Inclusive solutions for education:

Light Into Europe

In anticipation of 1st June; International Children’s Day; We had an amazing creative weekend, designing and painting murals and sensory paths at the School for the Deaf Bucharest.

Schools can be a stale, grey scale and uninspiring place to be, especially for bright, imaginative young minds like Deaf children.  What better way to brighten up these places of education and life than splash around some murals on the walls, floors and stairs with the Deaf children taking ownership of the environment they are in:

“Well I think they’re awesome! I especially like the mural where we will say thank you to our present and past teachers, including those who have been at the school for a long time to celebrate their career. Its so important for our students to feel they belong in the school community and I believe this is one way in which they feel included. Also including posters with the universal Deaf history and heritage shows love and celebrate the different cultures within the school community’, was the feedback of prof Florea Barbu, one of the veterans of Deaf rights in Romania and academia.

Our thanks to our community of Inclusion Ambassadors: CEC Bank, Catena, Mega Image, Borsec and Raiffeisen Bank for their support and amazing volunteers!

Let’s talk about the benefits of school murals:

– School community involvement! Following our focus group activities in the school, the consensus was that involving Deaf students whether it be in the design process, or the actual painting of the murals is an awesome way to increase student engagement, morale, and make the school look positive and inspiring. It’s a chance to interact with peers and adults, improve decision making skills, and learn the process of bringing ideas to life.

– The second most commented benefit was setting the tone for the school and generating a positive mindset. Walking into a colourful and uplifting cheerful space can really set the tone for the day ahead. It’s a way of incorporating different cultures and interests, creating a sense of unity and belonging. We become more multi-cultural, making Deaf students feel included and unsegregated is another great way to increase positivity and inclusion.

– Celebrating Deaf history and culture through posters and visuals is a beautiful and imaginative way to educate and involve Deaf and hearing students. Creating a learning environment that visually champions Deaf pride is a key player in connecting communities and students. Getting students involved in this process can generate cultural awareness and foster team work.

– Inviting volunteers to be part of colouring these murals is a great team and disability awareness project that added an abundance of improvements to the school grounds, creating interactive spaces that students and teachers enjoy being in.
What types of murals are useful for school?

We chosen the Interactive Murals as a specific way to get Deaf and students of various abilities, including neurodiversity, continuously involved even after its completion, such as different colours of hands, motivational words or how to say hello in many languages.
We added posters that celebrate events and Deaf personalities and leaders, to honour their achievements and to inspire students with their dreams and future plans. 

Deaf children need also more exposure to more vocabulary in different contexts, so we added some inspirational quotes disguised in murals, express how wonderful it is to just be yourself. 

Educational murals, disguising learning in the form of art is amazing and widely received around the world. Murals that tell stories always hit different, and the same goes for schools.  And as already spoken of, Deaf cultural murals are an incredible way to create awareness and teach about the Deaf community in a unique way.

A few final notes on the benefits and challenges surrounding murals in schools is expressed by Vali, our Arts and Crafts colleague: considering Deaf schools are hosting pupils from small towns and villages,  it could be hard for Deaf kids to get to galleries sometimes and see art for themselves, so that’s I had in mind when I’ve painted these murals. 

Providing local and accessible art is important. As for schools in particular,  we want our kids to be creative and engaged at school. 

Boring sterile walls of concrete and brick don’t really achieve this, so being able to provide colour and excitement to these school spaces paves the way to an inclusive, joyful and creative community. 

 Vali also added: “Of course the tricky bit is public schools are owned by the state and getting the OK is not always as easy as it should be.

It’s pretty safe to assume we’re all hoping for a brighter, more colourful future, so join us in creating more inclusive and creative solutions to education of children with different abilities.

Sunny days ahead, friends!