“Play’In Together” kicked off in Paris with great energy

The Erasmus+ Sport Programme, funded by the European Commission, provided an opportunity for PLAY International to develop a consortium of European partners and build a project developed by all parties’

expertise and experiences. Entitled 'Play’In Together', the project aims to accompany European societies toward greater inclusion of all people with disabilities through the promotion of Olympic, Paralympic and European (OPE) values in sport games.

The project uses cooperative processes and activities to develop sports-based pedagogical content and tools around the OPE values, adapted to each partner country’s own context and needs. The main beneficiaries of the project will be thousands of children aged 6 to 12, including those with disabilities (CWDs), along with hundreds of teachers, educators and animators.

The kick-off meeting for the project was held between the 18-22nd February in the laboratory office of Play International in Paris. A partner of the project, ENGSO participated in the meeting, represented by Special Advisor Sallie Barker.

Representatives from all the partners were present at the meeting, namely the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games – Paris 2024, the European Paralympic Committee, Academie Creteil (France), the Bulgarian Sports Development Association, the National Olympic Committee of the Czech Republic, University Colleges Leuven-Limburg (UCLL, Belgium), Play International, Play Kosovo and ENGSO.

On 18th February the Steering Committee held a meeting and members were brought up to speed on the objectives and values, methodology, timelines, finances and dissemination & communication goals for the project. At the end of the day, the communication and reporting processes were shared. During the 19th –22nd February the Launch Committee was held and members worked through various activities and games to define elements of the project.

On the first day we looked at the values of the project and how these will convey the values of OPE so that children across Europe will share and interact with children with disabilities. Then the group brainstormed how sport could be used as a tool for education and development. Two of the partners ran sessions – UCLL presented on the methodology for diagnostics and Academie Creteil outlined their planned activities for the Paris 2024 Games.

The Bulgarian Sports Development Association presented their Education Through Sports method that is a non-formal educational approach that works with sport and physical activity to develop key competencies of individuals and groups, through sustainable development. This was then put into practice in a nearby playground where we played football in teams to try out the different approaches.

Sallie Barker and other participants trying out some Education Through Sport approaches

On the second day Play International’s 'Playdagogy' approach was introduced, an active and participative educational method, providing a tool for learning on social or health issues. This includes raising awareness of the key messages, learning 'how' to educate through sport and group exchanges & dynamics. The process for development is through activity sessions lasting around 45 minutes, playing games with and without themes and discussion & debate. This allows the children to express themselves, exchange ideas among each other, challenge their own representations and build new ones.

The rest of the week consisted of ‘train the trainers’ workshops, with the key delivery partners being taught the Playdagogy approach. The trainers will now go back to their countries and run the sessions, providing feedback to Play International.

Overall, it was a great week’s introduction to the Play’In Together project and at ENGSO we are very excited about its implementation in the coming 2,5 years.