Comenius Trip: 

Tuesday 8th April: Travelled to Malta.

Wednesday 9th April: On arrival at Mgarr Harbour we travelled directly to our host school Qala Primary.

Meet and greet with Comenius group from Gozo and the Netherlands – Madame Sandra Casarini, Marthese Attard,  Sylvana Cini, and the ‘lads’  - Paul ...., Josef ........, and Justin Debono.  Also present were the visiting Dutch teachers,  Anton Verwey, Elena  ....,  and Diana Brouwer. 

Following mid morning break the entire Comenius group visited some Junior and Senior classrooms and met teachers and pupils.

At lunchtime the group had the pleasure of fine dining at the neighbouring Pembroke Restaurant which is part of the Gozo Tourism Catering College.

Later that afternoon we set off on our cultural sightseeing  trip of Gozo.  Our first stop was the awe-inspiring megalithic complex of Ggantija in Xaghra. The temples were built about 5000 years ago, and are believed to be the oldest free standing structures in the world and are said to be older than the pyramids in Egypt. ‘Ggant’ is the Maltese word for giant, hence the name Ggantija.   

In the evening the group met for dinner at The Boathouse Restaurant, Xlendi, where the Dutch  teachers were staying .

Thursday 10th     

We returned to our host school and gathered with our colleagues in Madame’s Office for a meeting to discuss the evaluation stage of the project.

 Later that morning, as part of Qala’s interpretation of the Comenius Anti-Xenophobia Project, the pupils of Years 5 and 6 performed a musical for us. It was directed by their visiting Music teacher/specialist Ms. Sylvana Cini. The musical was called ‘The Peace Child’ and was truly spectacular.

That afternoon’s sightseeing included a trip by minibus  to The Azure Window –a natural arch formed in the cliffs thousands of years ago. It is near Dwerja Bay, close to the village of San Lorenz. The area is very popular with swimmers and scuba divers because of its crystal-clear waters and underwater caves.  

Our next stop was the famous Ta’Pinu Sanctuary.  This church has become a place of pilgrimage, with numerous claims of miraculous healings. During a visit to Gozo in 1990, Pope John Paul prayed in this church and celebrated Mass  on the parvis.

Friday 11th:  Our school day began with visits to two of the Junior classes – Maria Assunta’ s class and Year 2. We had prepared a photographic presentation about our school and the locality which  Ms. Martina Walsh delivered. The pupils were especially happy to receive the teddy bear stickers and other Irish gifts we brought.

 

We were struck by the pupils’ spo ntaneity and good humour, and Ms. Walsh joined them in a game of ‘Ring a Rosy’.

Year 2 were icing buns when we arrived  - in honour of the birthday boy.  We were each treated to a fairy cake.

The Comenius group including Mrs. Browne observed an English lesson on procedural writing  - ‘How to Make Toast.’ Once again the pupils were very attentive and engaged, and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘hands on’ experience.

Before lunch we paid a courtesy visit to the Principal of Gozo College. We were delighted to hear that he had spent a year in Ireland on secondment in order to study the ‘Home School Liason Teacher’ system .  He told us that he had many happy memories of his visit.

 

  Following our final lunch with our Comenius colleagues, we spent the afternoon sightseeing in Rabat - capital of Gozo. The main tourist attraction in Rabat is The Citadella. This fortified town built on top of a hill has a long history.  The Gozitans took shelter behind its walls whenever corsairs raided the island in search of slaves. Inside the Citadella one can find a beautiful 17th century cathedral  designed by the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa.

Another lovely sunny afternoon with great panoramic views of the island along the fortified walls.

Monday 14th April 2014

Following more sightseeing and cultural outings over the weekend including a visit to a wonderful production of Tosca, we reconvened on Monday morning at Sannat school where we received a very warm welcome and renewed friendships with our colleagues who had visited Bray last year.

The day began with the Stations of the Cross and we then visited the Special Education Unit and were shown the excellent facilities. We joined some classes in the school hall where Peter from Austria was showing a powerpoint on the Comenius visit to his school last January.

Overall, it was a most enjoyable and interesting visit to Gozo with plenty to see and do and all agreed it was a great opportunity to meet colleagues and see at first hand how the theme of this project is put into action.

Martina Walsh and Linda Farrell