SMILE’s International conference "Inclusive Learning and the Challenge of (Un)Shared Values", 2 June 2022, Sofia, Bulgaria

Our SMILE project is coming to its end. But it is not really an end, it is the beginning of the long journey of adaptation of our educational systems, teaching methods and mindsets, in order to respond to all the crises we are going through.

In the last 2 years, schools in our countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Portugal) and around Europe have suffered probably the biggest blow from the COVID-19 pandemic. The way of learning and teaching has changed more in these two years than in the last two centuries. And this is not necessarily a bad thing, the question is whether we have said an discussed all of this as a society, whether we have accepted it with all its pros and cons, or whether we continue to patch up the old paradigm of education with money and programs, a paradigm that no longer exists.

The war in Ukraine and the thousands of children who came to Europe once again showed how far our education has moved away from its main function of caring for the intellectual and emotional growth of children in its territory and its ability to fulfil it. Again, the lack of quick government decisions is offset by dozens of charitable causes. Through donation campaigns and volunteer initiatives, people took care of those in need.

As organisations dealing with education and children, we are completely "sucked" by the situation. Some of us have turned their offices into educational centres for Ukrainian children, funded by donations, and we are working daily to support the refugee families in all possible ways – from organising housing to offering phycological support and community building, again through donations.

Finally, as a start to an honest conversation about (un)shared values.

Children's stories and children's games have always played a key role in helping the child understand the world in which he lives and prepare him for the future, and the children we work with play games and tell stories that should make us, the adults, think deeply about the world we have created for them.

That is why we invite you to share your (un)shared values ​​for education and together, without accusation and constructively, to seek meaningful solutions. The first possible moment is June 2, 2022 at the SMILE’s international conference "Inclusive Learning and the Challenge of (Un)Shared Values".

The conference will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria and is the closing event of our amazing 42-month project “Scaling up the Model for Inclusive Learning in Europe (SMILE)”, supported by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Programme, implemented by the Association for Shared Learning (Bulgaria) – leading partner, ARCIL (Portugal), Four ELEMENTS (Greece), and Fundatia EuroEd (Romania)

Registration is required; places are limited. The conference will be face-to-face with no live streaming option and is open to anyone with a registration who is willing and able to cover his/her expenses for travel and accommodation (if applicable).

Looking forward to seeing you at the Conference!




08:30-09:00 -- Registration

09:00-09:15 -- Presentation of the SMILE project, the Model for Inclusive Education and the e-course "Inclusive Education". The project for the development of an inclusive school environment in Europe expanding the "One School for All" model in the partner countries.
Iva Boneva, ELA Association

09:15-10:10 -- Panel discussion: How the Model has been adapted in different partner countries (Greece, Portugal and Romania) and lessons learnt

10: 15-10:45 -- Coffee break

10:45-11:30 -- Useful experience from Romania: Smiles for inclusion
Ms Elsa Gheorghiu and Ms Ramona Stefanoaie

11:30-12:15 -- Useful experiences from Portugal: Inclusive education - from paper to practice
Ms Sylvia Leal, Ms Susanna Lucas and Ms Martha Melo

12:15-13:15 -- Lunch

13:15-14:00 -- Presentation and discussion: Admission and training of children and students seeking or receiving international or temporary protection
Ms Anelia Yotova, Ministry of Education and Science

14:00-14:30 -- Presentation and discussion: What we can do in post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma in children
Ms Borislava Mecheva, systemic psychotherapist

14:30-15:00 -- Closing and next steps
Ms Iva Boneva, ELA Association

15:00 -- Coffee and networking



Elza Gheorghiu is a trainer, mentor and teacher of English and Romanian as a foreign language. She also has a rich experience in international educational projects. Her field of interest covers work with innovative educational methodologies in teaching/training and non-formal education. Target groups for her teaching and training are young learners and adults. A special area of intervention is training special needs children and their teachers for foreign language communication. She is also a member of the pedagogical training team of EuroED Foundation, Iasi, Romania.

Ramona Stefanoaie is a passionate translator; she is also interested in innovation in education and teaching English as a foreign language and has long experience in preparing and tutoring young learners and teenagers for Cambridge exams.

Sílvia Dulce Rodrigues Leal is a teacher for 22 years. She now works at Agrupamento de Escolas da Lousã. She has an Early Childhood Education Degree by ESEB (1999), with specialisation in Special Education: Problems of Motricity and Cognition by ESEC (2005). Her areas of academic and professional interest involve the defense and the creation of an inclusive education, respecting the principles that shape inclusion. For 12 years, Silvia was a part of a Local Early Intervention Team, where she worked closely with families and educational contexts, in order to promote and implement a set of support measures in the social, education and health areas, for children aged between 0 and 6 years. Presently, she works at a Learning Support Centre, giving specialised support to students from age 10 to 16 with intellectual disabilities.

