The project was initiated by a group of schools who met either virtually on the eTwinning website or in previous Comenius or Erasmus+ projects. During these projects we found that students need a better understanding of each other’s culture and traditions to be able to develop a better respect towards their own culture, traditions and relationships. During these meetings and in our virtual discussions the teachers of the participating countries agreed that, even though there are many special school events in the program of each school, students show less and less interest in them, in many cases find them a compulsory rather than a special, uplifting event in their lives. Their involvement in the school celebrations is not voluntary and, as a result not too active. With the activities planned in our project we would like our students to realize that family occasions are not only family occasions but social ones as well and they are celebrated in all the participating countries even if in different ways. 

Students will become familiar with these traditions and will see that traditions play a very important role not only in the family but in the society as well. Traditions play a huge role in creating an identity that our students can relate to and take comfort in. Besides the most important family traditions they will have an opportunity to decide what other days play an important role in their lives (e.g. celebrating leaving primary school, Sunday dinners or even the opening day of a new project – it is up to their choice). They will realize that traditions are most obvious during the holiday season, but our lives are interlaced with them – some big, some small; some special, some everyday; some old, some new. They will become aware of the fact that traditions are a direct reflection of a family’s values and most families have caretakers of the different traditions and this caretaking will once be their task and they must adapt beloved traditions to fit today’s lifestyle. Students will see that traditions, both in relation to the society and in relation to individuals, have above all a stabilizing function.

Seeing the similarities and differences between the ways of celebrating, participants will find traditions have the same roots in all countries. This is why a project involving some countries is an excellent method to reach our objectives. Students will realize that traditions do not separate or divide us but they are links between us. They will find that in spite of the differences we celebrate the same things, have the same moral values all over Europe. Students will also find that traditions are not only kept and transferred from generation to generation within the family but within the whole society as well. They protect the human society from disintegration and chaos, they legitimate and sometimes conserve the existing organization of the society and operate as a guarantee of social values and ideas. In this way students will become aware that keeping traditions means safety for them and their families. Traditions make us who we are and that’s why they are worth passing onto the next generations. They are part of our identity.

Another target group of our project is the other community of schools, namely the teachers. They are also challenged when organizing special school celebrations and involving students in them. With our project, they will learn more information about holidays and special events of various nations, methods as well as activities for organizing celebrations.

Both target groups will benefit from the main method of our project which will be used throughout the project and be a means of spreading the information we gain in the project: using GoogleMyMaps. This application gives each target group the opportunity to improve their ICT skills. The focus of the tool is on using various documents (texts, picture, videos, website, presentations etc) which can be uploaded in the map, showing the special features (in our case the special events) of a particular place. In this way student and teachers will not only learn the use of GoogleMyMaps but practice and/or learn the use/making of various types of document. So, apart from the theme of the project, all participants will also see that what they learn at school can be used well in their out-of school life. 

The project is innovative from a number of aspects. First, its topic is present is each school, however, it is not part of the curriculum or syllabus of any school subjects. Even so, it can be complementary to several subjects, like native language – all through the project; English all through the project as a communication aid between the countries; Arts – for example creating e-postcards, costumes, decorating an international Christmas tree, decorating Christmas cakes and sweets, making masks for Carnival; Music – for example singing together in these events; Mathematics – using measurements when cooking; History – the origins of the traditions and history of each partner country influencing these traditions; Geography – how and why do traditions vary in different locations; Civics – learning to tolerate the people from different cultures and with different traditions and looking after other groups in our local/ international communities.

Another aspect to make the project innovative is the tool we use. GoogleMymaps provides us an „umbrella” to involve various ICT tools and make both students and teachers more conscious and aware of the use of various documents that can be uploaded into it and, in this way, used for sharing our findings and products. While working on these documents, we will gain more knowledge of professional text editing, picture editing, video making, music producing and other applications. This frame is giving a special tone to our project, which, in this way, is going to be gaining more knowledge about our common traditions and events as well as gaining more knowledge about the use of various ICT tools. This will be beneficial for students, who will see that this knowledge is strongly linked to the skills they may need in their career and for the teachers, who can use their newly-gained skills in their teaching practice in the future. 

The program is supported by the European Union.