Our Comenius experience began on the 14th of September when we were greeted by Anton and his legendary Land Rover in Geldermalsen. That evening we were brought to a traditional Dutch Pancake Restaurant. It was here that we met Christine and Joseph from Gozo.

On Monday morning we were warmly welcomed by Diana Brouwer, the Director of Het Palet school in Opheusdon. Whilst here we visited a selection of the school’s classes. We experienced ‘tablet lessons’ in action, child centered learning and we interviewed the school’s mediators. We also were given an opportunity to present information about our school - St. Cronan’s Boy National School - to a couple of classes. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing an Irish song “Lámh lámh eile” with the pupils. The children were surprised by the differences which were highlighted between our school and theirs. Examples include same sex schooling and the wearing of a school uniform. 

(Pupils working hard on their tablets during a Maths lesson.)

Our time in this “Vreedzame School” (Peaceful School) was a real eye opener and a great experience for us both.

(Ag canadh Lámh, Lámh Eile with the pupils in Het Palet School.)

(Claire talking to the youngest pupils in Opheusden.)

(Sarah talking to two pupils about their English lessons and how they learn English.)

 

After a morning we traveled to the beautiful town of Xanten in Germany. Here we visited the Roman Museum and the ruins of the old Roman city.

 

 (Claire and Sarah enjoying the sunshine in the Roman Amphitheathre.)

The following morning we were brought to a partner school, KGS Mariënbaum. Here we were given an opportunity to compare and contrast the schooling systems between the four European schools (Ireland, Gozo, the Netherlands and Germany). Again we were welcomed with open arms to the school. As with German custom we were greeted with a large breakfast spread thanks to the Director of the school, Maria Evers.

The highlight of our trip to this school was learning about the ‘Kneipbecken’, a truly unique and grounding experience for the pupils. Both staff and pupils were proud of its presence in their school garden. 

On Wednesday we returned to Opheusden for a meeting concerning the Project’s website. Here we discussed how we would maintain communication during and following the Project.  Some suggestions included Skype and written postcards. A special thanks must be extended to Willy Bogards for her marvellous work on the Project’s website and her clear instructions on how to navigate it. Well done Willy.

 

That evening we enjoyed dinner alongside our Maltese friends in the Co-Ordinator’s traditional ’T house’.

On Thursday the 19th of September we returned to Opheusden to attend the school’s performance of their play highlighting the advantages of cultural and ethnic diversity through the medium of food. All present, pupils, teachers, parents and Comenius participants benefited from the experience. Following the perdformance we were brought around the classes to witness the pupils playing various games from around the world and tasting a selection of foods which represented the nationaliies in their school. We were impressed by the manner in which the pupils conducted themselves throughout and their openess and acceptance to new ideas.

Sadly our successful trip had to come to an end. We woiuld like to extend our most sincere thank you firsly to the children in both schools we visited, to their wonderful teachers and staff we had the pleasure of visitijg, to our Comenius partners and to our fantastic, informative and always entertaining Co-ordinator Anton Verwey.

Go raibh maith agaibh.