Co-education of children with and without disabilities is not surprising nowadays. But it is still highly controversial topic for teachers, school administrators, parents and children themselves. There are no answers yet on the following questions: How should be the process of co-education organised? How can we assess the progress of children with disabilities? What can be children’s common interests out of school to build friendship? What are the possibilities to reconcile the opposite views of parents on the inclusion of disabled children. Leaving these questions without reply leads to negative attitude of parents to attendance of common secondary school by disabled children. Usually even if the child is studying in a common school, he or she does not take part in extra-curricular activities (does not go on journeys with classmates, do not take part in creative activities and sport competitions). The reasons for that are lack of study techniques, lack of willingness of teachers to work with disabled children, perception of a child with a disability as a “problem”, focus on a disability and not on a child’s personality. These issues concern either teachers and parents, and children themselves.
Our project aims to create favourable conditions for collaborative work of children. It is based on the principles of inclusion. Our teachers are qualified in issues of inclusion and experienced in work with people living with disability. Our team was trained at the international workshop “Inclusive Education” and conducts trainings on inclusion. Most of the specialists from our organization are people with disability but they have achieved success and are eager to share their experience with children, their parents and teachers.
The aim of the Child forum is inclusion of children living with disability into extra-curricular activities that foster their creativity and help them to adapt to social life, make friends and gain self-confidence. The main condition for participation in the Child forum is collaborative work of children living with disability with their non-disabled peers.
The Child forum consists of various contests such as dance and song contest, drawing and photography contests and sport competitions where healthy and children with disability work together that foster long-lasting mutual creative activity in out-of-school time. The final concerts, exhibitions and award is taking place at the Minsk schools available for children living with disabilities.