The CVS Curriculum for Children comprises a series of activities that encourage 9- to 10-year-old pupils to actively exercise their democratic and intercultural (DI) competences at school and in their local communities through urban regeneration activities, making their voices heard about their needs, views and dreams regarding their closest “urban” spaces. The experiences that pupils accumulate through the activities are designed to promote and strengthen their DI competences.
It is a biennial course1 that is taught in two modules: (a) Module 1 “Our voices for our schools”, (b) Module 2 “Our voices for our towns”. Module 1 has been developed using a project-based learning approach and Module 2 using a service-based learning approach. Both modules are expressed in the five steps of Experience, Comparison, Analysis, Reflection and Action and are taught over an entire school year. The CVS Curriculum also uses a system of (a) evaluating the teaching and learning activities and the whole programme through the observation and measurement of their effectiveness, and (b) assessing the children’s degree of proficiency in DI competences.
The curriculum implements the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC; Barrett, 2020; Barrett et al., 2018a, 2018b, 2018c). This contains a conceptual model of the DI competences which citizens require in order to participate effectively in a culture of democracy. The CVS Curriculum implements this conceptual model of competences in the context of primary education (see the Introduction to CVS Outputs for a brief description of the RFCDC, the CVS project, and the CVS Training Course for Teachers).
The CVS Curriculum was developed through a five-steps process. Firstly, we conducted an auditing process involving all partner schools, that is a systematic examination aimed at analysing to what extent, when and how learners are acquiring DI competences in the course of their schooling as a whole. Secondly, we selected some of the best training resources and materials already existing in the field of Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC), Human Rights Education (HRE) and Intercultural Education (IE). Thirdly, we organized the learning resources and materials (adding to them some further materials that were developed by our own work-team) in order to create the curriculum. Fourthly, we field-tested the CVS Curriculum in all the countries of the partnership, involving both teachers and pupils. Finally, we changed some activities on the basis of the feedback received from the field-testing, and then published them in the CVS Curriculum handbook (freely downloadable from the CVS web-site, https://www.cvs-project.eu/).
Two considerations should be noted about the implementation of the curriculum. Firstly, during its development, we considered it essential to provide a training course for teachers on the RFCDC and the curriculum. Therefore, we suggest that before the implementation of the curriculum takes place, teachers should participate in the CVS Training Course. Secondly, although the curriculum was designed for primary school children, its characteristics make it suitable for middle school children as well.
This handbook is mainly focused on the practical dimension; for this reason, we have dedicated limited space to the theoretical concepts and reflections in order to have more space for describing the modules and activities. The volume is divided into four chapters. Chapter 1 presents the general and theoretical considerations underlying the CVS Curriculum, and its methodological framework. Chapter 2 is devoted to a description of the curriculum structure. Chapter 3 is devoted to the specific description of each activity included in the curriculum, in terms of aim, source, type of activity, the RFCDC competences targeted, the materials needed, the group size, the time needed, and the preparation; moreover, the reader can find step-by-step instructions, tips for the facilitator and a task sheet. Finally, Chapter 4 is devoted to the systems used for the evaluation of the teaching and learning and for the assessment of the children’s DI competences.
The CVS Curriculum is integrated in the CVS App, an ICT tool put together to provide online support for teachers during its implementation. All information about the structure, activities, evaluation and assessment procedures contained in this handbook may be consulted online through the App. The CVS App works on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile, and is accessible with login information that can be obtained via the CVS website: https://www.cvs-project.eu/cvs-app/cvs-app-home/.