and finding the right solutions was not easy.

After lunch we held three separate workshops with Núria, Katerina and Sylvia about different topics. We even continued work in small groups during dinner - but we also enjoyed a good chat.

Birthday congratulations for Brigitte and Petru were also an already traditional part of the evening programme.

On Sunday morning we continued the discussion, based on the presentations of the small working groups and on contributions from the whole group.

Those among us, who had some time left before we had to return back home, could enjoy the magnificent city of Prague a little bit.

The final meeting was held in Paris from May 12-14, 2006. This meeting was also attended by a number of national liaisons. We had arranged to meet for dinner on Friday evening - which had also already become a very nice tradition within the team. In a very cosy restaurant near our hotel, we enjoyed exchanging experiences of the past months.

On Saturday morning, Ulf Lundin and Brigitte Parry first congratulated the whole team on the enormous success the project had been in this school year. Then Núria, Sylvia and Katerina presented the results of the various strands of Spring Day 2006. The numbers and contents were really impressive.

In the afternoon, each Spring Teacher could present the activities which had been carried out in his/her own country as well as the various festivals which had taken place. Just look at Inara's smile in the picture on the left: we were all so happy about the success of the project!

We had also prepared something very special for the evening dinner: as Ulf celebrated his birthday in May, we had prepared a very special birthday present for him (and had managed to keep it a secret!): each Spring Teacher brought a piece of chocolate which was typical for his/her country. All these chocolates were then put together in the "birthday bowl". We had intended to give Ulf a truly European birthday presen. The "birthday bowl" was the "result" of several e-mails going to and fro.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we waited early for Ulf and Brigitte. Finally Ulf came alone. Brigitte had fallen on a sidewalk and had been taken to hospital. An hour later doctors had diagnosed that she had broken her hip. Ulf bravely stayed with the team for dinner, and we tried to cheer him up a little bit with our birthday present.

On Sunday morning - while Brigitte was operated on - we formed five teams; each team reflected on the Spring Day 2006 activities and collected ideas for new activities to be carried out in the course of Spring Day 2007. Although we agreed, that Spring Day 2006 had been a great success, we still wanted to carry out some improvements. Ulf had also already suggested the motto: as the EU is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2007, the motto should be "50 Years Together".

In a final session, all five teams presented their findings and suggestions to the whole group. We dearly missed Brigitte, and we tried to give our best, so that she would find a bunch of good ideas at hand, as soon as she had recovered.

When we said good bye, we had no idea, that we had just attended the last meeting of this group. In autumn 2006, Brigitte had recovered, but Ulf retired in September, and soon afterwards, Brigitte left the EUN Schoolnet. In December 2006, 19 teachers of the team were dismissed - without being given a clear explanation. We had officially submitted our applications for Spring Day 2007 - and were rejected, because the new management of the EUN Schoolnet neglected the old principle of  "never change a winning team"!

Despite this sad farewell, we hope that the true spirit of a united Europe will survive in the heads and hearts of our students!

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2007  
 No meeting until February 2007
 National Spring Day initiatives in various European countries
 Meeting in Brussels (March 2007)
 Meeting in Brussels (June 2007)

 

In December 2006, 19 of 28 teachers of the successful team were dismissed - without being given a clear explanation. We had officially submitted our applications for Spring Day 2007 - and were rejected. The new management of the EUN Schoolnet neglected the old principle of  "never change a winning team"!

Despite this sad farewell, we are confident that the true spirit of a united Europe will continue growing in the heads and hearts of European teachers and students! And there are some things no one can deprive us of: the remembrance of wonderfully fruitful years of cooperation, great friendships which have grown over the years - and the success of thousands of projects, which were carried out by teachers and students in all European countries. May the narrow-minded disputes, which tore us apart, not prevail over the inimitable successes we have gained together. 

 

In various European countries, the ministries of education and the representations of the European Union continue to support the idea of Spring Day. Therefore Austrian teachers and students can continue participating in Spring Day.

 
In March 2007 the EUN Schoolnet finally started a Spring Day project and invited teachers to a one-day-meeting in Brussels, where they were informed baout the activities planned.

A second teacher team meeting was held in Brussels in June 2007. There the results from the various countries could be presented by teachers and national liaisons.

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2008  
 

Meeting of the Austrian Team at the BMUKK (October 2007)
 

Meeting in Brussels (March 2008)
 Meeting in Brussels (June 2008)

As we were confident, that Spring Day 2008 would again be organized by the EUN Schoolnet, Spring Day in Austria already started in October. The Austrian Team lead by MR Dr. Reinhold Hawle held a first meeting on October 22, 2007 at the Austrian Ministry of Education and started organizing the project under the motto "Cultural Diversity. Examples of successful integration". The Austrian Spring Day Festival 2008 took place on April 11, 2008.

The Team of Spring Teachers and Liaisons met in Brussels on March 7/8, 2008. The meeting began in the late afternoon of March 7  with a short presentation of the plans for Spring Day 2008 by Marc Durando, head of the EUN Schoolnet, and Ariane Moret, a representative of the EU Commission. It is a real pleasure for all of us, that the Commission has now agreed on a long term planning and will support the project until 2012. The possibility for schools to invite a guest (e.g. a Member of  the European Parliament or of the Team Europe etc.), remains a core activity of the project.

 
Schools which were registered for Spring Day in the school year 2006/07 stayed in the data bank, they only had to renew their registration. Of course, we hope, that the community of "Spring Schools" will continue growing.

