Structural challenges and lack of resources make access to education and participation difficult, especially for low-income families. Current challenges in schools cover exclusion, discrimination and increased absences. Getting in touch with parents and involving them in school activities has also become more and more difficult since COVID-19.
The aim of the “open school and info café” is to strengthen the school community, to provide low-threshold information on support services to pupils and their parents and to increase trust in public institutions.
The opening event of the first open school café took place on the 7th of September in Meidling and was organised in cooperation with youth work, school social work, parental work, educational institutions and many other cooperation partners.
While the children were entertained by the stilt walker, dancing classes and face painting, the parents had the opportunity to have a conversation with the present institutions and project partners at the buffet. The event offered entertainment, consultation and information for the whole family and took place during the first week of school at a park right in front of the primary school.
The pilot project “open school and café” resulted from the previously held “Policy Lab on Education and Participation”. Discussions during the Policy Lab revealed, that although there are many supportive, also multilingual offers in Vienna, such as language training, tutoring, financial counselling, etc., it is still difficult to actually reach the target groups. This is why the idea for a low-threshold format came up, in which personal contacts and a basis of trust can be established in order to overcome possible barriers and to make public services more easily accessible.
In the open school café institutions and support services seek out the families and not the other way round.
Follow-up dates of the open school café are scheduled for 5.10.23 and 9.11.23.