The “Côa na Escola” Educational Program, led by the Educational Services of the Côa Parque Foundation, is the winner of the 9th Ibermuseus Education Prize, reaching 1st place in Category I, and the corresponding US $ 15,000, in an edition with 192 projects originating from the Ibero-American space. As highlighted by the Jury, this is “a project carried out in a village with less than eight thousand inhabitants in Portugal” that “promotes the approach of the school community of Vila Nova de Foz Côa to the cultural and natural heritage of the region”. The Côa Valley Archaeological Park was also recognized “as the most important site with open-air Paleolithic rock art”. As a result of this award, the Program “O Côa na Escola” will be included in the Bank of Educational Good Practices of the Ibermuseus Network, thus becoming an international benchmark of excellence.
Developed in conjunction with the Tenente Coronel Adão Carrapatoso Schools Group, “The Côa na Escola” has been active for more than a decade. The Program is fundamental to strengthen the relationship between the school community of Vila Nova de Foz Côa and the cultural and natural heritage assets managed by the Foundation. The Program carries out regular school visits to the rock art sites of the Côa Valley Archaeological Park, the Côa Museum and other places of educational interest. In addition to the Foundation team, professionals from other institutions, such as municipalities or local NGOs, participate in these visits, explaining to students existing ecosystems or outstanding points present in the landscape. The Program currently comprises two major dimensions – Natural Heritage and Cultural Heritage – that address Landscape, Flora and Fauna, and Ecosystems, and Art of the Côa and Siega Verde, Douro Winemaking Landscape, and Traditional Heritage contents. The aim of this broad approach is to value Vila Nova de Foz Côa students’ curricula by sharing the unique values of the region, but above all, to try to involve the whole community with the Côa Valley rock art.
The chief objective of the Côa Park Foundation is to promote the integrated development of the region through the cultural project of archeology in progress, bringing the local community together with partners and private economic agents, emphasizing the importance of the economy of culture and its contribution to the well-being of regional population and of the Country as a whole. The Educational Services are a key instrument in a comprehensive strategy for capturing new audiences, empowering the local community and preserving heritage.