The first meeting of the project partners took place in Patras, Greece, on 11-12 January. A pandemic situation prevented representatives from all partner countries from attending the meeting in person, but thanks to the same computer technology it was possible to join the meeting remotely. Representatives of P-consulting, LESTU, Marijampole kindergarten „Ruta” and Centro San Viator were present at the meeting in person.
Egle Zukauskaite, representative of the LESTU, introduced all project partners to the aims and objectives of the project and the results expected to be achieved after two years of successful implementation. The expected impact of the project on the following groups was also presented: ECE teachers, children, ECE service providers and administrators, project partner organisations, stakeholders, educational institutions. The impact at regional, national and EU level was also highlighted, showing the relevance and importance of the project. The target groups of the project were identified as ECE teachers and staff, ECE institutions and children aged 4-7. Parents, policy makers and teacher training institutions were identified as indirect target groups.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the meeting was the introduction of the project partners. It was the first opportunity to get to know each other better. As young children, we listened to each other’s stories with interest and were looking forward to meeting each other in person, to trying out the multisensory room in the Marijampole kindergarten „Ruta”, to visiting the institution where Maria Montessori herself worked and developed and implemented her methodology. And listening to each other, we can conclude that each project partner has accumulated so much experience that not to share it with the wider world would be the biggest mistake and loss for early childhood education sector in Lithuania, Italy, Spain and Greece.
Every Erasmus+ project has its important, formal, but not very popular part, which was presented by Inga Puisa, Project Activity Manager of the LESTU, namely the financial management of the project and the management of the project itself. The project activities were presented: the development of intellectual products and related activities, international training, publicity events, international meetings of project partners. Each project partner was briefed on the responsibilities and activities assigned to them in the project. It is worth noting that the activities of the project are chained, which means that adherence to the project timetable and the timely completion of all activities are crucial for the project’s survival.
Charitini-Maria Skoulidi from P-Consulting presented the dissemination plan to the project partners. Egle Zukauskaite, Communication Manager of the LESTU, focused on the internal communication of the partners. The project website and Facebook account are under development and the children of the participating educational institutions are involved in the process. Representatives of the Marijampole kindergarten „Ruta” brought to the meeting ideas for the project logo drawn by their children. The same drawings are also expected from Santa Croce and Centro San Viator. The project partners have also provided sweet prizes for the authors of the best drawings, and their ideas should be the best inspiration for the P-consulting team to create the project’s visual identity and logo.
In conclusion, the first meeting was just the beginning of a long journey, when we were all in a good mood, full of ideas and thoughts, but at the same time anxious in our hearts to see if and how we would succeed. It is important to remember throughout the 2 years of the project that it is only by working as a team that we can really create content that can be used by other colleagues in early childhood education and that they will finally not be left behind in the digital age.