Susana Maria Constantino da Costa Couto Lucas is teacher at Agrupamento de Escolas da Lousã. She has an Early Childhood Education Degree by ESEJD (1991) with graduation in Special Education: Problems of Motricity and Cognition by ESEP (1995)as well as Master's degree in Education sciences by UL (2011). She is a Special education teacher at Portuguese League for disabled people (3 years); provided technical coordination of occupational center and home for adults with specific needs (3 years); was a special education teacher at the Ministry of Education (since 1998); coordinated the Multidisciplinary Inclusion Support Team (since 2018). Currently Susana works with autistic students and with specific language disorders, seeking to promote inclusion in their daily lives in all educational contexts of the AEL. She volunteers as a Scout leader.

Marta Luciana Melo Fernandes is from ARCIL. She has a Degree in Psychomotor Rehabilitation at the University of Évora (2012). Marta is a Psychomotor Therapist in Occupational Activities Center for adults with disabilities (2 years). She does a psychomotor intervention, in a clinical and school context, of children and young people with developmental disorders and specific educational needs. Currently, it is at ARCIL that she performs her duties as a Psychomotor Therapist, being part of the team of the Resource Center for Inclusion, in the school context. Marta is technically responsible for the Impacto+ Development Support Center and participates in several projects related to the inclusion of people with disabilities. She is also a Psychomotor Therapist in the Municipality of Lousã, in the promoting school success project.

Aneliya Yotova is a state expert at the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria, at the Inclusive Education Directorate. Her work is related to the support and coordination of activities related to personal development and integration of children and students from migrant families, children and students seeking or receiving international and temporary protection, as well as support for personal development of gifted children and students.

Borislava Mecheva is a family therapist. Since 2014 she is a lecturer and supervisor at the Institute of Family Therapy - Bulgaria. Between 2014 and 2020 she was part of the board of the Bulgarian Association of Family Therapy (BAFT) and is dedicated to organising continuing professional development opportunities for family therapists in Bulgaria. She is currently the Chair of the BAFT Ethics Committee.



Free e-learning course "Inclusive Education" in English

Our online course "Inclusive education" in English is now up and running and available to anyone, free of charge!

We created this e-learning course for all of you, who are involved with education in one way or another.

Throughout this course, you will have the opportunity to explore your attitudes, to assess what you know about inclusive education and learn more about it. 

The course consists of four modules:

  1. The first module “Concepts and Perspectives” follows the conception and development of the idea of inclusive education: its essence and the dimensions of its practical application.
  2. In the second module “The Inclusive Team” you will learn how the inclusive team works, who are its members, what are the skills they need to have, what principles they need to abide by and what good practices they have to apply.
  3. In the third module “Inclusive Systems” you will learn about the levels at which inclusion happens within a learning system: from the classroom, through the school, to the wider community.
  4. In module four “The One School for All Model” you will learn about ELA’s Model for building an inclusive school environment, including the Model’s domains, the process and the principles of its application.

Who is this course aimed for?

Everyone, who’s interested in inclusive education and feels involved with the improvement of the educational landscape. 

How is the course structured and how long does it take to complete?

The course is structured into four modules, each of which consists of three sections. The course can be accessed at all times and there are no time constraints for its completion. Our experience shows that if you work without interruption, you can take the course within eight hours. Every module ends with an assessment quiz – the result of this quiz determines the successful completion of the module and the combined results of all quizzes determine the successful completion of the course. To save your progress, please make sure to press the SAVE PROGRESS button. Upon the successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate. You can download your certificate from the Achievements section in your user account. Please, note that your given name and family name will be displayed on the certificate the same way you entered them during registration.

The course also contains several self-assessment questionnaires, that are not graded and have no impact on the successful completion of the course. The results of these questionnaires are for your own information only.

Having troubles starting the course?

Download our User's Guide which will help you register in the e-learning system, enrol for the course and get your certificate for successful completion.


Course authors and editors:

Alexandra Angelova – E-learning Designer and Developer

Alexandra Angelova

Alexandra Angelova is an E-learning Designer and Developer. She is a Bachelor of Psychology with experience in the field of human resources, learning and development, with a focus on e-learning. As a part of ELA’s team she held the role of Learning and Development Specialist. Alexandra is currently working in the field of digital training and education.


