The Project

When one or more of our basic needs is not met or is threatened, we react with discomfort. This discomfort manifests itself in unpleasant feelings. Unpleasant feelings move us to act in order to regain emotional balance. In the course of our lives, we develop behaviours and strategies with which we react to unpleasant situations. But these strategies are not always appropriate, i.e. suitable to fulfil our threatened basic need.


Many misunderstandings, problems and conflicts arise because people use inappropriate behaviours or strategies to get their unpleasant feelings back under control.

In order to learn to establish adequate behaviours and strategies in time, it is important to start as early as possible to perceive one’s own basic needs and to recognise when they are unfulfilled or threatened.

People can understand and support each other much better at the level of needs than at the level of strategies.

Based on these considerations, innovative competence-oriented materials for democracy education are being developed by the partnership of the European Heart project for use in schools (secondary levels1 and 2).

The products are suitable for bridging cultural, religious and political diversity of pupils, reducing the propensity for violence in classes and thus significantly facilitating class management. Existing conflicts can be addressed and viewed on a completely new level and no longer have to be “swept under the carpet”, as the method has a de-escalating and connecting effect.

The tools for non-violent conflict resolution can be used not only in the classroom, but also within the teaching staff and as an instrument of quality assurance within the framework of school development.

In working on the topics, the diversity within the classroom should be consciously used to develop an own understanding of democratic values, participation and personal responsibility.

The Products:

  • Needs and Strategies – Toolkit Based on William Glasser’s Choice Theory and Elements of Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, an experiential-oriented concept will be developed to explore one’s own needs and those of others. Pupils learn to distinguish between adaptive and maladaptive strategies to better meet their own needs.
  • Learn from History – Short Movies: Milestones on the way to democracy Historical Episodes * Short movies, produced by pupils, make important historical episodes on the way to democracy tangible by allowing pupils to slip into the perspectives of different persons and empathetic with their motivations, needs and choices. How did different persons experience the situation and how did they try to meet their basic needs?
    In this way, pupils discover the history and value of democracy.
  • The ACT – Active Citizen Team – Game By playing this cooperative boardgame with interactive online elements, pupils reflect their own basic needs and understand the motives/basic needs of others. Playfully and experience-oriented they train competences for a tolerant and peaceful coexistence as well as active participation in democratic processes.
  • Module Guide for teachers Four online modules for teachers, programmed in a virtual learning environment

    • describe the use of the learning materials in a lively and practical way
    • show possible applications in the classroom
    • and present further possibilities of lived democracy within the school culture.