A great number of activities for all age groups is planned. The Team had a lively discussion on March 8 concerning these activities, and we are confident, that there will bis something appropriate for every taste and talent. The EUN Team will organize prizes for the best contributions.

We spent busy and enriching hours in this meeting. The Italian dinner on March 7, the coffee breaks and the delicious buffet on March 8 offered opportunities enough, to have a good chat with old friends, who have been a member of the team for years, and to make new friends. Now we are looking forward to a good and successful cooperation.

 

 
On June 6/7 2008 the second meeting of the Spring Teachers and Liaisons took place in Brussels.

After having been welcomed by the EUN Team in the late afternoon of June 6 we first were made familiar with a wide variety of statistical data, which gave us a survey of the success of the Spring Day project in the participating countries.

A delicious dinner finished the day and supplied us with new energy for the next day.
On June 7, we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Spring Day 2008 in small groups and exchanged ideas on possible changes and improvements for Spring Day 2009, whose motto will be "Creativity and Innovation", and which will already start in autumn 2008, so that schools will get a chance to plan their Europe projects for the whole school year in time.
 

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2009  
 

Meeting in Barcelona (September 2008)
 Meeting in Brussels (June 2009)

On September 20/21, 2008 the pedagogical advisors and liaisons from the various national Ministries of Education met in Barcelona for the first perparatory meeting of Spring Day 2009. A decision on the topic of the project had already been made in spring 2008: as the European Union declared the year 2009 the Year of  Creativity and Innovation, also Spring Day will concentrate on these areas in the school year 2008/09.

We had a lively debate, learnt from each other and everybody had some new ideas for how to make Spring Day attractive to schools. Also during the delicious dinner on September 20, we continued our discussion on plans for the project. The official spring Day 2009 webiste was launched at the beginning of December.

 

The second Spring Teachers meeting was be held in Brussels on June 12/13, 2009. There every country had the possibilty to present the results of national Spring Day activities. Bernhard Racz, Vice President of ENIS Austria, could represent a very successful Spring Day in Austria at this meeting.

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2010

  
 

Meeting in Vienna (December 2009)
 Start of the Europe-wide Spring Day (March 2010)
 Meeting in Madrid (May 2010)

 

In December 2009 the Austrian Spring Day Team met at the Ministry of Education to discuss the next steps. As we had received only a few pieces of information from the EUN in Brussels, all asking us to wait, we decided to start the Austrian Spring Day at the beginning of 2010. As the European Union has declared 2010 the Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, the motto of the Austrian Spring Day is "Social Responsibility - Social Competence".

 

In March, we finally also received some good news from the EUN in Brussels: the Europe-wide Spring Day campaign 2010 was started.

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2011

  
 

Meeting in Vienna (October 2010)
 Meeting in Vienna (November 2010)
 Launch of the Registration Website (November 2010)
 Information about the Competition (March 2011)
 Jury Meeting in Vienna (April 2011)
 Preparatory Meeting at the House of the European Union (April 2011)

 

The Austrian Spring Day Team first met in October 2010 at the Ministry of Education. In this meeting, some milestones were fixed, such as: the motto of Spring Day 2011 in Austria and the best possible date for the Spring Day 2011 Festival.

 

In our next meeting in November 2010 we discussed possible prizes and agreed, that a registration website should be opened soon. This website was online a few days later, and consquently all Austrian schools were invited to register via e-mail. The first registrations were carried out rather quickly, but then Christmas came and everybody had other important things to do.

 

At the beginning of March a second information we delivired to all Austrian schools via e-mail, explaining once more the motto of the competition and the deadlines. And then it was a real pleasure to see, how quickly and to what a high extent, Austrian schools submitted their contributions to the competition. Just have a look at the contributions, and you will certainly understand, that it was not easy for the jury allocate the prizes.

 

Finally a preparatory meeting was held shortly before Easter at the House of the European Union with representatives of the EU Parliament and EU Commission in Austria, in order to agree on the exact procedure of the Spring Day 2011 Festival 

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2012  
 

Start der Anmeldewebsite (Oktober 2011)
 Meeting in Bad Hofgastein (Oktober 2011)

 

In October 2011 the Austrian Ministry of Education again launched the  website, where schools could register. But this was, of course, not enough. If we want to encourage schools to participate, we have to offer them information and incentives.

 

Therefore, the Spring Day Team used some spare time during the ENIS Meeting in Bad Hofgastein at the end of October 2011, to discuss first steps. Those were the basis for the Spring Day 2012 website, which then started growing. In order to make Spring Day 2012 a success, it was necessary to get again in contact with the Representation of the European Commission in Austria as well as with the Information Office of the European Parliament for Austria and to fix some dates. 

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2013  
 

The Registration website is launched (October 2012)
 Dates are fixed (November 2012)
 Meeting in Bad Hofgastein (February 2013)

 

In October 2012 the Autrian Ministry of Education again launched the registration website for Spring Day. We had seriously thought about whether Spring Day was still attractive for schools. But as the European Commission hat declared 2013 the European Year of Citizens, we decided to organize Spring Day again, as this topic includes so many activities and we could hope, that many schools would participate. Finally this came true.

 

The dates for the Spring Day Festival 2013 and for the competition had already been fixed in autumn 2012 in cooperation with he Representation of the European Commission in Austria as well as with the Information Office of the European Parliament for Austria.

 

The ENIS Meeting in Bad Hofgastein (February 2013) was again a perfect occasion for the Spring Day team, to discuss some more dates and facts. The community of participating school grew rapidly, and it was a pleasure to experience, with how much energy and enthusiasm schools worked on projects according to the motto "We are Europe". 

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© Susanne Pratscher

 

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