Anette Marinova – Psychologist

Anette Marinova

Anette is a Bachelor of Psychology and a Master of Clinical Social Work, currently working as a school psychologist. She specialized Clinical Social Work with Children and Families at Smith College, Massachusetts. Anette is part of the team that develops and delivers the Clinical Social Work Master’s program at New Bulgarian University. She is also a consultant and external expert to the Ministry of Education on the matters of inclusive education, a member of the management team of the ministry’s pilot projects – “Inclusive Education” and “Support for equal access and personal development”.


Daniela Todorova – Project Manager (currently School Principal)

Daniela Todorova

Daniela is a Bachelor of International Economic Relations, with eleven years of experience in the field of marketing and three years of experience as a high school teacher of business-related subjects in English. As part of ELA’s team, Daniela held the position of a Project Manager. She is currently a school principal.


Iva Boneva – CEO of Association for Shared Learning ELA

Iva Boneva

Iva got her Master’s Degree in Social Development and Social Policies at Manchester University and PhD in Pedagogy at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. She has worked for UN’s Program for Development, Save the Children, Association for Shared Learning ELA (formerly Center for Inclusive Education) and other local non-profits.


Appearing in the videos are:

Dimitar Lazarov – Head of strategies, policies, and programs, ELA

Denitsa Davidkova – Community Building and Development Expert, ELA

Latinka Doucheva – Public Relations Manager, ELA


Video creation team:

Irena Daskalova – Director

Rossen Daskalov – Camera


The initial version of the course was created as part of the “One School for All” Program, realised with the support of America for Bulgaria Foundation. The current version of the course is a translation, realised as part of the Scaling up the Model for Inclusive Learning in Europe (SMILE) Project financed by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission.

The last Day of Inclusion of our SMILE project was conducted in Portugal on 8 April

As part of the ERASMUS+ 𝗦𝗠𝗜𝗟𝗘 project, the team from ARCIL in partnership with the Agrupamento de Escolas da Lousã organized a Day of Inclusion dedicated to the emotional well-being within inclusive school settings.

With members from the MindSerena project as guests, the April, 8 2022 was dedicated to mindfulness activities for students, teachers, school assistants and other professionals, as well as family members the Santa Rita Basic School, one of the partner schools implementing the project.

An activity that guided the participants to direct their attention fully to the present moment, as a way to live in a more peaceful, grateful and curious way the daily experience at school! Definitely something to repeat … every day!

When NOT to wait!? Concepts, practices and instruments for screening and intervention in reading and writing difficulties in Primary Education

Within the ERASMUS+ SMILE Project, the School Cluster of Lousã (AEL) and ARCIL have created an action plan to improve conditions for Inclusive Education. It has been defined as a priority the early identification of learning difficulties and strengths of each student, using different tools and approaches, in order to intervene timely and with evidence-based methodologies to ensure education success for all.

With the goal of improving teachers’ skills in screening reading and writing difficulties, the team has joined efforts with the Training Center of Association NOVA ÁGORA to organised and implement a training activity to explore the results of a reading and writing screening and to reflect about the strategies and materials that may be used in order improve reading and writing skills of all the students in the 2nd grade.

The suggested screening approach has been recognised as essential, allowing teachers to associate the different parameters – reading precision, reading fluency, reading comprehension, orthographic knowledge, linguistic preparedness, and psychomotor skills – in which their students may need assistance. Diverse examples of intervention strategies have been demonstrated and a folder full of ideas and examples of materials and activities has been shared with the participants. At the end of the training, the importance of carrying out these screenings procedures was stressed, so that early intervention is implemented: "It is important that this screening is done so that these children can enjoy timely intervention, meeting their needs", one of the participants in the training said.

A good start in learning how to read and write is fundamental for further learning to be successful; aiming for more inclusive schools, the team will disseminate this experience with other partners!

Days of Inclusion celebrated in 2 Portugal schools in December 2021

Within the ERASMUS+ SMILE project, the schools EBº1 and EB nº2 from the School Cluster of Lousã organised two one-day events to celebrate Inclusive Education, with the support of the Portuguese partner in the project: ARCIL.

During December, on the 3rd and the 17th, the schools implemented activities to engage the whole school community in an active reflection about inclusion of the diversity of students in mainstream schools, regardless of their (dis)abilities, ethnicity, language, religion, sexual orientation …

Between traditional games, adapted sports, specific therapeutic approaches such as Hippotherapy and Dog-Assisted activities, arts & crafts, music and the performance of a local band of individuals with disability, these were two Days of Inclusion to remember!

You can read about the Days of Inclusion in each school on their Facebook pages:



The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Centre for Inclusive Education

Address: Bulgaria,
1000 Sofia, 133 Knyaz Boris I, Str.

Phone: 00359 898 500 848

Contact persons:
Iva Boneva, Executive Director,
Liliya Arakchieva, Project Manager,