EVS - News from Virginia
Virgina, our first volunteer, who stayed with us in the school year 2016/17 is now back in Spain, working in a Free School there. And here is what she reports. Thank you very much, Virginia, for your report. We are so happy for you that you are now able to work in a Free School at your place!
It's two years ago since I left Linz and the Freie Schule. I remember this experience as one of the most wonderful in my life. I am extremely grateful to the European Voluntary Service Program and to the Freie Schule for this. So after two years now it is the first time that my life is on the right track how I wanted and finally I work in a Free School in my city: Huesca (Spain), it's called Tumwaco and it is near to be perfect, it is only a bit different comparing with the Freie Schule (which for me is the top of the Free Schools). There are some differences, for example Tumwaco is divided according to the children's ages, If you are interested in knowing how Tumwaco is, I invite you to read the following lines:
There are around twelve children between 3 and 12 years old, all of them are really independent and they regulate themselves facing any situation. I am really surprised because Tumwaco is a really good free school and I didn't imagine it was so cool! Tumwaco started three years ago and during these three years they have progressed and improved so much, I know it because the companions (teachers) told me how the school was the first school year and I see how the school is now.
One of the rooms is called Caterpillar Room and it is for children between 3 and 6 years old. On this room you will find material arranged and according for them where they play and play (symbolic games), they have a Reading Corner to stay on calm and two tables to play concentration games. If they want to play noisy they go outside where is the Movement and Gymnastics Room. If they want to paint and be messy, then they go to another one: Art Room. These rooms are downstairs and Toilet, Library and the other two rooms are upstairs. Chrysalis Room is for children between 6 and 9 years old and Butterflys Room is for children between 9 and 12 years old. These two rooms are like "Sekus Room" in the Freie Schule, where they have their spaces decorated and organized as they want and where they do concentration activities and different offers. They also have on it material according to their ages like mathematical material, puzzles, books, board games and so on. Next to these rooms there is a Library where there are a lot of books, cushions to stay reading on the floor and a computer to use it when they want (not connection to internet, only to consult information in "Encarta Encyclopedia", listen to music and edit photos with GIMP).
Children are really nice and self-sufficient, I am very excited because they solve their problems and they are very respectful, so it is amazing! The functioning of the school is very similar to the Freie Schule, they have a timetable with the offers (which they do only if they want), there are two Circles (Assemblies) everyday: one at the beginning and it is separated, I mean that Caterpillar children have one Morning Circle and the rest of the children (Chrysalis and Butterflyes) have another Morning Circle. On this first circle we talk about the offers we have in the school and about new offers they want to do. The second Circle is at the end of the school morning and all children who want to stay on it participate (all together: small and older children). It is to talk about the activities they did and to talk about conflicts, responsibilities, rules, offers for all children, excursions,.... They can offer an activity and do themselves for the other children or they can ask for an activity, so it is the same as in the Freie Schule.
Children also have responsibilities to have everything clean and organized. Children who are prepared for doing a responsibility like water plants, rubbish bag, sweeping, ... they do at the end of the morning; normally they do the responsibilities alone (for themselves) after 4/5 years old.
About offers they are similar to the Freie Schule too, last three weeks they did Sewing, Origami, an excursion to a Castle, another day an excursion to the Museum, another to the Planetarium, also offers about Painting, Philosophy and Photography, so imagine they are really busy and they enjoy it so much! And of course they play and play a lot, something really important to develop themselves.
Virginia war unsere Freiwillige Helferin/ Volunteer im Schuljahr 2016/2017.